Website usability

What is Usability Testing?

18 May, 2021

Usability of your website or online store is crucial to achieving success in e-commerce. It deals with logic, clear navigation, and functional interfaces. Generally, good usability means ease-of-use. No matter how high your traffic is, your sales and conversion rates won’t grow if the usability is poor.

As a result, you have some traffic but the conversion remains – let’s put it that way – insufficient. At first glance, it looks like you need to invest more in SEO promotion and contextual advertising but in reality, the problem won’t disappear. Users don’t like to look for a registration form, a Buy button, a phone number, etc. It’s a too complex task they are unwilling to solve. When a web resource is unclear, we just close it. To understand what problems users face on your website, you should do a usability testing. Usability testing is an effective method of testing the interface for its user-friendliness. The foremost “experts” in usability testing are the audience for which the web project was created. The evaluation method shows actual results because no one will find the weaknesses of the interface better than those who use it.

How to conduct usability testing? The material will be valuable and exciting to UX designers, project managers (and product owners), and everyone involved in developing the Internet product.

Tasks that can be solved with a usability testing

задачи аудита
When you improve website usability, conversion rates increase. The principle is simple: users come to your website, immediately find what they need, and you get the customers. You literally step by step lead them to the desired goal. If everything goes as planned, macro and micro conversion rates will grow. A website usability testing is more than changing a design or adding a Buy button. It includes a deeper analysis. You study different paths and user behavior on your resource, take into account your business goals, field, type of the website, target audience, competitors, and other things. Generally, a usability testing helps to:

  • Find mistakes, flaws, or bugs which prevent users from completing target actions
  • Implement recommendations and improve the usability of a website or online store
  • Increase conversion rates, grow sales and income
  • Provide a competitive edge, since users will get everything they want on your resource and won’t go to other websites

In most cases, website owners are sure that if their resource is new and keeps up with all trends, there is nothing to fix there.

But the experience shows that there are always some mistakes, flaws, or details that affect conversion rates.

Thus, a usability testing may be useful for

For websites and online stores that want to succeed in e-commerce, a usability testing is a must. The point is that an increase in conversion rates is key for such resources. Here are the main categories:

  • Existing websites and online stores that want to increase income.
  • Online stores (since usability affects sales and customer loyalty).
  • Projects under development (to create a proper and effective resource from the very beginning).

Usability testing allows detecting problematic areas where a conversion rate drops. It shows what obstacles prevent visitors from completing target actions and helps to design a strategy based on empirical data.

Types of usability testing of the site

    You can test usability according to the following plan:

  • The visual part. When we first look at the site, and the target audience has never seen the project
  • Conversion path. We check all the information after a specific traffic channel. For example, go to the landing page and check whether everything is evident.
  • Technical (QA test). This is the task of the QA tester, who must assess the quality of the entire project and make constructive suggestions for its improvement.
  •  To refine all parameters and notice all possible flaws, we recommend sticking to checklists during a usability testing. After that, one must create a plan of recommendations on fixing all mistakes. In the process of usability testing, we continually ask the question: Is it convenient or inconvenient? What problems could the user have when working on this page?

    It is best to do usability testing when there is traffic, but there are different kinds of traffic:

  • First, the traffic may be untargeted, and then the results will be incorrect. For example, you will see a high bounce rate due to incorrectly configured contextual advertising.
  • Second, you can get traffic from Facebook, but not from your niche. Or from organics, but not on those requests and not on the necessary landing pages.
  • It would help if you did usability testing based on the perception of how users use specific site elements, rather than how they are supposed to use them (in your opinion). The heatmap, which we will talk about below, can help.

Usability testing and site optimization

What to check during usability testing:

  1. Verbal + visual perception: how are text, images, and graphic content perceived?
  2. The purpose of the page: what task should it perform – to inform, advertise, sell, or entertain?
  3. Convenience: is it convenient or inconvenient to use this site?
  4. Check: check the heatmap and Google Analytics. Even completely identical design and content sites give different bounce rates, clicks, and % conversion.
  5. Website optimization is impossible without usability testing and works to improve it. Unfortunately, this affects the convenience for visitors and the site’s profitability.

How to use heatmap for usability testing?

Heatmap is a handy tool for testing website usability. It allows you to determine which pages attract visitors – product catalog, blog, delivery, etc. These cards will enable you to adjust and speed up the user’s path through the sales funnel – from the first contact to the target action.

    Usability testing with a click card allows you to check:

  • Site features
  • CTA
  • Exactly where users click
  • How the site works in general
  • Scrolling depth
  • Contents – top or bottom
  • Bounce rate
  • Design
  • As for the design, here the heatmap in the process of usability testing helps to identify design elements that users mistake for buttons. Beautiful design with various features distracts visitors, and they can confuse ordinary pictures with signature forms, which is at least a little annoying.

An example of usability testing – Google Store

    Let’s show by an example what errors can be found during usability testing of Google Store:

  1. Click on the logo. If you get to the country selection page or any place other than the primary or landing page, it is not good.
  2. Test your search in different languages. For example, write the product’s name in the search box in English and German. Various issues are wrong.
  3. Go to the basket and try to get out of it. If you click on the logo, you will get to the page “Error 400”.
  4. There can be many more of these examples. Each site has its weaknesses that are identified only with usability testing.

15 advantages of a usability testing you have never heard of

Obviously, a usability testing is not only an assessment and guidance for your site but also some great bonuses you can get as a result. By reformatting your resource, you can both achieve top search results and attract additional traffic, but most importantly you can increase sales and turn potential buyers into customers. We have completed a list of the benefits of usability testing you can get after making the changes.

  1. Competitive edge
    By improving usability, you make your website more preferred by potential customers. When a web resource is easy to use, visitors immediately find what they need and become customers. You leave your competitors far behind. Note that you should change your website or online store only after a usability testing is done. If you implement all recommendations step by step, test them, monitor and record indicators, you will get great results really soon.
  2. Website responsiveness
    A proper display of your website on all devices is extremely important. In fact, regardless of who your potential buyer is, a businessman or a stylish girl, they use different devices, browse on smartphones or tablets and buy accordingly. So why should we neglect this? The analysis of technical components will help to detect problems with responsive versions and, of course, fix everything. For example, take a look at the screenshot of the feedback popup which isn’t fully displayed

    And in a horizontal mode, menus are overlapping
  3. Download speed
    Download speed takes the second place after the responsiveness since customers don’t like waiting (this already should be taken as given). So you must work to improve the speed and strive to make your website as fast as possible. Delete photos and videos that overload your website as well as unnecessary pages, filters, or non-informative blocks. For example, you can remove extra elements from the pages of a mobile version, since they slow it down
    Скорость загрузки
  4. Interesting content
    Informative content of product cards will attract users’ attention and improve your online karma. Indeed, nobody is going to rack their brains and read an unformatted and boring text to find the necessary information. Make effort to create appealing and optimum content for your blog or product descriptions to tailor them for your needs. A usability assessment will indicate the advantages and disadvantages of your materials. For instance, the page of this health resort includes a low-quality picture which is completely unclear to users:
  5. Promotion in search
    Usability affects ranking in search engines. If your website is easy-to-use, the behavioral factor improves. As a result, the bounce rate reduces while the time spent on pages and page view time increase. A target audience is more interested in such website, and this is a positive signal for search systems. By improving usability, you will receive small bonuses and get into the TOP faster.
  6. Targeted traffic
    Since optimization improves the ranking of a website, its traffic also increases. If you work with different traffic channels and have great usability, the clients that come through one traffic channel will return through others. The overall behavior factor improves.
  7. Improvements
    After the testing, you will find out what exactly needs to be corrected first and foremost, what currently hinders the work of your web resource. An unnecessary functionality, a long registration form, and big ads are killing your traffic and promotional budget. Only a thorough analysis can show real obstacles on the way to the desired rates. For example, this search form on the main page doesn’t work properly

    We enter the request, click Search

    And find nothing related. This should be fixed immediately since users also cannot find what they are looking for.
  8. Great recommendations
    You can not only fix your flaws with the help of the testing but also refine your website or online store. Take into account the preferences of your audience to add interesting features, such as reviews of the online store, display of products of the same color, or your advantages in figures. You just have to really know what attracts your potential and loyal customers.
  9. Web analytics of the website
    Not only fixing mistakes is important, one should also monitor the results of corrections and refinements. Preserve achievements and make new corrections based on the analytics. To track the effectiveness of usability changes, use Google Analytics or Plerdy click heatmaps. Also, evaluate the overall performance of the resource, including its technical components, functionality, and design. You will get a clear presentation of useful and important information.
  10. Loyalty and repeat sales
    It is probably a well-known fact, but if customers like your place, they will come again. In addition to repeat sales, you will also get customer loyalty and word of mouth marketing. This parameter is definitely included in the usability checklist.
  11. Higher average check
    Increase your average check. When all processes are fine-tuned and a customer makes an order/purchase/registration or any target action, you can offer them more. Cross-selling and upselling are very effective here. For instance, you may use email campaigns.
  12. Better design
    After the usability testing, you can implement great design and style solutions in the whole resource as well as its separate elements, pages, or blocks. Find out what you really need and what can backfire. Anyway, the redesign is a must.

    No Learn More, Go to, or Buy button
  13. Saved promotional budget
    We aren’t going to remind you that usability testing is a step forward. Sticking to all the recommendations, you will simplify the conversion of visitors into buyers and thus, reduce expenses on clients. Also, your promotional campaigns will be better planned, as you will get higher sales with the same budget.
  14. Unique design
    You should distinguish yourself from template websites and standard online stores. But very often everything is vice versa. We look at the websites of our competitors and do something look-alike. Sometimes studying the market is useful, yet a unique design will become your defining feature in the ocean of similar offers.
  15. Three-click rule
    The essence of this simple recommendation is that users should be able to find all necessary information with no more than three clicks. Just three clicks and you get the result. There are proponents and opponents of this theory, but anyway we insist on making the resource as simple as possible.


At first, it may seem like we are talking about some obvious things. Yet dealing with their own business, people often forget about everything and create a resource to match their personal tastes and needs. However, your website is for users. They are the ones that will make purchases and recommend you to their friends. A website or online store is a direct connection with potential clients, so don’t neglect it. After the usability testing, you get clear instructions on how to improve your work and make it more effective.