It is so natural! The user won’t be able to visit the page if he does not find a link or a menu. And he won’t be able to make an order if he does not find the “Buy” button or get confused in the process of purchase.
Remember yourself being not able to find your way somewhere without a map? Or losing a necessary product on the countless shelves of hypermarkets. Users feel the same when they arrive on inconvenient websites. or even worse, because each site is like a new world for them.
The methods described below will help you run usability-audit independently and understand how comfortable your users feel on your website. Guide and support users all the way through the site and they will surely get to the targeted actions.
1) Heat map analysis
Viewing the heat maps will show you what elements the users interact with. As there are not many actions for work on the Internet: click, scroll and text input. Heat maps will show only clicks on the pages and links.
Thus, you can make conclusions about obscurity or unattractiveness of some elements. Or, vice versa, find button clicks and links attractive for the users. Viewing heat maps of key pages, page by page, will help you place accents on the users’ way to the target.
2) Viewing video of visits
Video of visits is a perfect and, which is more important, unobtrusive means to monitor people’s behavior on the site. They will show you how the site is actually used: how the users come and if they really understand the purpose of the site.
Emphasize on the traffic section you are interested in. For example, how people having come from Google AdWords ad or having done some targeted actions behave. While viewing it focus on key pages. Then distinguish typical behavior of the users and optimize the ways to targeted actions for each type of behavior. Yandex Metrica, for example allows this functionality.
3) Form analysis
Most of users don’t like to fill in the forms. Especially, if the forms are big and the reason to fill them is not obvious. So analysis of the forms is one of the crucial aspects for easy usage of the site. How many fields of the form should be filled? Is all the required data necessary? The analysis of the forms will give the answers to these questions. Having learned the data, think of the way to improve them on the site.
4) Usability testing
The best way to find out what the users expect from the site is usability testing. This method, already proven, is extremely simple in theory. Choose several target users of the site. Then monitor their behavior on the site. But don’t forget to talk to them: ask their impressions, ask where their attention is focused, what elements attract them, if they understand the content of the site. Ask as many questions as you can, monitor and note, but by no means you should prompt with any suggestions or interfere in the course of testing. The best way would be if you ask a person “from outside” to test.
This method will help you understand what a user of the site feels and thinks. It will tell and show you what the users really need: what the site lacks or what should be changed on it. You will only have to choose the most important things from the collected material, consider the users experience and make changes on the site.