Most web users have experienced sites that suffer from usability problems. Often they are minor annoyances, such as poorly labeled links. Sometimes they are more serious and can make finding what you want near impossible, or result in ‘fatal errors’ that cause the browser to crash.
A usable site is an effective site. The site architecture, navigation, content and functionality have been designed to meet the needs of all users, while also satisfying the web designer and the commissioning organisation.
Usability testing by Web Usability will help you identify and rectify usability problems, hopefully before the site goes live. When developing a website, the three keys to improving the usability of the final site are:
- Test early
- Test often
- Act on the results
Web Usability offers two main forms of usability assessment that can be used at different stages during the site development process:
Expert Usability Review
Technical design faults and a lack of user-focus make many websites hard to find and frustrating to use.
An Expert Usability Review with reference to established usability principles will identify serious problems that may be present in a site and indicate how the user-focus of the site can be enhanced.
A Usability Review by Web Usability will consider:
- Technical features such as use of valid page code, metadata and browser compatibility
- The inclusion of essential information like privacy and copyright statements
- The user focus of the page layout and design
- The appropriateness and effectiveness of page headings
- The provision of clear and consistent navigation elements
- The provision of appropriate navigational feedback mechanisms
An Expert Usability Review is a quick and cost-effective way of identifying potential problems.
Task-based Usability Evaluation
A Task-based Usability Evaluation will provide a more comprehensive indication of the user-focus of a website.
The process involves a small group of participants using the site for a series of specified tasks typical of those performed by site visitors. The difficulties and problems they encounter are analysed with reference to predetermined usability guidelines.
A Task-based Usability Evaluation by Web Usability also includes the Expert Review described above. It determines the relative seriousness and likely impact of the identified problems and provides recommendations for addressing them.