What is usability testing? It’s a way to see how intuitive your website is to use by testing it with real users. It’s a testing method which measures how easy it is for users to reach their goals.

In Part 1 of this blog series, we’ll be talking about two things, identifying which goals you’d like your customers to complete and how to track them.

There are plenty of companies out there that will gladly charge you tens of thousands of dollars to carry out Usability Testing on your newly designed or created website. Now don’t get me wrong, these companies are professionals who know what they’re doing, but there are some great tools which can help you achieve the same results.

It’s kind of like watching a YouTube video on how to change your car’s oil versus taking it to the dealer to have them do it. It will probably take you longer and you’ll have to get dirty but still achieve the same outcome.

Before you start analyzing any data, you must first identify what goals you’d like your website’s users to accomplish. The goals that you ultimately want to drive your users to. This will be unique for every industry so make sure it’s a valid goal and is measurable. For example, if you manage an eCommerce website, you’re most likely concerned with sales figures and users getting all the way through your checkout process. Another example could be a company which sells a SaaS solution who may be more interested in users filling out a specific form to get connected with their sales people rather than outright purchases through the website. Additionally, make note of any and all of your conversion statistics to set yourself up with a baseline to later compare to after A/B testing.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

After identifying what goals you’re going to measure against, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to collect and analyze this data. Google Analytics can be very helpful here, specifically the “Behavior” section. The “Behavior Flow” section gives you a nice visual of how users are progressing through your website’s pages. It shows you every touch point each visitor made from first landing on your site to where they finally left.  “Site Search” can also provide you with valuable insight on what topics your users aren’t able to find quickly enough. Leave no stone unturned with Google Analytics

Another free tool you can take advantage of is HotJar, which is really slick compared to your tried and true Google Analytics. Once you initially set up your account and install the code to your site, HotJar provides the ability to record user’s mouse movements and allow you to play it back and watch all their interactions. What you’re basically doing is putting yourself in the user’s shoes. You get to see exactly what they’re clicking on, how far they’re scrolling up and down your pages, and where they’re struggling to find what they are looking for. The best part about HotJar is that the basic account is free. They do have different levels of pricing in which additional features are unlocked at higher tiers but at least this lets you test the software to see if it’s worth it.

That wraps it up for part 1. Quick recap: Figure out what your desired goals/actions you want users to accomplish on the website and then choose a method in which to record your data. Google Analytics and HotJar are 2 free tools that are a great place to start!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll talk more about what to do with all this data you’ve collected.