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Testing your website for usability

If you haven’t yet heard that your website must be responsive on all devices to have any chance of getting near the top of the search engine rankings, you may have been hiding under a rock!

It’s all very well to say that, but what if you don’t happen to have an iPad, a tablet, an iPhone, an Android phone, a desktop, a Mac and a laptop all lying around just waiting for you to check your shiny, new site?

The good news is that you don’t have to. Just pop your site URL into the handy checker from QuirkTools (http://quirktools.com/screenfly/) and you can check a wide range of devices, including various Kindles, and even set a custom size, or try the MobileTest tool (http://mobiletest.me/) which covers a few different mobiles not listed on QuirkTools.

One other brilliant tool is ready.mobi, which, if you sign up for a free account, will give you analysis, competitor comparisons and suggestions for how to improve.

All done? Well, not so much. If you want to make sure your site is as accessible and as easy to read as possible, there are some other things you can look at:

1. Browser check

As well as checking device-readiness, see how your site looks in various browsers to check everything is still where it should be and that the links work. Try Browser Sandbox (https://turbo.net/browsers) for browsers from Chrome to Safari, or if you’d like some bells and whistles in addition to browser testing, such as email optimisation, spam testing and email analytics, try the paid Litmus (https://litmus.com/).

2. Visual impairment

Certain colours in combination, such as red and green, can cause readability problems for anyone who is colour blind. Check what your site looks like for them here (http://colorfilter.wickline.org/).

Visually impaired people can still ‘see’ your site with a screen reader so test out your site with the WebbIE browser (http://www.webbie.org.uk/webbiefordesigners.htm). Download the free browser, see how your pages compare and fix them as you go.

3. Site speed

Google is using site speed as one of the indicators for site ranking so definitely test how fast your site loads, and who better to check it with than Google? Have a look at their PageSpeed Insights tool (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/), which will tell you how your site is doing out of 100 for both mobile and desktop, and tell you how to fix it. If you want metrics and reports, try GTMetrix (https://gtmetrix.com/).

Friendly Laptops by cogdogblog licensed under Creative commons 4


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