By Paige Ellingson

Usability testing is known by several names: design validation, user testing, design testing, and product testing. It is about the crucial process of testing your website with real customers in real scenarios. When you get to understand usability problems and user concerns deeply, you improve at correcting them.

Usability testing is an essential aspect of a designer’s task. It isn’t just about attractive visuals but is also about finding a solution to an issue effectively. It can only be achieved by repeated testing plus several iterations on the design. It is a fantastic way to obtain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t work.

It isn’t challenging to do or expensive. Unluckily, not enough product or design teams do it.

In this article, we will go through the five steps to take for conducting usability testing of a website.

Step 1: Plan the Session

It is essential to put together a test plan; otherwise, you’ll end up wasting more time. The plan should rough out:

  • What will be tested – tasks, functionalities, features.
  • How you are planning to measure your results – the fail or success-rate of the test in specified areas.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have specified or open-ended questions and tasks.

Some open-ended questions and tasks will have the customers going through the site or app for a clearly identified period to acquaint themselves with it. Such an approach will be useful when you:

  • Do exploratory research
  • Work on common hindrances
  • Attempt to identify areas, which are most well-known with users

Specified tasks allow the customers to understand what they are trying to attain. This test measures whether achieving the tasks is going to be difficult or easy. The test is advantageous when:

  • The product is more complex, and it needs to be tested in many stages.
  • You want to secure conversion optimization.
  • A concrete functionality or feature is to be explored.

Step 2: The Selection of Participants

Recruiting and screening the right participants is one of the hardest parts of user testing. How you recruit or whom, is determined by your budgetary constraints and testing goals. Those who have a great idea about their target audience find it effortless to recruit test participants.

You should define your user’s characteristics thoroughly and also spread the details through the right channels. Additionally, you should know that relying on experts to lead a group discussion help to attain your goal can grant you a perfect possible result within a short time.

Step 3: Design the Task(s)

Here, you are going to plan the specified scenarios you will take your selected participants through. Also, you will take them through the tasks there are needed to complete and to guarantee actionable and clear results.

This scenario lets you test the ability of the participants to make use of your website’s filters and is open-minded well enough to apply to everyone’s preferences.

Step 4: Run the Session

Once it is time to perform the user testing session, your moderators or you should have a set of protocol to follow with every participant. The protocol leaves customization room, but yet guarantees a standardised experience for every test subject. If you’re conducting the session yourself, you need to:

  • Be sure your participants are physically comfortable.
  • Collect psychographic and demographic information using predetermined questions.
  • Use the rapport you built to transition your participants into the first task.
  • Ask questions and collect the final feedback of the participants.

Step 5: Analyze the Insights

After you have collected your data, it is time to analyze your results to make conclusions. It is wise to analyze just after testing as your observations are still very fresh in mind.

For further examination, pull out the most frequent or serious issues, which customers encountered. Do not address every problem; instead, you should prioritize the problems, which were the most problematic and require to be resolved and workshopped.


It takes courage to let someone to possible criticize or review your work. However, when you let individuals rip or constructively criticize apart of your product design, your end result can be better than ever imagined.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos