The TestMate team has been getting busier and busier as of late! Conducting usability tests with companies across different industries means we are learning something new almost every day. Lucky for you, we’re here to supply our readers with a few more nuggets of information to be added into ones User Experience (UX) design arsenal.
One of our recent tests involved a website that targeted the whole population. A platform that aimed to inform the public of area-specific disruptions they would face during their commute. As the website was built from prototype to finished product, TestMate was there to ensure the site was developed in the right direction for future users.
Testing occurred in three rounds for the Basic Prototype, Clickable Prototype and Final Website. Each round saw improvements in the site based on previous feedback, so if you’re planning on building a site from scratch, here are a few tips we discovered!
Round 1: The Basic Prototype
1. ‘Sticky Navigation’ is a must
When a website’s menu is locked or fixed in place, even as you scroll down the page, sticky navigation is at play. This basic design aspect was very successful across users as it allowed for easier accessibility. Testers could jump between main pages effortlessly, despite how far down the page they’d scrolled.
2. The content on your homepage is important
A website designed for the entire population is difficult, no doubt about it. The pathway each generation takes to uncover information regarding public projects will also differ. Having briefs of main topics on the homepage was received positively by users as it allowed them to become familiar with the concept and purpose of the website.
3. What is the purpose of the page?
One of the main goals of the site was to show users disruptions they would face travelling through certain areas. Common feedback from most users indicated an automatic map view was preferred to text-only information. People are visual beings, the ability to see their commute route and locations of disruption made it easier to digest the information and plan alternate routes.
4. How annoying are your pop-ups?
Many websites you jump on these days will have an automatic pop-up asking you to register, sign-up, subscribe and so on. While these are often distracting, users will become annoyed if they cannot click out or exit the pop-up page. Be sure to include a clear exit button for a more positive user experience.
5. Be selective with page content
Content-heavy pages are often preferred for topics that require in-depth explanations. But! a lack of signposting and sub menus will result in an endless page and users will eventually give up and exit the page. Creating a sub menu that can be accessed above the fold is a simple step that lets users jump to specific sections.
Round 2: The Clickable Prototype
1. Make use of Search Boxes
No one is too good for search boxes. They make your website more user-friendly and accessible by allowing users find specific topics on your website. Don’t forget it.
2. Improving the prototype (Map)
Prototypes, wireframes and websites should all be improved after each round of testing. That is how you ensure your website is built to become the best it could be. Since locating disruptions on a map was an important aspect to this firm, we saw a great improvement in user responses once the map loaded automatically onto the page.
3. Clear categorization is an asset
Classify the information on your site in a clear and concise manner. Every category and the content it houses should be logical for every user, despite their demographics and experiences.
4. Remove any ambiguity
Phrases that are ambiguous or words that are not clear should either be removed or improved for clarity. A few users were unclear with the use of the word ‘register’ on the pop-up page. Were they registering for an update? E-mails from the website? Or were they merely signing up? A simple one sentence explanation would negate these responses.
5. How does your site appear across platforms?
Be weary of how your website is displayed across platforms. Users on phones could not view all the functionalities of pages like those accessing the site on desktops. Developers need to be aware and ensure the site is mobile friendly.
Round 3: The Final Website
1. Observe the improvements
Hopefully by this point your website has been built and improved in areas where users provided the most opinions. You should be able to see the success of changes according to previous tests as issues found in earlier rounds are no longer present.
2. Fine-tune the smaller details
Smaller details to be adjusted are likely to be noticed here. For example, some users might prefer a legend under the map to indicate what each icon represents. At the same time, using icons that are intuitive means a legend isn’t necessary.
User testing conducted to aid the development of a website is only ever beneficial. Companies can receive confirmation of whether their product is heading in the right direction for its users. This is especially important for sites that target the entire population as the one platform must deliver information from the elderly to millennials.