Of course usability experts will find holes in your website, it’s their job. Asking for user experience advice from web developers or designers is like asking your barber if you need a haircut; there is either financial or egotistical motivation for them to pick apart your designs and build, even if your actual customers see nothing wrong and are able to use the site just fine. We’ve dealt with this issue a lot at Interact, asking web designers to give us feedback always leads to lists of ‘fixes’ that need to be done. This is not an article degrading web developers, but rather what we did to get design feedback from our real customers rather than other usability professionals.
- Mechanical Turk: This seems to be one of Amazon’s best kept secrets. Create tasks for people to perform, such as creating an account on your site or using your tool, and pay per completion of that task. Then real people from specific locations you choose will complete the task and provide unbiased feedback. Mechanical turk limits you to certain categories by default, but there is an option to create a custom task, just be sure to clearly outline what you want done or your ‘turkers’ will be confused.
- CrazyEgg: Wouldn’t you like to know where people look and click on your website? Crazyegg provides a complete snapshot of your website including where people click the most. Their heatmaps are extremely useful for understanding what areas of your site need improvement. For example, a previous version of Interact had a ridiculous number of clicks on the “How it Works” page, which turned out to mean that our quiz building tool was much too complicated and needed to be simpler for visitors to understand it. Heatmaps can point out nuances like this that would otherwise just be confusing google analytics numbers.
- Unbounce + Facebook Ads: Create a number of landing page revisions using unbounce, then purchase small amounts of low cpc facebook ads for them. (Facebook ads because you can find low cpc’s and your campaigns can be up and running in a few minutes). This is a quick and cheap way to test several revisions of a page in minutes with minimal investment.
Conclusion: Don’t ask a web developer if your website needs help. Go straight to the people who really matter, the ones who are using your site or would be interested in using your site. We’ve used mechanical turk, crazyegg and unbounce for Interact and while it’s still not perfect, the usability has drastically improved using these tools.