Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3... Two Quick Ways To Test Your Website

Vinit Patel
By Vinit Patel
25 Aug at 15:25

We are an online business and as one of the people responsible for our product (our website) it's important that we test, test, test. Oh, and then TEST some more.

This process in our business, repeated by countless millions in the digital sectors across the world, reminds me of those times when people get up to speak on a microphone, regurgitate the standard "Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.... is this on" line before looking nervously at the PA guy to sort it out (for which the web comic by Brainless Tales was cute and relevant!).

So if you're thinking of taking either our Web Design course or one of the Development courses we have on offer, this should appeal to you in particular.

 

 

It should be obvious why testing a website, or any product that you create as a business, is important but the main benefits in my opinion are that:

  • You become aware of how it will get used
  • It throws up bugs, defects and issues
  • (As a result of the first two) You get an indication for how much work is required to make it market-ready

In the past five years that we’ve spent creating, building and developing EwB, there are two services which have struck a chord with me and I’d like to share these here.

BugHerd

This could warrant its own post. In essence, BugHerd is a fantastic in-browser, collaborative user testing tool. It requires 5-10 mins of configuration by you and the intended tester but once you’re setup, it’s dead easy to use. This summer we will have co-ordinated at least five major test cycles using this software and have collected nearly 1,000 pieces of feedback from our testers.

Once collected, we tag the feedback, remove the duplicates (there tend not to be that many because of BugHerd’s ‘pin’ feature) and then schedule our next round of development work. Easy, right? Because it is!

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Users can instantly add feedback using the in-browser plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Safari but also see what other users have already posted so that it avoids duplication:

Usertesting.com

This is an innovative, reasonably-priced, on-demand user testing site. Within a few minutes you can have a tester check out your site, provide you with video feedback (and their commentary contained within it and have it emailed to you. Recently they launched an even faster (5 minute), FREE service Peek. Both services give you an insight into the minds of the people visiting your site and essentially let you “look over their shoulders”.

The fuller usertesting.com service lets you specify a more detailed test. You can set specific tasks, choose the number of participants (this will affect the price), gender, country, ‘web expertise’ (particularly useful if your site is intended for web naifs or sophisticates) and so forth.

The result is that you can find objective, informed and quick results at a fraction of the cost involved in doing it yourself (finding and recruiting testers, setting up software and processes, etc). And if you’re serious about your website - whether for personal or professional use - and want to make it more usable then this is the place to go!

So there you have it. A quick guide to why I believe Feedly can be so useful for you. There’s a lot that I’ve missed on purpose so if you have any questions or comments, tweets us @ExcelWithBiz).

By Vinit Patel (follow @VinRP)