Sometimes one of my kids will venture into my home office, and they’ll see a site I’m testing for a company. Lately, I’ve taken advantage of their little intrusions by using them as test participants. Informally, of course.
There’s nothing like a first impression. The feedback from someone who has never seen your website before is nearly always priceless. This is so, even if they’re not your target market.
I love working on travel sites. Perhaps it’s because while working on them, I’m also dreaming of going to their place. A site I once did for somewhere in Spain was quite fun. I spent a lot of time viewing the villas…we never call anything a “villa” where I live. It just so, exotic. Like I need to run around naked, exotic.
Today, I’m working on a travel site for a town in the USA. My son appears at my shoulder, and seeing the homepage asks, “Is that a site you’re working on?”
I replied, “Yes.” Pause. Pounce on opportunity. “What do you think it’s about?”
He looks, and has a face that tells me he’s afraid I’ve suddenly become a school teacher and this is too terribly like a test.
“It’s about somewhere near a beach. Where is it, mom?”
He looks. He keeps looking. I wonder what’s got him so flustered. So I look. I’ve BEEN looking at this site, but I’ve been working on other areas of it and hadn’t gotten to the logic of the homepage UI yet. I realize, when he does, that there is no way to know where the site’s product is located.
It doesn’t say. How can this be?
A travel destination site, with no location on its homepage. Anywhere. You have to click a link to learn where the place is.
Who says usability testing isn’t important?
Who isn’t testing with curious 12 year olds? I’ll lend you mine. He loves to mow lawns too.