6 testing tips for effective web design

You can spend days, weeks or even months tweaking every part of your web design to perfection, but all this time is wasted if it doesn’t work in practice.

What you see when you look at your website isn’t necessarily what all other visitors see, as unexpected bugs and discrepancies can occur depending on browsers, screen sizes and device types. You may not even know about these until a disgruntled user lets you know – by which time lots of your potential customers may have clicked away.

So, what’s the solution? As any web designer will tell you, extensive testing is the only way to ensure a consistent and great quality user experience. Here are just 6 of the ways you can put your web design through its paces:

  1. Google’s new Resizer tool. This web design tool helps designers to test material design across a range of platforms, so you can spot problems before they happen rather than hoping for the best. This can be particularly useful when creating responsive designs for mobile.
  1. Use IntuitionHQ or FiveSecondTest to analyse user-friendliness. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and intuitive in its design. It might make sense to you the way you’ve designed it, but what about your users? These handy tools, as recommended by Mashable.com, can help you to measure user impressions and the usability of your website in a matter of seconds.
  1. Readability tests. You may think that your website reads well, but then you wrote the content. To ensure your website content appeals to the widest audience possible, conduct a readability test such as this simple one on Juicy Studio, which uses tried-and-tested algorithms to give each page a readability score. There are also tests you can carry out on the colours and contrasts on your website to ensure that everything is as legible as it should be.
  1. Create a sitemap. This will help you to determine whether the architecture and structure of your website makes logical sense, so it is well worth doing. You may flag up problems that you’ve missed previously, as well as having the chance to reorganise and improve things. There are tools easily found online to help you create a site map, or you can simply do it yourself.
  1. Test page loading speeds. Loading speeds are absolutely crucial to the success of a site’s design. Users will simply click away if a site takes too long to load, which it can do if images and content are too large, or there is another problem that slows everything down. Use something like Pingdom Tools or Page Speed Online to get real-time data on the loading speed of each of your web pages.
  1. Ask your friends! When all other tests have been tried, something as simple as asking friends to access your website on different platforms and devices, to see if they can spot any problems.

How extensively do you test new websites – do you carry out a full testing process before launch, or hope for the best and fix snags as they arise? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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