Avatar News : Internet Marketing from a Kiwi Perspective

September 2013

Written By: Mark Rocket & Katie O’Neill
Published by: Avatar Ltd

Greetings All,

While the Emirates and Oracle America’s Cup teams battle it out on the water this month it’s the perfect time to make sure your website is on the right course and not heading for a (very near) capsize when it comes to the user experience. OK, OK, enough of the bad nautical puns… our feature article is all about how you can utilise user testing for your web design, and is accompanied by our usual selection of interesting tidbits, statistics and sites for you to peruse.

Web Design User Testing

User testing is an increasingly important component of web design that asks: is your website logical, easy and a pleasure to use? When you create a positive experience for your visitors, you encourage them to take the next step and engage with your business as well as make a repeat visit. Of course, the only way to know for sure whether your website creates a positive experience – or not – is to have it tested by actual users and to collate their feedback.

For starters, here are four key areas on a website that should be given the “human test”:

  • Navigability. How easy it is to reach the pages users are looking for?
  • Order of focus. Which parts of the page catch the eye first and where is interest lost?
  • Readability. What key information stands out on the page?
  • Accessibility. Does the website display correctly on a computer or mobile device? Is it quick to load?

As a website designer or website owner it’s easy to lose perspective on your own design. You can ask friends or clients for their thoughts, but receiving focused reviews from experienced individuals is usually better, and a number of services can do this for you.

Feedback Army. Provides a quick and easy scattergun response from a range of  user testers, and is best suited for building up a general picture. For $20 you get 10 responses, which allows you to see if certain issues are consistently noticed.

User Voice. Adds a voting system to responses, so you can see whether a suggestion or opinion is popularly shared.  Requires a monthly subscription.

UserTesting.com. Has a focus on more in-depth responses that truly analyse your website from the perspective of someone using it for the first time. The testers can be of any demographic and create a narrated video as they navigate through your site, talking about what they notice and responding to your specific questions.

You can also perform user testing yourself, particularly when you already have a reasonably good picture about which areas you have concerns about. The key to a successful user test is to set out extremely clear tasks for testers to complete, and to ask questions that gain both a broad and specific picture of important issues. If you need a little help setting up the test, there are dedicated apps and services that can do that. There are also specialist testing services designed specifically for feedback on landing pages, navigation and copy.

User testing is a great way to ensure your website is hitting the right target for visitors, and provides feedback that increases satisfaction and hopefully website conversions.

Statistic Of The Month

20 million – That’s how many Twitter accounts are in fact fake, according to data from the New York Times. Bought by businesses to hype a product or to bulk up follower numbers to make an account look more popular than it is, the most elaborate fake accounts have profile pictures, a tweeting history and friends. Twitter comes down hard on these accounts by deleting them and even suing the creators, but it can only do this if it correctly detects them.


Need a laugh? This power ballad parody about Stonehenge is a classic. Indeed, “the greatest henge of all”.

An unlucky frog. A small amphibian found itself at the wrong place at the wrong time in a spectacular way.

Everyday life hacks. These tips and tricks will make life just that little bit easier.

Having trouble quitting? Four persuasion tricks Facebook employs to discourage its users from leaving.

Lifting a shipwreck. Step-by-step images of the extraordinary process used to right the sunken Concordia.

Bing redesign. Microsoft announces the largest overhaul of their search engine to date.

Sites Of Interest

A selection of sites we’ve worked on recently in web design, WordPress setups and/or web marketing.

Mt Pleasant School
Provides quality education for primary students in and around the Christchurch eastern hill suburbs.
Connexions offers multimedia solutions for bus management and real-time passenger information.
Bex Charteris Photography
View Avatar’s slideshow portfolio page to peruse a larger selection of websites that we have designed.
Nayda Associate Consulting
A boutique management consulting firm that provides services based in Adelaide, Australia.
Tai Tapu Community Association
Providing community links, events and assistance for the Tai Tapu area in Christchurch.

Cartoon Of The Month

Reprinted With Permission

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