When is the last time you visited a website and thought that there were ways they could improve it so your user experience was better? Do you think it’s possible that the same is true for your website? Maybe you’re losing potential clients because of a small oversight in your website. Here’s how to find out…and it’s FREE!
Many of you, like me, have built and curated your website in order to attract a certain clientele, and you probably think it's doing a good job at that. You may not even realize that one of the links in your menu doesn't work properly, or that your portfolio sliding gallery is too slow and people get annoyed with it and stop looking. There are many ways that your site may be tweaked really easily to make the user experience better, and I've found a great tool to help you find those ways.
Peek is a beta offshoot of UserTesting.com and is really really quick, easy and free way to have a random person peruse your site and give you immediate feedback as to what they're thinking about it. With Peek, you get 3 free tests per site, and you are emailed a video of a person that is going through your site and giving you feedback about it's usability.
I've used this free option twice now and was very happy with the suggestions received, and have since made some quick changes to my site that I believe makes it a stronger site. Here's my first video (Chrome seems to be better at displaying these videos than Firefox for your information)
As you can see now, I've changed how my galleries function, and am quite pleased with the results. Here are a few screen captures of the changes I've made.
You can view my site at http://www.mattkennedy.ca
From the dozens of photographers that I've talked to who have used the Peek test, most have been very pleased with their video, and have made changes to their sites because of it. Keep in mind that the users who are doing the testing are picked at random and you may get feedback that you find irrelevant or that you disagree with. That's ok, and you get 3 free tests to get a good variety of testers.
Paid Testing Through UserTesting
Another option is using UserTesting's actual paid service where you can select your target demographic and have them do a test of your site. When you do this, you can even ask your own questions and give your own directives in order to the get the type of feedback you want for your site. You can get them to compare your site with another photographers site and give you their opinions. You can ask them to find certain things on your site and see how long it takes them. You can ask them why they would or would not contact you as a client. You can even to specific mobile site testing and select what device they use to access your site.
When you use the paid version, you have total control and it's VERY useful information to have! Here's a video of a targeted user testing from a good friend of mine Trevor Dayley:
I think you'll find that after a couple sessions you'll either want to make changes and do it again, or you'll be happy with your site and glad to have the confirmation. Either way, I think you should try it because it's as simple as putting in your URL and email.
When you've completed it, if you think there is value in what you heard, post up your video in the comments below! It's valuable hearing what other sites are doing right and wrong so we can all learn together.