Expert view: Testing, testing, 1. 2. 3...

Door4 managing director Leon Calverley explains why testing is crucial to validate your website design, interface and performance.

Leon CalverleySo you've got your new website designed. It's looking lovely, the content is in and it's ready to be launched...

Have you thought about whether your users can find their way around it, work out how to use the search, or explore your rich content?

It's easier just to let it sit there, and assume that all is OK - but it's not a big ask to make certain that all is as it should be!

Remember that if somebody can't use your website, they are unlikely to ever tell you.

Any problems can cost us customers and revenue - so we should think about how to resolve them. So - what options do we have?

Independent user testing

For a small fee, you can have one or more users (you can choose age, experience, location etc) perform specific tasks on your website. You see a video of their screen, with their detailed commentary.

This is fascinating insight into how users interact with your site, and makes most website owners want to reach out and help the user at the other end when they realise the sticking points that can be easily remedied!

I can't recommend this highly enough.

Mouse tracking

A small piece of code on your website anonymously tracks and aggregates mouse movements of real users over time. The mouse pointer gives a good indication of where the user is looking.

Got a problem with nobody clicking 'contact us'? Perhaps it's in a place where nobody looks.

Form analysis

Wondering why you don't receive many completed enquiry forms? This tool will show you a funnel, analysing which fields ion your form cause drop-out. This is fundamental on e-commerce check-outs and sign-up forms, and employed by most major online businesses.

Speed testing

Everybody wants webpages to load quickly. Why wouldn't they?

Sadly, slow servers and bloated code can mean that pages aren't as quick as they could be. Test such as YSlow and now even Google Analytics allow you to measure your all-important website performance.

Each of the above tests is low-cost, and can make a significant difference to the performance of your website.

Leon Calverley Managing director Door 4