Usability Testing: Grandma Knows Best

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Blog | No Comments
Usability Testing: Grandma Knows Best

At Trifunk, we design websites and then pass them through an incredibly sophisticated, high-tech usability testing process we refer to as “The Grandmother Test”.

You might laugh, but some websites are absolutely stunning to look at, with cool graphics and all kinds of fancy design techniques, but they are completely useless when it comes to usability. I’m sure you’ve been to websites like this and I’m sure that they were annoying.

We test the functionality of a website based on whether or not our grandmothers would feel comfortable navigating the site and whether they could do so without help and without frustration. If a website passes this usability test, we know that someone visiting the site won’t be distracted by a confusing layout or be unable to find what they’ve come looking for.

The most beautiful and complex website is utterly useless if no one can use it.

Contrary to what we’ve implied, we don’t employ our grandmothers to sift through the websites we design and tell us whether they’re easy to use. The Grandmother Test takes into account…

5 Usability Questions You Should Always Ask

  1. How well can someone use the website as soon as they see it? 
  2. Are they able to perform basic tasks efficiently or do they need to spend time searching around? 
  3. Do they remember how to use the site when they haven’t been on it for a while? 
  4. When they’re using the website, do they make mistakes and have a hard time figuring out how to get where they’re going? 
  5. Does the user like using the website?

 “On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or otherwise spending much time trying to figure out an interface. There are plenty of other websites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty.” – Nielsen Norman Group


Is your website easy to use? If you’re concerned that your visitors are frustrated when visiting your site, get in touch. We would be happy to evaluate your usability!


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