Unfortunately, great ideas do not always translate well on to websites and no matter how great your customer acquisition campaign is, you will waste money and achieve a low ROI by having a poor user experience on your website.

Luckily there are many usability testing tools on the market which are either free or have a relatively low subscription or cost per use.

Design Testing

Feng-gui gives marketers and web developers the chance to foresee human attention and attraction. This tool is great to use during the pre-testing stage of web design as it aims to predict the performance of your design, brand effectiveness, placement of CTAs, the level and flow of attention from users.

Pre-testing usually identifies any holes in your design, catching any issues pre-launch will ensure that performance is high from the get-go.

Their basic subscription starts at $25 per month with three tiers - basic, professional and business - with the top tier subscription coming in at $275 per month.

Web Page Speed Test

According to Google most sites lose half their visitors while loading. Google’s handy web page speed testing site is an excellent free tool to test the mobile speed of your website.

usability testing desktop vs mobile vs tablet global split May 2018 example

Mobile now accounts for the majority to web searches worldwide so it is of paramount importance to the overall functionality of your site.

This site rates you against the industry average and estimates the loss of visitors from your mobile loading speed (see the chart below).

usability testing testmywebsite screenshot

This service is completely free, so there is no reason not to review this as part of your quarterly or annual marketing audit.

Grading your Website

Website Grader by Hubspot is a fantastic free tool which is used to rate your SEO grading and highlight any problem areas.

usability testing example of website grader

This report measures performance, mobile, SEO and security in one handy report and provides recommendations which can be flagged internally, to your agency or to your web developer.

Performance:
Page size - The larger the page, the slower it will load. For optimal performance, page size should be kept below 3MB.
Page requests - The more HTTP requests your website makes, the slower it becomes. Combine files to minimize the number of requests made.
Page speed - Best-in-class web pages should load within 3 seconds. Any slower and visitors may abandon your site, reducing conversions and sales.
Browser caching - Browser caching speeds up your website by storing frequently used content in local memory.
Page redirects - Page redirects add an additional loading cycle, increasing the time to display the page.
Compression - When your JavaScript and CSS are properly compressed, it makes your website run much faster.
Render blocking - Remove or defer JavaScript and CSS that interferes with loading above-the-fold content.
Mobile:
Responsiveness - Responsive design gives you a bump in search rankings for searches on mobile devices.
Viewport - The viewport lets you control your page width and scale on different device types.
SEO:
Page titles - Page titles should be no longer than 70 characters in length and not repeat keywords.
Meta description - Meta descriptions should be no longer than 300 characters in length and should be relevant to the page.
Headings - Heading tags distinguish headings from core page content.
Sitemap - Sitemaps help users navigate your site quickly and easily.
Security:
SSL certificate - SSL certificates protect websites from attacks and give visitors confidence that your site is authentic and trustworthy.

Why not try this tool out on your website? Its free and provides you with a call to arms on all the most important aspects of your website.

Measure Customers first Impression of your Website

Usability Hub’s Five Second Test allows you to measure user’s first impression of your homepage, landing pages, logos or print materials. So here is how it works;

  1. Show your new landing page/print material to the test user for 5 seconds
  2. When their 5 seconds is over ask them what they remember
  3. Review how users responded. Usability Hub create a word cloud report containing the most commonly used keywords

You can try out an example five second test by clicking here and review a sample report by clicking here.

This platform is available as a limited free account, the paid versions start from $79 per month and go up to £396 per month for team access.

Browser Compatibility Testing

Browser Shots tests your site across any web browser you wish, allowing you to test the design for free across different operating systems and browsers. This tool takes a screenshot of your web page, then adds your review to its queue, when your project is at the front of the queue it will review and upload your tested page(s) to their secure server ready for your review.

This is an easy and convenient way to test your website’s browser compatibility in one place.

Heat Mapping on Page Behaviours

Crazy Egg allows you to see where your customers are clicking and visiting on your website and where they are not. This is an excellent tool for analysing the effectiveness of buttons, widgets and menus on your website.

usability testing heat mapping example

For example, you may find that customers try to click an image rather than a button on a particular page of your website. This would give you a call to arms to ensure that a URL is added to the image or to revise your button design or placement if it is not being used by customers.

You can download one report which gives you all of the stats on which country your customers reside, which website referred them, how long it takes them to click, where they click and how many times. This type of tool is ideal for post-launch of a new website.

Crazy egg also allows you to see which pages visitors are seeing and how they got to their exit page. A great tool for A/B testing, you can compare and contrast the results from two pages to fine tune the right colours, positioning for your CTAs and which content incites a bigger reaction from customers with scroll map reporting.

usability testing heatmapping example

The cost of a subscription to this tool is $29 - $189 per month.

Testing Across a Wide Range of languages

If you are in the tourism industry and have a translated site it is important to test your site across multiple languages. Userfeel is multilingual with a panel of more than 2,000 testers speaking 40 different languages. What is great about this tool is that you can have your site tested in Chinese and receive the feedback on the test in English, this makes multilingual user testing much more accessible and really easy to do.

Other features of this tool are:

  • Test across any device - mobile (Android and iOS), tablet or desktop
  • Create projects and add team members to the testing portal so they can annotate the videos with their own notes on bugs and general observations
  • Edit together highlights videos of all of the most pressing issues which can be automatically uploaded to Youtube
  • You can filter users based on demographics
  • Screener questions can be added to ensure that minimum criteria have been met before the user participates in the test. An example of this could be that the user has to have purchased one of your products in order to participate.
  • You can monitor your SUS (system usability scale) over time. SUS is a 0-100 scale which rates the perceived usability of your website via a 10 question survey.

The cost for this tool is a modest $49 - $99 per user session.

Landing Page Testing

You may already use A/B testing in other aspects of your marketing activities but did you know that this is a great way to test usability on your website?

Optimizley X web experimentation allows you to test multiple pages or run multiple tests on the same page simultaneously.

A great example highlighted on the Optimizely website is that of Bing where “a small headline change an employee proposed was deemed a low priority and shelved until one engineer decided to do a quick online controlled experiment—an A/B test—to try it out. The test showed that the change increased revenue by an astonishing 12%”. This example goes to show that A/B testing leads to better decisions about your user experience and ultimately a higher ROI which will make you popular with top management.

Plans are available to purchase at standard, business and enterprise level, however, prices are not listed on their website.

Survey your Customers

One of the most simple ways to get feedback on your new website, designs or logos is to ask your customers via a survey. There are plenty of free or low-cost options available such as Survey Monkey or Google Surveys. You know what they say, you become an instant expert when you survey your customers. You will be able to make better decisions based on your customers' likes, dislikes and wish list.

A more advanced tool is available to measure customer sentiment, emotion and provide keyword clouds automatically - introducing Qualaroo.

This tool helps you make decisions in real time based on the feedback received, allowing you to create unique experiences for customers based on how they really feel about your site. Keyword analysis and emotional scores play a huge role in

Features:

  • Cookie targeting allows you to engage with users intelligently by adapting to their behaviour such as what items have been clicked on or added to the cart
  • Custom properties - combine metadata and feedback for the full picture. Target your survey to any piece of metadata on your site and receive the metadata properties along with their responses. This means that your team will be able to understand why certain customer groups behave in a certain way.

Qualaroo plans start from $99 per month.

So, is usability testing worth the hassle?

Most definitely. If you don’t test your new website then how can you predict whether it will be successful. By testing your site, you reduce the risk of losing leads by ensuring that your site is as user-friendly as possible BEFORE launch. Retrospect is a great way to learn from past mistakes, but it is always better to avoid making big mistakes when it comes to your website.