Usability Testing

By Laura Duggan     Add your comments

A major part of product development is to get the website in front of users in a cost efffective way. Here’s a solution.

In our article on setting product goals we pointed out the importance of user testing. Now we can happily point to an easy way to work with this metric.

UserTesting.com has created a cost-effective product for conducting user tests for your website. Traditionally, user testing has been quite expensive, as it involved gathering people in a physical location, monitoring what they do, getting their feedback, etc. However, with UserTesting.com, the software does it all. You will give your users a script or set of tasks to follow. Then the software will not only record their keystrokes but also their verbal commentary. The end result is that you get to see your system through the user’s point of view, and understand why things are not effective.

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and indeed, seeing the software running visually, driven by a user, is worth more than poring over pages and pages of specs and code.

The best thing about the UserTesting.com model is that it is so incredibly automated. You specify the demographics of the users, and the system does all the rest, from inviting the participants to recording their experience. And did we mention that it is incredibly affordable?

This is one package you cannot afford to ignore. Don’t fly blind with your website; see how it works, and fine tune it. You’ll be glad you did.

SPECIAL NOTE: The first 25 Spartina.com users are eligible for a free test of their site. Just enter Spartina08 in the promo field on the sign-up page at Usertesting.com. This offer expires 12/31/08.

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