Unfortunately often usability is the last item checked off on a project. It actually should be one of the second or third things completed during the prototype stage before development. If not your project costs can go up significantly or worse your project will not have great results even if all your code is correct. Here are some quick usability tests to check your web, mobile or multimedia creation.
- Just like when you where in school… have your parents or grandparents test your creation. If they can’t figure it out then it is not usable. Note that having your child do it does not count. They often have a higher technical understanding of how something works.
- Make sure the technical abilities needed to use the site match your user audience. For example the abilities of online gamers compared to people getting their online drivers license are very different. Both vocabulary, technical skill and navigation should be at least 60% under the user’s ability.
- Assume nothing
- If you are creating a new navigation system make sure it is taught once and repeats throughout the system. Don’t create a home page with one navigation then internal pages with different navigation.
- For web sites, all important actions should be above the fold of a standard laptop. (the part of the page you see before scrolling)
- Lead the user to an assumed conclusion and action.
- Screens should be self describing even without words when possible.
- Show the user where they are in the process at all times
- Never have the user have to search or hunt for something
- Have multiple ways to reach important functions
- Redirect errors so the user can figure out what they did wrong
- Have the colors, fonts, images align with the brand, ad or previous page, product or service?
- Test, test, test on all user’s browsers and devices.
Simply said on any page these questions should be answered within seconds of landing on the screen:
- Where am I?
- What do I have to do?
- Where do I click to complete the action?
- Where can I get help?