Website Usability Testing Questions Worth Asking

Today, I think it’s time for a little change of pace. I talk about usability quite a bit; including what goes into it, who’s affected by it and what other departments come into play. But, an area that I haven’t really touched upon is ‘website usability testing questions’.  The term may be confusing, so allow me to clarify.

‘Website usability testing questions’ are the questions that you should be asking during testing. Although this sounds like something blatantly obvious, it’s often overlooked. It’s not uncommon for a typical usability person to look at the standards of general web practices, test only for those standards and then move on.

Sometimes this works. But even so, you’re not testing for specific features that could actually be saving you a lot of grief in the future. If not tested now, these features, in all likelihood, will need to be fixed later.

Being proactive is the name of the game when it comes to design, usability and UX. So, why not be as proactive and productive as possible? Below are some critical Testing Questions:

#1 – Do my eyes wander?

One of the things that web artists and graphic designers will argue about, when working on a page, is ‘capturing attention’. It is important to catch the users’ eyes, and then guide the eye across the page in an orderly, natural manner. Visual cues and flow are critical to UI.

Designers often clash with engineers, who brush this off  as “artist nonsense”. (Yeah, this really happens, and it has got to stop). Although it’s true that artists have a reputation for arguing over minute details, their reasons are often based on more than just aesthetics.

When an artist or designer points out that the eyes have no focus or that the design does not allow for guidance – then you should heed to this warning. During testing, ask yourself: “Do my eyes wander? Do they dart to a specific spot? Are they guided along – in the proper order – by cues in the design?”

#2 – Can you find your place on the dashboard?

Most websites have what’s commonly referred to as a dashboard (often located on the main page).  This is usually the first page you see, and from which you view items (by navigation or other). There are many different styles of dashboards. ‘Infinite scrolling’ is an example that is often used by websites with user generated content (like YouTube, or Twitter).

When returning to the dashboard, ask yourself, do you lose your place a lot? Does it take a long time reloading scroll ranges? Can you get back to  the last item you clicked on?

#3 – Not everyone may find your site beautiful and clean, but will anyone find it inoffensive?

 Aesthetics in and of itself is mostly a UX problem-rather than a usability one – but nonetheless, it does have an effect on usability. Aesthetic  are made up of everything from  color combinations to the layout you use.
Not everyone is going to think your page looks good and flows wonderfully. (Just accept this fact now). However, you want to ensure that the majority will not react in an opposite, negative direction. Simple is better than potentially offensive: “Meh” is better than “ew.”

The questions that I’ve listed are just a handful of website usability testing questions. There are a ton more I will talk about, so stick around and keep checking back for updates!

Rachel Quinn