The first step of a usability test is to decide what the usability test will actually be testing. Most professionals in the field of ecommerce have heard of a conversion. This is where visitors to a website complete a specific task or set of tasks to achieve a sought after result. For example, on an ecommerce website this could be a user adding a product to their shopping cart and then completing the purchase by checking out through the online store’s checkout process. The usability test is important because it allows web developers to test whether or not these conversions are possible and easy to achieve. The user in a usability test will be observed while they attempt to complete one of these conversions.
Here are some popular conversions that many ecommerce stores should be testing (this is not an exhaustive list and readers are encouraged to post additional testing objectives in the comments section below):
- users can add products to their carts and complete purchases
- users are able to find contact information and contact the store
- users are able to register for the store’s newsletter
- users are able to effectively use the store’s search and navigation functions
Once the objectives of your usability test have been defined, it is time to research and recruit your participants… (to be continued in “Usability Test Step 2: Recruiting Participants”).