User experience focuses on gaining insight of the users of your product. You want to know what they need, what their abilities are, and what limitations they face. You want to learn how they perceive something and what they want. User testing forms part of user experience design. At the heart of user experience design is the goal to ensure that the users receive value in the product or service that you provide. It thus makes sense to incorporate user testing as part of website user experience design.
One of the most important aspects of good value in a website is its usability. Performing usability testing is thus essential to ensure that what your design team perceives as usable is indeed so for the users. Usability testing measures certain aspects, briefly discussed below.
How much time does the user spend to complete a task? How many steps are required to achieve the particular goal, such as locating a product, adding it to their shopping cart, going to the checkout point, making payment, and having it delivered?
How many mistakes does the user make while completing a task and what are the outcomes of the mistakes? If the user gets frustrated because of inaccurate guidance or complex processes, they are more likely to leave the page or not use your website. How recoverable is a mistake? Can the right information help the user return to the task and complete it correctly?
If the user has not used the website interface for a time, can the user still do so without it being a learning curve again? How much does the user remember about the various tasks, navigation, and the steps to achieve their goals?
How does the user respond to the tasks? What is the feeling that the user gets? Is it a stressful process? Does it promote confidence? How likely is the user to recommend the site to a friend?
The above are only the basics of the usability testing of a website. Many more aspects can be tested. It is, however, important to set specific usability goals and to test the site against these goals. Based on the above testing principles, the tests should give the tester the opportunity to monitor the user’s reactions and overall experience.
What it comes down to is that every website should be tested for usability. If you have not yet tested the forms, shopping carts, specific tasks , and overall experience of your site, it is time to do so if you want to enhance the user experience.