User Testing: A Tune-up for Your Website

June 07, 2017 Jessica DuVerneay

It’s almost officially summertime, and that has some of us here at One North thinking about glorious vacation road trips - great tunes, good friends and long beautiful drives to alluring destinations. But, with great reward comes (at least some kind of) responsibility.

Before I take off, I always take my car in to get a professional tune up - oil change, wheels rotated, fluids filled and a prioritized list from the mechanic (if anything is wrong) of things I should fix before I hit the road. This allows me to make sure my car is in optimal roadworthy condition, and gives me peace of mind so I can focus on the fun I’m going to have - not worry that my engine is going to overheat or that my “check engine” light is going to come on.

Just like a car, if your website is going to go the distance for you and your business, it needs an occasional tune-up. Ideally, websites aren’t just one-and-done projects you have to completely redo every 5 years - they are carefully crafted assets that need ongoing strategic improvement and optimization plans to remain competitive and relevant.

There are several ways to do this, and lean user testing is one method we find to be very effective at ensuring your site is in optimal running condition.

User testing is a completely bespoke research effort designed specifically for your site to answer questions you have, and answer them not with internal opinions, but with data from actual end-users of your site. User testing can be scaled to meet almost any budget and timeline, and can range from lightweight informal studies that generate quick wins to rigorous research efforts that provide quantitative data and strategic enhancement roadmaps.

When Should I Consider a User Testing Tune-up?
When is a good time for a user testing tune up on your website? Although there is never a bad time to get a tune up on your website, we do see several instances where strategic testing can add the most value.

Maybe you:

  • Redesigned your site a year or more ago, and things are going well, but you want to keep a competitive edge. 
  • You don’t have enough budget for all the enhancements you have in mind, but want to know from site users where to start in your next round of improvements. 
  • Have a hunch that a few things are wrong with the site, and you need to confirm your intuition to get budget to make these changes. 
  • Any of these sound familiar? Then it’s probably an ideal time for a user testing tune-up! 

What Can a Tune-up Do for my Site?
A user testing tune-up can help you:

  • Identify usability issues, navigation problems or awkward user flows that may have been missed by a heuristic review
  • Confirm or debunk internal stakeholder hypothesis about what is working - and what is not working - on your site
  • Establish successful existing user flows that should be protected during upcoming enhancements
  • Collect user feedback to hear their opinions and suggestions, as well as develop desired feature or content lists 

User testing can help you get the best mileage out of your website. If immediate implementation of user testing seems insurmountable in your current project or budget, try to build user testing in during a break to inform your next product iteration. To make sure your website runs like a well-oiled machine and gets you where you want to be in regards to your marketing goals, get into the habit of running regular user testing tune-ups.


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Jessica DuVerneay Manager, UX Strategy

At the time of publishing, Jessica was Manager, UX Strategy at One North.

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