Usability testing

Usability (user) testing is an invaluable tool for measuring how well people can use your website.



Usability testing involves watching people trying to use your website. A scenario is presented to the user and they attempt to perform a list of tasks within that scenario, while observers watch and take notes (or record the test).


When designing or working on a website it is easy to become overly familiar with it, and therefore make too many assumptions. By testing your site, with targeted users, you can often uncover obvious problems as well as more subtle issues.


Usability testing can be as simple as sitting behind somebody trying to perform a task on your website, or as sophisticated as using eye-tracking software.

The steps to setting up a usability test are to

  • identify the part of the site you want to test.
  • write a scenario and list of tasks based around your main target audience for that part of your site.
  • recruit testers - preferably people from or close to your main target audience, and preferably people with little or no experience of your website.
  • brief the users on the scenario and the task you wish them to perform.
  • watch what happens, without interfering.

The main piece of software which has been used to record the sessions during the University Website Project has been OBS Studio. OBS records the screen as well as audio, so getting testers to explain their decisions helps for when you need to review the footage.

Net promoter score

As part of the user testing for UWP, we have been asking users for a Net Promoter Score.

The Net Promoter Score is calculated based on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?

The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale. Based on the rating, users are categorised into one of three user types.


If a user scores 9-10 they are considered a promoter. They are likely to be positive about the site and promote it to other users.


Rating the website 0-6 categorises users as detractors. They are generally more negative about the site, and far less likely to recommend to other users.


Passives rate the site 7-8. They often have conflicting experiences about the site.

Get in touch

If you have CMS questions or are stuck then get in touch and we'll do our best to help.