UserTesting - The Most Painful Thing You'll Do to Your Website

A cold, hard look at your website through the eyes of actual people.

You think your website is great. You think it looks better than the competition.

What do your customers think?

Do they know where to go? Do they click on the buttons you want them to click on? Is that 'fancy' web design really just bad user experience? Are you losing out on new customers?

Get ready for the most painful, horrific look into your website: Peek by UserTesting.

Peek is a free, 5 minute screencast of some random web user critiquing your site. They think out loud. They'll complain about how slow it is. They'll hate on your pop-up and you'll start to hate them-you might even cry.

But, you'll realize you just got insight into the things you're doing wrong and what needs fixing–for free. You'll:

  • spot problems with the way your site loads on a different computer (we can't all test every operating system-browser combination).
  • realize how far people actually scroll down the page
  • learn where to place your Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • find out if the fonts you're using are legible
  • want to reach through the screen and shake your user tester-but love them at the same time.

Better than Asking Your Friends and Family

Going out and posting a link to your website on Facebook "Hey. Tell me what you think" is about as useless as having your 5-year-old nephew give his opinion. No one, not even that filter-lacking buddy of yours is going to be as brutally honest as a stranger.

Peek, and other user testing sites are the best way to understanding your website and the experience of your users. I test my site and submit client websites all the time. I hate the hearing someone talk out loud part, but it's what makes the service so valuable.

Test Your Competitors Websites

When it comes to scoping out your competition, it's all fair-game. Run some free tests on your biggest competitors. Who ranks higher than you in search? Are they getting more positive feedback than you expected or was that layout you planned on stealing a big UX loser?

Get a feel for what people like about their websites and try incorporating it into your web design.

There's so much more than Free

If the 5 minute videos aren't enough, you can splurge and pay for 15 minute tests on UserTesting for $49. It'll let you use demographics filters, ask the tester specific questions, have them do tasks (like walk through your checkout process), and give them a post-review questionnaire for additional feedback. I don't do that (because I'm too poor), but have paid for tests at my 'real' job.

If you're running a decent operation (esp. ecommerce), it's worth the money to invest in some full tests. You could be missing out on thousands of dollars in sales because your checkout process is too complicated or maybe you don't make it simple enough to go from one page to the other. This could be the solution to 'abandoned cart' syndrome you're looking for.

Peek is Not Without Its Faults

Despite it's awesome freeness, don't go making huge changes because of one person's feedback. You're always going to get a few outlandish suggestions that only affects 1% of your visitors. It's better to run multiple tests at the same time and pick up on the repetitive points before updating.

Cry With Me

I'll let you have a 'peek' into one of my user tests. I ran this (and a couple others) at the beginning of the month in between some design overhaul. Some things, I knew needed to be changed. Others, I hadn't really thought about.

More than anything, I couldn't stand that utter disgust in her voice.

Start Your Own 5-Minute Clip of Horror

Stop reading this and start your own user test already! You're going to learn things you need to know about your website and after you pull yourself back together, you're going to become addicted.

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