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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Design and Usability testing


When you go to meet a person for some purpose…. and if he has got a scary and unfriendly appearance. What would be your next step? Dropping the idea of meeting him and searching for another person, who can receive you properly and serve your purpose perfectly with good responses. Am I Right?
Now in above statement, think that you are a customer and you visited a web site. And website is the another person who is not so approachable. Here the approach of the web site is design and performance of the site. Visitor will switch to another web site if he is not pleased by its appearance, its performance, its usability. Visitors will explore the site more if they are satisfied. After all this, user tries to check if his purpose is solved or not.
Testing functionality, end to end flow, performance is normally done for all web applications. But, what about design and usability testing?
In this post I’m going to explain factors to be considered to test a design of an application.



Considerations to test design and usability of web application
  1. Home Page
    1. Home page is expected to have a logo and major contents of the application.
    2. It would be better if logo is continued as favicon.
    3. Landing page should not have more number of images of large size. Page takes more time to load and visitor never hesitates to switch to another website as they will be more impatient.
    4. After loading of the page, purpose of the web site should be mentioned very clearly in a line or so. This makes the visitor to decide whether he has entered into correct web site or not.
  2. Content
    1. Color & Font style
      1. Soothing color and background should be selected.
      2. Font should not be scary but it should be readable and understandable
      3. Consistency should be maintained for the font used for menus, buttons and other content.
      4. It should be easily accessible to users with disabilities like color blinded.
    2. Hyperlinks
      1. Color of visited and unvisited links should be easily differentiable.
      2. Avoid too many links.
      3. Color used for links should not be used for any other text part of the content to highlight.
      4. Also avoid link navigating to same page or looping the visited pages.
    3. Forms & Sections
      1. Main sections for which the visitor visits the site should be occupied in the body of the page. And rest low priority factors come in left, right, bottom sections of the page.
      2. Sections should not be overlapping or under covered with another section.
      3. Visitor should not keep checking for the fields to enter any data.
      4. Fields should be properly aligned.
  3. Images / Graphics
    1. Logo should be included for the error messages so that user gets an idea about error source.
    2. It would be good if the images on front page match the purpose of the site.
    3. Too many flash images make the user confused about the content of the application.
    4. Consistency in complete web application is expected.
    5. Too many flash images or advertisements turn them off.
  4. Page usage & Navigation
    1. Web page should be optimally utilized and should not have blank sections or irrelevant details.
    2. Too much of scrolling should be avoided.
    3. Structure of the complete web application should be clear and easily navigating.
    4. Sitemap should be available to know where the visitor is and how he can go to another section.
  5. Additional
    1. Check if your design is compatible with most of the browsers or not. Check this post  Browser Compatibility testing manually
    2. Help should be provided to provide details of the page and its purpose and usage.
    3. Search facility should be implemented in the application to avoid more number of navigations.
    4. If there is any information which user might feel that he needs to take a print out like an article. Then provide a print option in the page itself. It should print it as a page and not as web page. Moreover it should contain the logo of the web application.
    5. Error messages should properly guide user to correct them easily. Instead of saying “please correct below fields in red”. Say what is wrong and what values are not allowed in those fields. This will help them to quickly correct their mistakes.
    6. Acknowledgement and confirmation messages should be displayed wherever required.
And last but not least…tools which help in testing them better. In my next post I will explain about the tools which can be used for testing the design of a web application. So tester’s just feel happy and excited whenever you are given a job of testing the design. It just needs tools and bit of creativity also.


2 comments:

Jony Gibson said...

I must say, I think you nailed the core issues. this particular article could be a big help to be able to anybody who belly to see this. Thanks with regard to sharing your thoughts.
Usability Testing Tool

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