Analysis of site usability independently: rules, criteria and recommendations
Website promotion will give good results only if there are no errors inside it, otherwise no link mass will raise the portal in the TOP of the search results, will not collect traffic and will not show high conversion. Most owners of Internet resources know that systematic technical audit is necessary to bypass search engine filters, but this is not enough. It is also very important to periodically analyze the usability of the site, this will contribute to the improvement of behavioral factors and increases the ranking.
Mostly specially trained people are engaged in auditing, but with a modest budget for website promotion, you can perform the verification yourself, this does not require additional costs, just a desire and a certain amount of time are sufficient.On how to independently analyze the usability of the site, read on.
The concept of “site usability”
Everyone knows that for the development and promotion of the resource, their owners have to continuously work on the convenience of its use and focus on the requests of visitors, it is for these moments that usability is responsible. The convenience of the portal is usually evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Ease of use - how easy the first-time users can navigate the site.
- Ease of memorization - can a visitor from memory restore a chain of actions to perform a specific action
- User satisfaction with resource quality.
- The effectiveness of the use of content.
- Probability of making a mistake.
After evaluating your site according to these criteria, many owners will say that it meets all the requirements, but this is an erroneous opinion. This is explained not by the fact that there are no well-thought-out portals, but by the fact that the concept of a developed resource is determined not by a one-time site usability audit, but by continuous work on its user-friendliness. The reason lies in the constantly changing trends in design, there are innovations,forcing them to follow, because visual impression plays a key role.
What should be checked
What parameters are subject to verification of a working site will become clear after analytics. Consider a real example of usability analysis site for the company Imaginary Landscape.
The company performed a check through the service Google. Analytics, as a result of which it became clear that visitors go to a page with a feedback form, but do not perform the target action. Why? Further testing showed that people simply do not want to fill a large number of lines, and there were 11 of them! The site owners have reduced their number from 11 to 4, as a result, the conversion increased to 140%!
How to start analyzing site usability? You can start the analysis with pictures, because their main task is to attract the attention of visitors, they must cause the right emotions and encourage them to take action. If the results make it clear that the image is clicked, but it does not lead anywhere, then it is logical to insert into it a link to something useful and important.
Or the opposite situation may occur - there is a clickable image on the site, leading to useful information, but no one uses this function or even guesses to do it.To fix the situation is extremely simple - make it so that when you hover the cursor the picture reacts, for example, it grows or is highlighted, that is, it provokes the user to click on it. But to understand this, you first need to analyze the usability of the site.
In addition to the pictures, the following points are being tested:
- The structure of the resource to make it understandable and easy for visitors.
- The clickability of the buttons, this criterion has become incredibly important since the "flat design" came into fashion.
- Menu. Allows you to fix the problem on which users do not attend some sections.
In a word, all elements with which visitors interact or, on the contrary, do not interact, are checked, but according to the plan they should do it.
Ideally, this process is carried out by professionals - they collect information, communicate with the target audience, conduct a focus group, conduct a survey, and only then analyze the results. All this takes time and is expensive.
But the process can be simplified and analyze the usability of the site using services specifically created for this.Such a check will help to get a general idea about the interaction of visitors with your resource, and this can be done on your own and quite quickly. For this kind of testing, there are at least 5 ways.
Service "Yandex. Metric"
So, how to analyze the usability of the site? Of the free services in RuNet, nothing has yet been invented more convenient and functional than the Yandex. Metrics counters. With it, you can record all the movements of the cursor, filling out forms of communication, text selection, clicks, and more. The study of the report of this counter can be compared with viewing a video about the visitor’s visit to the site, all information is saved - what buttons did it click on, what did it enter into the search bar, and so on. All these data are reflected in the following Yandex tools:
- "Webvisor". To install it, you need to log in to the Yandex. Metric and go to the tab “Add counter”. In the "Settings" section, copy the counter code and paste it into all pages of the site. But WebVizor is not the only assistant from the Yandex service.
- The next useful service is “Heat Map”. It clearly shows the most clickable areas on the page.The brighter the coloring point, the more often it is pressed.
- "Scrolling Card". It reflects how users behave on the page - where they stop for the longest time, what they scroll through, and so on.
- Form Analytics. This section helps to understand how visitors interact with the forms located on the portal, which lines fill in the application, what they enter in the search box and so on.
All Yandex tools work well, there is no charge for using them, so with proper use you can conduct a very effective audit of the usability of the site.
This is a specialized online service for checking the site, which provides the opportunity to pass 5 simple tests:
- Five Second Test. Algorithm of work - a screenshot of the tested page is attached to the site, which participants view for 5 seconds, after that they give points. You can evaluate various factors, for example, which component of the page is most attractive, what is remembered, and so on. As a result, the site owner receives the answers of the respondents to the question being asked, as well as an automatically generated cloud with the most repetitive phrases.
- Click Test.The course of action is similar, but instead of answers a heat map of clicks is issued.
- Questionnaire (Question Test). A special questionnaire is created, which real people give answers to.
- Navigation Test. This testing provides an assessment of how comfortable it is for users to interact with a resource, whether navigation and structure are clear.
- Preferences (Preference Test). A design analysis of the usability of the site. The principle of operation is to load two possible design options - the test participants choose the one that, in their opinion, looks more attractive.
Usability Hub is an English-language service with the ability to select a language (you can create a test in Russian). There are two versions - commercial and free. In the first case, you can choose the number of participants and quickly get the results. In the free variation, you will first need to score the required number of points (participation in other surveys, design evaluations and answers to questions), and only after that the opportunity to launch your own testing and assess the usability of the site will open.
The Usambilla system offers three testing products:
- Check the Internet portal.
- Mobile phone applications.
The verification procedure is as follows: project participants write down estimates, write comments indicating errors and take screenshots. All this information is stored in convenient statistics.
The program itself is in English, but you can choose Russian for testing. The service is paid, with a trial period (you can check two pages for an audience of up to 10 people).
The service allows you to analyze the design of snippets and usability of competitive sites by using the following tests:
- Check the structure of the site (Treejack). This analysis helps to better understand how visitors navigate the portal, whether those steps that are important to the owner, or something for them remains incomprehensible. To perform testing, it is necessary in a special form Treejack to paint the information architecture of the site. Do not worry, it just sounds scary, in fact in each line it says what you need to do. After that, you need to set tasks for test participants, for example, to find the address on the site. As a result, the customer will receive full statistics.The site is English-language, with a free trial period.
- Testing by the method of distribution of cards (OptimalSort). It helps to understand the logic of users and how to make it easier for them to reach the target action. It works as follows - all elements of the portal content are written out in separate cards, and participants in testing should sort them in the way they are comfortable and understandable. As a result, the customer receives reports of several types and an understanding of the mental model of users of the site. In the demo version you can check 30 cards for a group of 10 people.
- Chalkmark. This service is needed in order to understand the impression a design makes on visitors upon their first visit. The result is provided in the form of a heat map, color grid, and first click analysis. To test a resource, you need to upload a screenshot of the page to the service, set tasks for the participants and wait for the results.
When buying a paid version, you can conduct surveys with feedback.
Unlike the above services, this one does not provide feedback from live members. Application automaticallybased on its own algorithms it forms the visitor's attention map, that is, it reflects where a person’s gaze falls after loading the page and how, in the program’s opinion, it will move from one element to another.
To perform testing, you must enter the url of the desired page and press the Analyze key. After some time, the system will issue a treasured card.
Each of the described services is good in its own way, but it is better to still purchase the paid version, since in the demo version the functionality is very limited. In addition, almost all of them are in English.
Manual methods for analyzing site usability
Not all site owners will want to understand the systems and statistics, especially in English, for them there are other options for checking. For example, site usability analysis can be performed by posting a screenshot on special sites such as revision.ru, where various specialists (web designers, developers and others) “hang out”. They are always happy to share their opinions and give advice.
The next option - polls in social networks (in thematic groups) and focus groups among their friends.To make an average rating, you need only 5–8 respondents from your target audience.
Visual audit: what to look for
The easiest way to check is to visually assess the usability of the site. The analysis should begin with the design refinement, it should inspire confidence in the visitor, making him a potential buyer, that is, cause the desire to perform an action. In addition, the design must be competitive, have advantages over others. So, let's consider the design criteria and the basic rules for analyzing site usability, which should be followed:
- All pages should be designed in the same style - color palette, tone of links, font size and so on.
- The tonality of the design should not cause negative emotions, it is recommended to use soft shades in combination with parallel colors.
- A large number of ads annoying visitors, ideally ad units should not be on the site at all.
- Web documents should be checked for accessibility in all browsers, including when entering from mobile devices. Blocks should not be shifted or distorted.
- When you hit the site, any person (regular user, partner or client) should immediately understand its purpose and easily find the way to perform the planned action.
The theme of the resource and the design should be in harmony with each other, and the selection of the color palette should be carried out taking into account the intended target audience, otherwise you can harm the behavioral factor and increase the percentage of refusals from viewing.
Usability of the project structure and its navigation
The design of the project is very important, but even the most beautiful and well-designed site will not work successfully if it has poor structure and navigation. In this assessment step, attention should be paid to the following points:
- The logical connection between the structure and objectives of the project.
- The location of the navigation and search line on all pages in visible areas.
- The ability to find any web document in three clicks (to do this, you need to thoroughly examine the site map and menu).
- The absence of broken links and such pages from which you can return only through the browser.
- The presence of pictures with links.
- Structuring information by sections and categories.
In addition, when analyzing a site independently, it is very important to audit the content by rechecking it for grammatical, spelling and syntactic errors, and it is worth checking the uniqueness of the texts, as over time it falls. For this purpose, you can use the batch check function, for example, on the ETXT anti-plagiarism service. It will not be superfluous to format the pages for better visual perception, working to ensure that a certain text responds 100% to the promoted request regardless of the text volume.
Periodic usability audit is very important for a resource, but one should not forget that this is an inaccurate value that is evaluated subjectively. It is very easy to make a mistake when conducting an inspection, and in some cases the results completely contradict logic and common sense. Therefore, if you decide to make the best usability, then it is recommended to divide the work on the errors into several parts - change the most important things first and only what you are most confident about. In addition, you should be prepared for the fact that some actions will have to be performed more than once.