If you have an interest in the methods and tools we use to find the problems that need to be fixed, a quick browse will give you the basic knowledge to get started.

These are by no means the only tools we use but they’re the ones that tend to work their way into projects on a regular basis.

Expert heuristic evaluation. Website analysis conducted by an experienced usability consultant. The intent is to quickly and cost effectively find the most concerning problems. These can then either be fixed directly or be used as a starting point for user testing.

Screen recording. Normally created during a user testing session, a video file of what is seen on screen along with the mouse cursor and indicative of where the mouse buttons were clicked. This is useful to see how a website or application is used.

Verbal protocols. Asking a person to say what they’re thinking and doing constantly as they carry out tasks on a website or application. The recorded audio file can be listened to while watching a screen recording video for additional insight.

Eye tracking. As with screen recording, this creates a video file of what a person is doing during a user testing session. In addition to that is an indication of precisely what the person is looking at, where and for how long. Ideal for working out if they “see” the menu link, information or advert!

User testing. Setting a person an expected task, such as finding and purchasing a specific item and using tools such as screen recording, verbal protocols or eye tracking to capture their efforts, allows for further more careful analysis at a later date along with the ability to compare results between people to spot trends.

Qualitative and quantitative analysis. Once all the data from a user testing session has been captured, it needs to be analysed carefully and in a way that answers the questions that led to the user testing sessions being run in the first place. These two options allow a balance of time, cost and quality of information produced.

Metrics. Knowing not just that a problem exists, but also being able to calculate how many people it is likely to affect and what the cost is to the organisation if it’s not fixed can be a powerful indicator to decide which problems need to be fixed quickly and which can wait a little longer.

Return on Investment. Finding and fixing problems on a website, application, product or space is not cheap. Being able to calculate how much additional revenue is likely to be generated, or how much staff time is likely to be saved, is a fantastic way to prove that it’s worth the initial time and cost!