If so, happily, this kind of spying is perfectly legal.
Although opening your website up to critique may be painful, it’s better than a website that doesn’t provide what your visitors are looking for, as so cleverly illustrated by Randall Munroe at XKCD:
Even if you’re a small business, user testing is an important tool to help you figure out what’s working –and what’s not working– with your site. Heck, we design websites for a living and even though we know a lot about it, we still had our own site tested.
By watching people navigate around your site (people who are completely unaffiliated with it) you’ll be able to answer questions like:
- Within the first 15 seconds, do users understand what our company does and our product or service can benefit them?
- Can they quickly navigate to an area that has information specific to them?
- Do they engage with your site?
- Is it easy for them to contact you for more information?
The good news is it doesn’t have to cost you a lot–there are several reasonably-priced online resources. Here are a few of them:
- Crazyegg - monthly service that shows a “heat map” of where people click on your site.
- FeedbackArmy – for only $20, you submit questions about your site and get 10 written responses.
- UserTesting.com – provides a video of how the user navigated through the site, as well as written responses.
- TryMyUI - this is the one that we used, and they provide the first one free. (If you’d like to see what our test looked like, just email us.)