What is website usability

According to Wikipedia, web usability is the ease of use of a website – not a big surprise. Many factors contribute to website usability – from a clear navigation to responsiveness and accessibility on different browsers to the ease of readability and clearly visible calls to action. As with any other so complex issue, it’s easy to overlook something. And if you do, it can cost you money.

A usable website is one of the keys to a successful online business. Web design trends change but what doesn’t change is the desire of website owners to create as good websites as possible to please their visitors and provide high conversion rates. It’s impossible to achieve without taking into account all factors contributing to website usability – people expect your website to work well, be clear to navigate, and simply pleasant to visit. Otherwise, they won’t buy anything from you.

There are hundreds of guides on improving website usability and sets of good practices, including a handful of good ones (I like this one especially: http://positionly.com/blog/inbound-marketing/website-usability). But sometimes implementing all good practices and expert tips lead to bad results – plummeting stats in Google Analytics and people complaining about their website experience. Why? Because your visitors are unique.

Their habits and taste might be different than the average. You shouldn’t be focused on satisfying the mythical average internet user – you should aim to satisfy your target group. That said, be careful if you want to reinvent the wheel to create a special website experience. It’s safer to use tested mechanisms and principles adjusted to your audience, they usually work the best.

How to check how your visitors assess the usability of your website and whether it matches their taste? Run a website usability survey to quickly find out.

What is a website usability survey?

Website usability survey is a method of collecting feedback from website visitors to assess website usability. Visitors browsing your website are presented with a small survey asking about their thoughts on website’s usability.

sample website usability survey widget

Answers will show you what elements are working well and what should be improved. To achieve the most reliable results, a website usability survey should be combined with quantitative analysis conducted with tools like Google Analytics. In GA, you can see which pages are underperforming (high exit rates, short visit duration etc.). Start with triggering a survey there to solve the most important problems. Combining qualitative and quantitative analysis will provide a holistic understanding of what is happening on your website and what visitors are doing.

Tip: you can integrate Survicate with Google Analytics to see survey responses in GA. Here’s more about our Google Analytics integration.

How website usability surveys help create better websites

What are the elements that work well and what do visitors like about your website? What problems visitors face and what causes them? What would they improve? Does the website look and work well on their devices? Website usability surveys will help you find answers to all such questions. Collected insights will help you improve the usability of your website, which translates into higher conversion rates and higher sales.

How to run a website usability survey

The best way to conduct a website usability survey is to use website surveys. You can precisely choose who and when sees them so you can personalize messages. A simple example: you can run a survey on a recently redesigned website to find out what people think of it and how they assess its usability. Sometimes it turns out that people don’t understand all novelties and are confused (a real-life example here: https://survicate.com/blog/case-study-improving-design-of-a-website/).

Also, you should consider running an exit survey on websites that report high bounce or exit rates (use Google Analytics to find them). High bounce rate often means that something there is not working as expected or visitors face problems and it causes them to leave. Start with pages the most important to your business, like a registration form or checkout. Answers will show you what causes visitors to leave. Turn those answers into changes on the website and compare results (in Google Analytics and another survey).

If you’re curious what questions to ask to get valuable insights into your website usability, take a look at this article on our blog: https://survicate.com/blog/5-usability-questions/. It presents 5 the most popular website usability questions used by Survicate clients.

Website usability survey template

Running a survey to assess website usability is not difficult. In fact, to get an overview what problems people have, you just need 3-step in a survey.

  1. Did you encounter any problem with website usability during your visit?
  2. Dead simple question. Use skip logic to show a different next step to visitors who give a different answer. Those who answer ‘No’ should see a ‘Thank you’ message and those who answer ’Yes’ should see the following question.

  3. Please describe it. You will help us improve our website.
  4. Use the text field to collect users’ stories what problems they faced. And that’s basically it. Even a few answers to this questions can greatly help you improve website usability. Just don’t forget to add the last step, a ‘Thank you’ message.

  • Thanks for your feedback!
  • You don’t need anything more to get an overview of your website usability.

    Take into account the fact that website surveys uncover not all insights that can be important to improving website usability. A great way to complete analysis of answers given to surveys is to use session recordings. They will show you on which pages users get lost and which elements don’t work as expected.

    Also, if you can consider running usability tests to find out how people who visit your website for the first time assess it and what frustrates them. Running those tests is especially valuable early when you’re still working on a website design and it’s not publically available.

    Summary

    Running website usability surveys is a no-brainer which can lead you to improve your website significantly. Paired with session recordings, usability surveys can mostly replace usability tests. What should you do now? Just choose a website survey tool if you don’t use one already and create your first survey!