Website Usability Testing

By Bob Kemper

Director of Operations,
Marketing Experiments

Usability video testing involves video recording a user going through a specific process for a website (e.g. an order). The aim is to observe how people behave in an actual site encounter situation, so that developers can recognize design and/or usability problems with the website. Techniques popularly used to gather data during a usability video test include eye tracking and capturing user narrative as they “think aloud”.

An effective interative usability study using recorded video can reveal a wide variety of problems, such as confusing or contradictory signals, off-page links or other elements that interrupt the primary objective flow, invalid assumptions about prior familiarity with technical or product-related terms, or page elements that increase customer anxiety or friction.

There are many excellent information sources on usability testing methods and tools. One we have found especially thorough and useful is the “Testing Methods and Tools” page hosted by the University of Maryland.

You can learn more about website optimization for conversion, using usability testing and a host of other testing methods, at the MarketingExperiments Journal through the Site Conversion collection of Journal Research Briefs (categories in the left navigation bar).

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