Website user testing tips for success

Considering website user testing? It can be easy AND inexpensive.


businesswoman is working with tablet pc and businessman is writing a document

Website user testing – or “Awesome Data Collection” as I like to call it – is one of the most surefire ways to make educated guesses about how users will interact with and respond to your website or app. If done correctly, you’ll learn what’s important to users and why it’s important to them. Since you’ll be able to observe their behavior in a neutral, non-biased setting, you can successfully create experiences that make your users feel smart and confident.

But…isn’t it expensive?

Not at all. There are many ways to test users successfully without breaking the bank. You only need 3–5 users for each round of testing, and the incentives can be small. If you ask users for just 20 minutes of their time, you can reward them with:

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  • A cup of coffee (sit in Starbucks for a few hours and offer to pay for their next cup)
  • A $25 gift card (I’ve had a lot of success with Amazon)
  • A discount on your product or service

It seems pretty difficult, no?

User testing is easy and fun. All you need is your website or app, and a recording device to begin.

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything designed yet: you can use sketches, wireframes, or paper prototypes instead. Let users know that you are testing your website and not them, so they shouldn’t worry about making mistakes or offending you.

Give them a task (i.e. “Purchase X product” or “Find Y Information”) and tell them to think aloud as they complete that task. All you have to do is watch what they do and listen to what they say. Be careful not to ask leading questions or yes/no answers, since users may tell you what they think you want to hear.

Once you’re finished, take the recording back to your team and analyze what you observed. Note where users got stuck, if/when they got frustrated, and what types of questions they asked; this will show you what is and isn’t working, and you can make changes accordingly.

Still not convinced?

Check out this starter video for beginners:

About the author

Michelle Israel is a UX, Product, and Graphic Designer with experience in luxury, CPG, and insurance markets. Having worked for clients such as Colgate-Palmolive and Make Up For Ever, she’s developed skills that have allowed her to thrive in agency, in-house, and start up environments. Her work has been featured in Times Square, Vanity Fair, Target, Walmart, Sephora stores across North, South, and Central America, and of course, the World Wide Web. She is currently the Creative Director of Eagerto, a professional liability insurance platform and community for freelancers.

She can be reached at


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