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Purpose

The purpose of usability testing is to test the usability and/or ease of use of a product or tool, and then make calculated changes and improvements guided by the test results.

You should always test your website with real and representative users.

Guidelines

The most popular methods of usability testing are

  • user testing
  • expert review
  • A/B and multivariate testing
  • first click test

User testing

User testing is a method by which users are asked to perform certain tasks in order to measure a website's ease-of-use, task completion time and the user's perception of the experience.

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Please find the supporting documents Usability test planning and reporting and the Record Consent, which will help you run your user tests in an efficient and effective way.

Expert review

An expert review helps pinpoint usability problems in the design and interface of websites and software. It is used early in the design process, sometimes on paper mock-ups or prototypes, to ensure that design problems are not built in. Expert reviews can also be carried out on existing websites and pages.

The expert doing the review gives a rating according to how well the website or prototype meets general usability guidelines, including readability, accessibility, information architecture and content quality.

Guidelines

  • Preparing the review
    • identify the organisational goals of the website or prototype
    • define key tasks that users are trying to complete based on input from the website/section manager, analytics, social media, trends and keywords and input from surveys and feedback forms
    • decide on the principles on which the review will be based
    • choose 3-5 reviewers, who are briefed on the goals of the website and the main tasks beforehand

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Please find the supporting document Usability Expert review, which will help you to evaluate your website in an efficient and effective way.

A/B testing and multivariate testing

A/B testing, also called split testing, is a form of user test comparing the strengths and weaknesses of 2 different design versions of a single page. A/B testing is a powerful tool but is limited in that only one change can be tested at a time.

Multivariate testing, on the other hand, allows you to test multiple variations at once.

Guidelines

  • choose exactly what you want to test
  • develop a hypothetical situation 
  • decide how you are going to measure the success
  • test group and split
  • use randomisation
  • document your methods and results

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Please find the supporting document AB testing, which will help you to evaluate your design variations in an efficient and effective way.

First click test

First click testing looks at the first thing that website visitors click on, on a given page, in order to complete their intended task.

It’s a useful tool to assess the effectiveness of the linking structure of your website, including navigation. It lets you see how users get around the website and complete their intended task.

Guidelines

  • define and document the tasks
  • track each click the user makes
  • time how long it takes the user to make this click
  • after each task, use a scale to evaluate if users were happy with the information they found
  • assess the ease or difficulty of completing each task
  • document your test and results

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Please find the supporting document First click test, which will help you to examine what a test participant would click on first on the interface in order to complete their intended task.

Data protection

Any personal data that is processed as part of any task relating to the development of the European Commission's web presence must be done so in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018.

See data protection for more info.

Contact and support

If you require further assistance, please contact:

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