Test Your Site for Usability for Free

Usability testing is one of those things which designers tend to forget. The main reason is that usability testing costs money as there are involved:
• interviews
• variety of tests
• services

Sometimes the client resides in completely different part of the country and sometimes they are a small business who wanted to establish an online presence in budget.
Usability testing is commonly for the big projects and for clients who can afford to pay for the fancy stuff. Even sometimes any new paid service on top of other expenditures of the project is not an option.

Below is a guide to free usability testing which can be adopted by anyone!


Friends come first

From your friend circle get the least technical savvy person and ask them to sit in front of the computer. These persons will imitate the non-technical visitor of the site. When choosing friends keep these things in mind:
• Get the least technical person in. he one who is not comfortable in holding the mouse or have to call someone for help if on screen pop ups a dialog box asking for some sort of confirmation.

• If possible then test the site on mobile devices too but test them on one by one basis. The best way is to test them simultaneously because in one by one scenario they will have the opportunity to get accustomed to your website.

• Observing the phenomenon can alter the outcome because when people know that you are observing they may behave differently and interact with the site differently. But, in all slightly screwed date is a lot better than having no data at all.


Assume a new role during testing

Your duty in testing is to see your own project from new eyes but it can be very difficult because you built it and you know it’s inside out. So, how can you pretend that you don’t know it? You may be a good pretender but it is really hard when it comes to pretending in front of something when you yourself build it. To assume a new role you can check your site under various conditions such as:
• Try quick surfing through the site on your mobile device
• Scroll through the site on your laptop, mobile and tablet.
• Try opening it on different browsers.
• Try opening it on older version of the browsers.

They will help you in simulating the different conditions under which your real time users will use your website.
Proper user tracking and testing takes a lot of time and money and there aren’t many companies which offer this facility not for free at least. But there are two
• Google
• Optimizely

Google offers Google analytics which allows you to set goals for the customers in terms of specific actions such as:
• clicking a link, and
• filling a form

Moreover, it will record just how many users completed that particular action. Optimizely is however a different beast and it has lots of free tools which can collect data in order to provide the user with as much context as possible. It also integrates with the Google analytics.


There are many other tools which can help you in doing the usability testing. All you need are some technically challenged friends and desire to get creative in testing your own site.