You wouldn't blitz a major direct mail acquisition package to hundreds of thousands of prospects without testing, would you? I hope not!

Then why would you offer a website — probably your major gateway to the public (and your members) these days — without testing its effectiveness with real live users?

This article from ClickZ Network reminds us of the importance of what's called “usability testing” in the web world. We're talking about observing facial expressions, body language, keystrokes, eye-tracking, direct feedback on abandonment factors and other frustrations.

The article points to guidelines from three of the gurus in the field — Jakob Nielsen, Jared Spool and Eric Schaffer.

If you're really serious about your web investment — like spending more than $100K on web staff and operations — and you haven't put your site through usability testing, you oughta be fired. If you're lower budget, at least check out the expert websites and see what has been learned.

Tom

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