Is it Okay to Pay People to Test Your Website’s Usability?

We’ve heard conversations about the need to transform into data-driven businesses and adopt scientific decision-making in our workplaces.

No wonder more and more companies are carrying out website tests, including A/B and MVT (multivariate) tests. But these are not the only techniques of testing an ecommerce business, and user experience designers can rely on.

Because these user experience feedback techniques depend on large bits of data to produce desirable results, companies that lack these are disadvantaged.

Plus, having data alone is not enough; knowing how to make the most of this data is the real advantage.

No doubt, the increase in dependencies on piles of data and the up-and-coming sector of data science has promised most companies more opportunities from the insights we could draw from them.

But for startups or micro-business without access to the kind of user data, we are referring to, or without the knowledge on how to interpret customer data, it surely makes more sense to hire some experts to test the user-friendliness of your website.

But how do you tell when it is a good idea to pay people to help you gauge the user experience factors of your site for you?

Begin by Usability Testing

Businesses are not just paying any stranger on the street to navigate their website for half an hour or so and rate their experience on a particular scale—they are carrying out usability testing.

In essence, Usability testing gauges how difficult or easy it is to use a tool or product where the product is an ecommerce site, and you’re looking to better to its user experience. This is possible if you collect feedback from a group of like-minded individuals who have navigated your online premise and make the appropriate changes.

You can collect user experience feedback by observing behavior through methods like asking direct questions, using heatmap reports, or recording a user in action. If possible, use a balance of both.

What Are Your Checking for In Usability Testing

These kinds of tests may vary depending on the approach you go with, but most of the time they look to see:

  • How faster a user learns how to navigate and get what they want on your website.
  • How memorable is your website to a user
  • How smooth and efficient is the flow of processes in your site?
  • How many mistakes users make in their attempts to figure out how to perform specific functions

The Benefits of Testing and Improving UX 

A better UX will expand your bottom line, and usability testing can lead to this improvement. It is one way to begin concentrating on the concerns of the people visiting your website in a move to make the most of every contact.

The experience is mutual. How did you feel when you visited a website that was messed up in almost every aspect; poor organization, error pages, difficulties in locating the most basic features? Well, the whole experience is frustrating.

And the truth is, it was not very long before you abandoned it for a similar site that was much friendlier and easier to navigate and use.

Desirable UX reduces the abandonment rates and leads to more page views, more prolonged periods spent on a page, and in the end, more sales and more money.

But beyond the apparent business benefits of a user-friendly ecommerce site, good UX takes care of your customers’ needs by putting them first.

No visitor or would-be buyer like being frustrated, and because they are your number one priority in business, you must go the extra mile to ensure your customers have the best possible user experience.

Usability Testing Techniques

When looking to improve your user experience factors, you have several options on the table. Discover the different approaches to use in seeking user experience feedback.

Hallway Testing

In the hallway approach, normal people without experience in the internal dealings of an ecommerce site are brought to a lab and asked to use a site in the presence of a trained observer who takes note of every important action including the difficulties and frustrations the subjects face using the website.

Hallway testing can be very costly and time-consuming because only a few test observers usually are present at a particular.

Though effective, this attesting method has lost popularity over time.

Remote Testing

Remote testing involves subjects participating in a video conference with an experienced test observer who instructs them to perform certain functions or conduct specific tasks on site. Sometimes the subjects carry out these tests on their own depending on the instructions of the company.

For the second case (in the absence of a test observer) businesses usually need the subjects to record the goings on of their screens and narrate their experience on the website. Sometimes these tests involve participants responding to some questions after the test sitting.

Remote testing is the most popular method to carry out usability testing at present.

Paper Prototype Testing

In this approach, the subjects are given paper prototypes of a website to test in place of the real website.

A typical prototype consists of hand-drawn or printed cut-out papers that subjects move around to imitate the real working of a website.

This testing method works best for websites still in their early design stages, but user experience experts use it throughout the design phases.

Questionnaires & Interviews

Though we can’t compare this approach to having someone actually take the test, interviews, and questionnaires are still an excellent way to gain valuable insights to improve your user experience factors.

Interviews are great because they are flexible and can help you get different angles. And questionnaires, though rigid, can be used to obtain structured data.

When Should a Website Spend on Usability Testing

The truth is; usability testing works best when you have people to conduct your tests, but it is almost impossible to get anyone to do your tests if you are not paying them to.

So when is it wise to invest in User experience feedback?

Website Traffic & Timeline

It makes more sense to carry out UX testing when you are experiencing a lot of traffic to your site or to certain pages you wish to test.

This is because most of the approaches to testing require enough traffic if you are going to gain valuable insights.

And while tests like MTV and A/B can run as long as you wish, you can reduce spending by checking for results as early as in a few hours or days.

Usability testing is best when looking to scale a site or a page in the shortest time possible.


Depending on the needs of a website, it might cheaper to get several A/B tests for a fixed per-month price than to pay a variable amount for every usability test you carry out.

On the other hand, if you don’t receive enough traffic to support A/B tests, then you will need to launch campaigns to drive traffic to your website to ensure the testing is effective. But you can also choose to turn straight to usability testing depending on your goals.