Recently we provided some tips on successfully launching a Magento Ecommerce site. Regardless of what type of website your are building, there really is no better way to prepare for launch than allowing real users to interact with the site. User testing is an excellent way to find all the bugs you may have overlooked before your live customers discover them.
Why user testing?
One of the drawbacks of developing a site is that you eventually lose perspective. You know the site so intimately and are so immersed in the trees that you forget to see the forest itself. For example, you may have a WordPress LearnDash site where users create accounts, go through courseware, take tests, and then purchase subscriptions upon completion. During the development of the site you are so accustomed to the processes that you no longer think about them. Seeing that everything is working correctly, you launch the site to the public. Within hours you receive hundreds of emails from users wondering where they purchase subscriptions. It suddenly occurs to you that nowhere have you provided any instructions on how to do so! Your evening is spent in panic of setting up this important part of the site while writing hundreds of emails, causing embarrassment and a lot of stress.
Fortunately, this scenario could have been avoided by enlisting some users to test the site in advance. Ideally these people would have had nothing to do with the website creation at all. These fresh sets of eyes are able to see the site as the general public would, without any prior knowledge as to how it works or where things are. More than likely within minutes the aforementioned oversight would have been spotted, and the fix made well in advance of a general launch.
How to set up user testing
While there are paid services for user testing, there is really no substitute for having a representative sample of the likely user base test the site. Do you have a Mailchimp mailing list for your Magento Ecommerce business? Perhaps you can offer an incentive like a 20% off coupon for any current customers willing to spend 20 minutes using the new development site and providing feedback. If nothing else enlist friends, relatives, roommates, or anybody else that would provide honest and useful feedback. The issues they find now could save a lot of stress on launch day.