Test Your Website With Free Google Usability Tips

Have you ever wondered how effective your website is? In “Website User Research and Testing On The Cheap,” Google webmasters offer some help [1].

For starters, make sure the most relevant content grabs the reader’s eye in the first half of the text. According to Jakob Nielsen, readers scroll down more often than up. If visitors miss your message on the first pass down, they may not scroll back up. 

Whether you’re building or upgrading a website, it should be geared to your target audience. Points to consider: 

  • The technical expertise of your visitors
  • How knowledgeable visitors are about your content
  • How do visitors usually access your site?

When your audience is not tech-savvy, make the pages especially user-friendly. If visitors want basic information about a complex subject, make the content clear and easy-to-understand. If your visitors are on the go and need information in a hurry, omit distracting graphics and unnecessary information. 

Website Testing

Google suggests testing with a small sample of about five people. 

  • Observe your sample at home or in a relaxed environment.
  • Ask subjects to complete five simple tasks on your website that relate to what you want users to do when they visit. Encourage subjects to share their thoughts while completing these tasks.
  • Test the interactive features of your website and look at functionality. It’s great if users appreciate your bells and whistles, but being able to navigate, find information, and perform essential tasks is more important than amazing graphics.
  • If half of your sample complains about the same issue, it’s probably something that needs immediate attention.

Here’s What Google Learned

  • Scripts that expand/collapse long blocks of text, and layouts that hide/show content can make it more difficult for users to find/access the content they’re looking for.
  • Headings, button text and links get the reader’s attention while they scan. Provide a clear description of what the linked content contains rather than saying, “learn more.” Make sure the linked text can be understood out of context. Make button text catchy and inviting.
  • Check page loading speeds using a variety of connections. Simpler scripts can make connection speeds faster. If pages take too long to load, visitors will get impatient and go to another site.
Using simple user profiling techniques before you build or revamp your website can help you to develop a layout that best meets your needs and is user-friendly in the bargain.


Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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