For years I have been using Google Analytics to help track and measure website results. This data is useful in seeing the statistics for monthly visitors and overall conversion rates for signing up for the newsletter, check-out, etc.  Each month I view whether website performance metrics are improving or losing ground. I can see WHAT is happening. But I have no idea WHY.

But recently I was able to use an online service,, to get live feedback from people that meet my target market profile. (There are several services and tools for usability testing as noted in this article from Mashable.)

The process was incredibly easy:

  • Create Your Test: We decided to test overall checkout and then the user experience with our membership service. (UserTesting has some great templates to write up the test in just a few minutes.)
  • Pick Target Market: We then chose testers that fit our target market.  We could have also chosen existing customers or even intercepted visitors to our website.
  • Fast Feedback: In less than 24 hours we received links to three user testing screencasts which not only tracked where the user was clicking but also captured the narration as the user explained where things were confusing, why she selected each option, her first impressions of the site, etc.
  • Incredible Insights: With just three tests (total cost $150), we saw a few issues that were significantly confusing users during checkout.  Often these confusions could never have been captured via clicks or time on page. We were also able to pinpoint what users understood and liked about our service.  This feedback has been the most valuable information we have had since the website launched a few years ago – and it was from real target customers!

To be completely honest, the truth can be a painful.  Each member of our team winced as we saw and heard the testers struggling over certain tasks. But the truth also freed us. We are able to take a fresh look at page layouts, user flow, copy and images from the perspective of a new prospect. We are able to prioritize website changes. And we are now able to let target testers be the final judges of any changes.

Do you use any services similar to Share below.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne Rossomme headshot

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing