Have you ever attempted to use a website and found the experience to be obtuse and confusing? Maybe you wanted to sign up for a newsletter but couldn’t locate the link to do so. Or maybe you wanted to make a purchase, but found that the site’s shopping cart system was broken. What did you in that case?
Research has indicated that in the vast majority of cases, people will simply turn to another source in order to get their information or make their purchase, rather than inform the owners of the site about the problem and then patiently wait. In other words, websites that contain usability errors are driving users and customers away.
Now, ask yourself the obvious question: do you want your website to be one of these? Of course not. As such, you need to start thinking about usability testing. With usability testing, you can define the most important tasks for your website, and then solicit others to give you much needed feedback about how accessible and user-friendly those important tasks really are. In this tutorial, we’re going to walk you through signing up for Feedback Army, which is a great site for getting the objective feedback and input you really need.
1. First, go to the Feedback Army website at http://www.feedbackarmy.com. Click on the large “request feedback” link on the front page.
2. This will bring up the following “Start a Usability Test” form. For the most part, it’s straight-forward. You simply enter your website’s URL, as well as your email address so the feedback can be sent directly to you. You can also select how many users you want feedback from. Feedback Army currently offers packages of up to 50 respondents.
3. The most important field here, however, is the field where you can ask between 4 to 6 questions that the people testing your website will answer for you. Stop for a moment and think about what your website is all about. Are you publishing a newsletter? Are you hosting a forum? Are you selling a product? Whatever the case, you need to make sure that the primary focus of your website, whether it’s signing up for or selling something, is easily accessed and fully functional. Structure your questions around these needs.
4. Note that you can’t ask the people leaving the feedback for you to use their own email addresses on the site or in reviews. Therefore, if you need them to test out a sign-up or check-out process that involves leaving email information, you’ll need to provide them with fake information they can input in order to protect their own identity.
5. Finally, click “Next”. On the next page, you’ll be given the opportunity to review and edit your choices. When you’re ready, click “Buy Now” to purchase Feedback Army’s report. Now just sit back and wait. In a short period of time, you’ll have detailed feedback from a number of objective sources. When you get this feedback, the most important thing you can do is take it seriously. If someone tells you your process for signing up is confusing, or some similar criticism, take it to heart and try to streamline that process.
You’ll likely want to engage in usability testing at many different points during the life of your website, to constantly ensure that it’s delivering your products or services in the most efficient and straightforward way possible.