You have a new website and it’s almost done. What now? This –> a 15 point checklist to test your website for the best user experience. Below I’ll walk you through everything you should look at before you call your site done and release it for the world.
There are various ways you can automate website testing, but if you have a small site, I recommend going through each page manually. Automated tests aren’t foolproof. Plus, going through your site page by page will give you a good sense of how others are seeing your site and what kind of experience they have. (Hopefully it’s a good one.)
Review the Page Content
Spelling, Grammar + Punctuation
First things first. Spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is so, so important. Typos and poor grammar make a bad impression. Do a read-though (and ask a friend to do the same) to make sure everything reads well.
Next look at the content itself. Is it appropriate for the page? Complete? Easy to understand and read? Does it answer the questions your visitor has? And it’s compelling, right? Do another read-through and make sure your page content rocks.
Images + Media
Check those images. How do they look? Too pixely? Too large? Do they have alt text? Do you have video or other media on the page? Does it work as expected?
Call to Action
Now check the CTA (call to action). There is one, right? When the user gets to the bottom of the page, are you directing them what to do next? It could be to call you, email you, fill out a contact form, sign up for your mailing list, read other content, share on social media, buy a product — anything. Make sure you have a goal for the page and that the user knows what it is (and what to do next).
Behind the scenes, how’s the meta information looking? Do you have a meta title and description set? Is your Open Graph information set correctly? (If you’re using Yoast, you can find it there.)
Is the page accessible? Accessibility is the ability to access your page (and site) and the more people who can do that, the better.
Accessible websites provide a great user experience for all users, not just people with disabilities. ptpinc.com
Is your text large enough? Is there enough contrast? Are you using your heading tags in order? These questions just scratch the surface; here’s a great checklist and you can also try WAVE (a web accessibility evaluation tool).
Check the Functionality
Now it’s time to check functionality.
Buttons + Links
Start clicking those buttons and links. Do they work? When you click, do they go to the correct place? Are links that take the visitor off-site opening in new tabs?
What about your forms? Are they collecting all of the proper information? Are they easy to fill out? Do they validate correctly? (If you’re asking for an email address and the user doesn’t put one in, does it stop them?) Most importantly, do you receive a notification when someone fills out a form? If you have a newsletter signup form, is there a double opt-in and do people get added to the correct list?
You probably use one browser all the time, but not everyone uses the same browser. How does your page look on Chrome? FireFox? Safari? Opera? Internet Explorer? Edge? Again, it’s best to check these manually, but you can also use an automated tool like Browser Shots.
You may have a desktop computer, laptop, tablet and/or a smartphone. Check your page on all the devices you have, and then have a friend check on their devices. (Don’t forget to check Apple, Microsoft and Android devices.) You can also try some of the responsive design checking tools I mentioned in a previous post.
Run the link through the Twitter card validator and the Facebook preview. Make sure the link looks good when you post it to Twitter, Facebook or text it to a friend.
If you have any additional functionality, test that too. Password protected pages, memberships, event calendars, shopping carts, product purchases, payments — everything.
Look at the Site as a Whole
Previously you were checking page by page, but now it’s time to check the entire site.
Ease of Navigation
Is the site easy to navigate overall? Does the user know where to go to find what they’re looking for? Is it intuitive?
Does the site load quickly? I like the Pingdom website speed test, but you can also check out this great comprehensive post from Andrew at Clarity Squared about improving website performance.
Think of website testing as the finishing touches of your new creation. You’re in the home stretch — finish strong! Here’s a checklist of everything we talked about above so you can test your site today. Good luck!