I recently had the opportunity to sit in on the results of a usability test. It was extremely interesting and very enlightening. The sample size of users was quite small, but the results were very clear.
The participants in the study were well chosen as they fitted the profile of potential website visitors, and were therefore quite emotionally engaged in the experience.
They certainly didn’t hold back with their comments, which though it might be tough to hear you’re not getting it right according to your users, it’s better you know early on, rather than continue to run your website in complete ignorance.
The good news is that the site was tested alongside 4 of its competitors, and none of them did very well either, so it will be a very low bar to cross to have the best website out of the group. Of course, once you’ve got this kind of valuable intelligence about your site’s users, you have every reason and opportunity to wow your users once changes have been put in place.
The target market for the site had some pretty clear preferences about what they wanted out of a site. The Internet is all about convenience, and these users wanted to have information at their fingertips, be able to make a fully informed decision, click and buy, and get on with their lives. If they didn’t get it, they went to Google to find someone else who did.
So if your site doesn’t provide the right type of information or is frustrating to use, your users will drop you like a hot potato.
Moral of the story – engaging a website usability expert could save you from a lot of disappointment.