“Usability testing shows you if something is usable. Beta testing shows you if people will actually use it.” – Rachel Decker
Are you planning on building a new website? And, is this site’s primary end-goal to drive up your sales figures? What about user interface and user experience design?
How important is it to spend time and money ensuring that your website provides a great user experience? Do you need to employ a user testing service to make sure that your website is optimised for customer conversion?
These are just a few of the many questions that need to be asked and answered when considering how your website must drive current and future marketing strategies.
Usability and beta testing
At the outset, it is easy to assume that both usability testing and user testing as the same. It’s just a case of semantics. However, this statement could not be further from the truth. The quotation mentioned above by Rachel Decker touches on the fundamental difference between usability testing and (end) user (or beta) testing.
However, before we consider whether both usability testing and beta testing are essential cogs in the website development lifecycle, let’s look at what each element comprises and what their primary function is:
Simply stated, usability testing determines whether a website is usable or not. In other words, how easy is it to respond to the call-to-action? This form of testing also occurs during the design phase.
For this article, let’s assume that you own an eCommerce store, and you are designing a new website. The site’s established goal is to convince visitors to your site to purchase the products offered for sale. Therefore, the call to action will be to buy one or more products.
Thus, one of the questions that should be asked is how easy is it to navigate around the site to and follow the steps required to pick a product, add it to the shopping cart, check out, enter a delivery address, and pay for the goods?
Usability testing answers these questions. If users find your website challenging and unintuitive, they won’t follow the process from picking a product to paying for it. Ergo, an unsatisfactory user experience will cost your company sales. A great user experience will increase your sales figures.
End-user testing is also known as user-acceptance testing and beta testing. This form of testing occurs after the product has been developed and tested internally by a website development company like the agency found at the Polished Pixels website.
There is no doubt that end-user testing is similar to usability testing. However, real-world clients test the site during this phase. Use test cases are drawn up and each component, as well as all the end-to-end processes, are tested by representatives of the site’s target audience.
Final words: Is there a place for both end-user testing and usability testing?
In summary, both beta-testing and usability testing are crucial parts of the website design and development life cycle. By cutting one or both of these elements out during the website design, development, and testing phases, you run the risk of a poorly designed website that users cannot use to answer the one (or more) calls to action.
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