A few months ago I went on UX Design course. This course really opened my mind to the whole user experience testing thing. I never thought that it was actually such complex yet fun thing to test user reactions to certain design elements on your web designs and actually learn something from it.
All though I knew a few things like banner blindness, there were quite a few things I never thought of like where you place a button, the size of a button and color on certain elements.
Just think for a moment, the smart phone that you use every day went through UX design testing. The shape of the phone, the button layout and even the phones software, all of it went through some kind of User Experience test.
So why do UX testing on your web designs?
UX testing actually could make your site more pleasing to your visitors, make visitors stay longer; get them to click on something. Here is an example, I’m sure you’ve seen popups on blogs that ask for your email to subscribe you to their newsletter.
Well that usually goes through quite a few testing phases to get the best conversion rate.
By now you get the idea of what the User Experience testing is all about, so let me start giving you that 5 free ways of doing User Experience testing.
1. Use paper to do drawings on.
You can do your website drawing on a piece of paper, it doesn’t cost you anything really and you don’t have to pay someone to do this for you. When you need to change elements you can just use an eraser or start with another piece of paper.
2. Use your friends to test your paper design layouts.
This really is an interesting thing to do. Invite your friends over for dinner or a few drinks preferably non alcoholic drinks; there is no point in testing your drunken buddies ;). What you will learn from this is very valuable information. All you need to do is ask a few question like, where will you click to go to X on the site? You will immediately notice how the people are navigating your design to get where you want to go. Sometimes you will notice that things didn’t work out the way you planned it.
3. Go to your favorite coffee shop.
Yes that’s it; your favorite coffee shop has a lot of customers hanging around drinking coffee with their mates or family. Not everyone will be willing to take part but you can ask a few people if they will be willing to take part in your experiment, you can even offer to pay for their coffee.
You don’t need a lot of people about 5 will do to give you an idea what needs to be changed.
4. If you don’t like paper and you prefer a digital way of doing layouts
You can use software like Gimp or even Photoshop to do layouts and then of course print it on Paper even a simple program like windows paint will do the job. Think of it, doing a drawing in Gimp or Photoshop is really quick and if you need to change something you can do it with a few clicks of the mouse.
5. Testing live versions of a website
Say you already have a site running and you want to improve it to up conversions on your site or you would like visitors to get involved in some way like registering to become a member and so on. You could use free open source software to figure out what users are doing.
ClickHeat is a heatmap tracking software script that you can use to see where people are clicking on your website.
Google Analytics is one you should be using to track visitors to you site. Google Analytics has a way for you to track Goals/Conversions and they have a way to to see where people are clicking on your website.
Piwik is an open source analytics tracking software where you get live up to date stats of your visitors. You can set goals like you do with Google Analytics. It’s really a great tool and you can get plug-ins for it as well for extra features.
Do you think that the open source tools are too limited?
Here are some paid tools you can use for testing.
I use GrazyEgg to see where users click and how many are actually clicking on it. This is really a great tool to get to know what your visitors are doing on your site.
ClickTale is another great tool, similar to GrazyEgg and Google analytics. They have heatmaps and they even record the movements of a visitor on your site. I haven’t personally used ClickTale but it really looks like a great tool.
As you can see it’s mostly free, easy and fun to do UX testing. Have you tried UX Design testing before? Let me know what your thoughts were and if you have anything else to add then please leave a comment below.