4 Usability Testing Tools for Designers on a Budget

  • By Inessa Brown
  • 21 Jul, 2017
Have you ever encountered a website with confusing navigation? Been sent down the wrong path by misleading labels? Or needed your best detective skills to find a particular piece of content? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? What can companies do to ensure that users can find what they are looking for on a website? Usability testing […]
Usability testing allows you to measure the effectiveness of the site structure and labelling against real user tasks. Get real users’ insights to help you evaluate which parts of your content hierarchy work well, and which parts don’t. So you can make informed design decisions about how to organize and label your content.
To help make the world a little easier to navigate and enjoy, you can use a technique called “Lab Usability Testing”. With this process, it is possible to get tips to improve UX and enhance the usability of your product. Individual testers whose profiles match those of the target users perform typical tasks with your product or a prototype. A researcher facilitates the quiz sessions and controls different conditions to identify usability problems and their causes.  While it is one of the most reliable methods to collect data and confirm or challenge assumptions, lab testing services are quite expensive.
Fortunately, there are some tools you can use for your business that are free, or relatively cheap.

1. Usability Hub

Usability Hub features five online tools that enable usability testing of a website or a web application using screenshots of pages:

Five Second Test

This tool can be used for optimizing the clarity of design by measuring a customer’s first impression.
Step 1.Upload a website screenshot and set a number of questions.
You can create your questions or choose one of the predefined questions such as “What product do you think this company sells?” or “Which element on the page did you focus on most?”. You can also ask people to rate the quality of this page between 1 (worst) and 5 (best).
Step 2.Show a design to people for five seconds and ask what they remembered.
Step 3.Check a report with answers. It can be organized as a list of keywords or as a word cloud.

First Click Analysis

This tool helps you estimate how efficient your designs are at letting users perform a proposed task.

Question Test

After uploading a design, you can assemble and investigate user feedback. In addition to the response data, the system creates a word cloud to help you identify regularly occurring keywords.

Navigation Test

This tool helps you enhance your conversion rate by analyzing how users navigate through your websites and applications.

Preference Test

This tool can be used to decide between design options by asking people which one they prefer.
Pricing:Responses from people you invite are free. Responses from the Usabilityhub tester panel start at $2.50 per user.

2. Optimal Workshop

With Optimal Workshop you can optimize your site using five different tools:

Tree Testing

This tool takes visual design out of the equation, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your site structure and labelling against real user tasks.

First-click Testing

The tool records the first click. Heat maps will then show you exactly where users get troubled, or confused, by your content.
Step 1.Upload your screenshots or designs and add a list of typical user tasks
Step 2.Ask user to proceed with the task
Step 3.Check these insights and make any required changes.  

Card Sorting

Start by testing with the simple method of card sorting to find out how other users would classify and label content on your site. Following these patterns helps you organize content in a way that makes sense to the people using your products or services.
Pricing policy:free and paid versions; free version includes 10 responses per study and 3 tasks per study.

3. Feng-GUI

Feng-GUI simulates the user’s view for the first 5 seconds. This application creates an eye movement map on the page based on an algorithm that predicts what the real person is most likely to see.
Right on the main page of the site you can upload a screenshot and see the probable areas of the visitor’s attention.
Pricing policy:free and paid versions; you can upload 1 screenshot every 8 hours for free.

4. TestFairy

TestFairy is designed for iOS and Android Mobile beta testing. It provides you with video of the tests so that you can see what exactly went wrong on the customer side.
The process is simple: upload your app, invite your friends or colleagues to examine it, then check results when the tests are performed.
There are several ways to send your app to the people you would like to test it:
  • Email invitations:Enter your prospective testers’ email addresses, and send a message with a link to download the app.
  • Native testers app:There is a TestFairy app for downloading and installing the apps to be tested.
  • Web app:Testers who want to use an application but do not want to install a native app on their device can use this.
  • Public beta pages:You can publish a public beta landing page for every TestFairy application, with an open invitation.
In cases where this is needed, you can set your project to work in ‘strict mode’ that will require testers to login before they download your app.
With more than 10,000 devices in the mobile world, your app can look different on every device. One of the most challenging jobs for mobile developers is to make confident that any app looks the same on all devices. The tool provides you with reports allowing you to see how every part of your app looks on every device.
Pricing policy:free and paid (enterprise) versions.

Conclusion

Online tools for usability testing help find out how much the site meets the expectations of users. Following recommendations leads to increased involvement and, ultimately, conversion of visitors to buyers. Many companies spend millions on testing the effectiveness of their web resources. You can do this with the help of online services. Even small changes can lead to significant positive performance.

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Have you ever wondered why your website doesn’t seem to attract as many people as your competitors’?

It’s actually far simpler than you think to create a website that will become a successful marketing tool for your business. Whatever business you’re in, everyone should have an online presence. But all too often business owners think of a website as just something that they think they should have rather than as the extremely effective marketing tool it should be.

It’s much easier than you think to get a website up and running and attracting visitors and there are many simple strategies you can implement that a) don’t cost the earth and b) don’t require a degree in marketing to understand. I have listed a few of them below to get you started…

1.  Don’t copy and paste your print material

Don’t simply copy your print marketing material. Writing for your website is completely different and is actually far easier than you think. Your visitors don’t want to sit and read a novel, they want clear and concise information that will draw them in and ultimately prompt them to carry out whatever it is you want them to do i.e. sign up to a newsletter, buy your products or make a booking

By Rob Johnson 30 Aug, 2017

One issue that we found and got many repeated complaints from clients that Magento takes more to load – essentially, it’s very resource consuming and has slow download speed. Major search engines like Google highly recommend and promote fast loading websites.

There are few tips and actions that our experienced Magento developers at Red Rocket have applied and we’d like to share that if it helps.

So, where do you start with speeding up Magentousing .Htaccess file? The first thing you need to do is to analyse the overall speed of your Magento page, before any changes have been made. We would recommend to use three tools which can be found below:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • WebPageTest
  • GTmetrix

Speed Up Magento via Your .htaccess File

Step 1: Gzip Compression For Magento

By compressing this page with GZIP, 76.1% bandwidth was saved.  

You will need to enable Gzip Compression for Magento. To enable GzipCompression simple find add below code in your root .htaccess.

< ifModulemod_gzip.c> mod_gzip_on Yes mod_gzip_dechunk Yes mod_gzip_item_includefile.(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$ mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$ mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.* mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.* mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.* mod_gzip_item_excluderspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.* < /ifModule >


Step 2: (optional) Compressing CSS and JavaScript files

Next we want to compress items such as CSS and javascript etc. Simply add the following lines of text directly into the htaccess file.

## compress text, html, javascript, css, xml: AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript # Or, compress certain file types by extension: < files *.html> SetOutputFilter DEFLATE < /files>


Step 3: Leverage Browser Caching and Expires Headers

The third thing to do is Leverage Browser Caching and Expires Headers. This piece of code can make a huge difference and will reduce the number of HTTP request, which is a huge benefit for any returning visitors to your website.

< IfModulemod_expires.c> # Enable expirations ExpiresActive On # Default directive ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month" # My favicon ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year? # Images ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 month" ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month" # CSS ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month? # Javascript ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 year" < /IfModule>


Step 4: Enable Output Compression

This section will essentially turn on the module called apache mod_deflate, which will compress css, text, and javascript before it is sent to the browser. This will considerably reduce the download size. In order to enable, uncomment the appropriate lines so that it looks like the below:

## enable apache served files compression ## http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#gzip # Insert filter on all content SetOutputFilter DEFLATE # Insert filter on selected content types only AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css text/javascript application/javascript # Netscape 4.x has some problems... BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html # Netscape 4.06-4.08 have some more problems BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip # MSIE masquerades as Netscape, but it is fine BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html # Don't compress images SetEnvIfNoCaseRequest_URI\.(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ no-gzipdont-vary # Make sure proxies don't deliver the wrong content Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary


Step 5: Enable Expires Headers

Normally browsers use Expires headers to checkfor how long a page component can be cached. Components that are static such as images, should have headers like far-future expires, but essentially, every page components should have expires headers. To enable this feature, simply uncomment the appropriate line and write “ExpiresActiveOn” just above it. Check below:

## Add default Expires header ## http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#expires ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 year"


Step 6: Disable ETags

ETags are used by browsers to check and validate cached components across subsequent visits. They can slow down a site served from a cluster if the cluster hasn’t implemented them properly. It is best to just turn them off as follow

## If running in cluster environment, uncomment this ## http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#etags FileETag none


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While waiting for a page to load, the application presents a cartoon image of a person wearing a business suit sitting in a jail cell. The image caption says, “Hey, everyone hates disclosures. We know you do, too. We’re doing our best to keep everyone out of jail. Please bear with us for a few more clicks. You won’t regret it, and our loan officers will stay out of jail.” Joan smirks at the image. She might not appreciate the number of forms she has to complete, but she understands the serious nature of applying for a loan.

Humor is an important aspect of life. Researchers find  humor has many positive benefits . It can reduce stress, increase psychological well being and increase tolerance for pain. Most of us have had experiences in which we’ve used humor to lighten a mood or cheer someone up. Humor is integral and inherent to human relationships.

You can use humor in your design (both in the process and the product) to create a positive user experience. We want to develop positive relationships with our users — humor can help make that happen.

But how do I do this?, you might ask. Do I need to be a comedian? Should I format all of my FAQs as knock-knock jokes? The answer is no to both of those questions. You can incorporate humor in your design, maintain your brand identity and not look like you are trying too hard in the process.


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