What are you doing?
Testing a website with REAL users is extremely useful to analyze what people are thinking and doing. In the last weeks we ran a few tests to see what people do on a clients’ website. Which functionality do they understand, which texts do they actually read, what they actually think is useful information.
We used the ’thinking out loud technique’ while they were browsing the clients website. This is always a challenge, some users are intuitively ’out loud thinkers’, they tell you everything: ’Oooh, nice picture’ ’where is this information’ ’I feel lost’ ’yay! This is what I was looking for’. While other users tell you, well, less ’*silence*’ ’*silence*’ ’*sigh*’.
Personally I think it is important to let the user feel as comfortable as possible, then they are more willing to share that they love or hate a website. But how to make them feel comfortable? Well, you would be amazed to see how much a cup of good coffee, a kanelbullar and some chit chat about the weather and other light subjects can do. It’s all in the preparation.
And sometimes, when the user is really stuck –yes you see this on their face, I help them a little bit: “what are you doing?” and “how do you feel?” are questions that can help both of us a lot. Them to actually answer to a question (and not feeling like they talk to a wall), and me to actually get something out of them. –so we see how the website is actually used.