How Usability Tests Improve your WordPress Site

I hate it when I waste my time doing the same tasks over and over again. That's why we created Nelio Content, so neither you or I get stuck with boring stuff! Check it out!

Usability testing—the process of evaluating a site’s usability by letting real people try it—has been around for decades. Initially, it was so expensive and complex that only big companies could afford it. Now the thing has totally changed. Everybody with a limited budget can get a usability test of a WordPress site (it can even be free!). Let’s explore a little bit the possible WordPress usability tests we can use on our sites.

One of the most important aspects in web design and development is usability. Having an easy-to-use WordPress-based site is a synonym of greater sells and bigger impact in SEO and social sharing of our contents. Any marketer and website administrator need to know how their audience behave when accessing their sites. This may seem difficult, because knowing about our visitors is indeed a major problem for everybody (even for me and the people here at Nelio). However, there are several tools that allow us today—in a quick and easy way—to discover the problems our users may face everyday when navigating through our WordPress site.

Any marketer and website administrator needs to know how their audience behaves when accessing their sites. Fortunately, this problem can be easily addressed with the help of a bunch of amazing tools.

I got curious about the usability performance of our sites, so I tried a bunch of tools that help you understand how good (or bad) your websites are… With little to no effort, I’ve been able to understand a little bit more about our visitors and increase the conversion rate of our WordPress sites. Here’s what I learned through the process, and here is how you can get similar results:

Lesson #1 – Getting Usability Reviews from Real Users is Easier than Ever

Have you ever wondered what your users are thinking about when navigating through your site? Are they happy with the experience? Or do they hate your website? That’s an important question to ask. An most important to the question is its answer and how to get it. Fortunately, today we are able to get real reviews from users that access our site and tell us their opinion about it. Let me show you a few tools I recommend you to try right now.

Peek by UserTesting

This tool is awesome. It allows you to see and hear a 5-minute video of a real person using your site or app.
It’s super fast and totally free. I’ve been using it a lot, and every time I obtain a review I discover something interesting that I take into account in my testing process. Some of the ideas I test in my WordPress sites are gathered from the reviews and comments we received from Peek. The guys at UserTesting did a great work here.

Try My UI

This tool goes a step further. It offers the possibility to indicate which are the actions you want the users to perform in your site. Within hours, they show you a narrated video of each user navigating your website.
You see their screen, mouse movements, and keystrokes, and you hear them say everything they’re thinking. Finally, you get written answers to your questions. As easy as pie! And more important, you can try the service for free. Another chance to see if what you have constructed is what your visitors are expecting from you site.


If you want to know what your customers are doing but don’t want them to realize about the fact they’re being “tracked”, you can try GhostRec. You’ll be able to record real visitors surfing your website and learn how design problems make your visitors leave in frustration. And, by the way, for those of you with low budgets, they allow 100 page view recordings every month for free. Worth a try!

Lesson #2 – Heatmaps are Perfect to See the Big Picture

By using the previous tools you obtain reviews from a small amount of your visitors (unless you pay more). Heatmaps provide you with the possibility of seeing the aggregated data from all your visitors of your site. Heatmaps results can teach us a lot about visitors’ behavior.

Fragment of a Heatmap
Fragment of a Heatmap. Another easy and useful WordPress usability test.

Nelio A/B Testing easily allows you to get the heatmaps of your WordPress site and see what is happening. That’s also another kind of WordPress usability test. Heatmaps can lead to insights you can’t find using other methods, which can greatly increase your conversion rate. If you never got a heatmap of your site, you need to start now. Heatmaps are really wonderful!

Lesson #3 – Validate the Changes with A/B Testing

We are almost ready. We’ve got the usability results and started creating hypothesis of what should be changed and what should be improved in our WordPress site. Thus, we have some ideas to put in practice. Now what? Are we done?

Of course, not. We cannot do the changes and be sure that they will improve the performance and usability of our site until we compare them to our current site. We must test them! Otherwise, we may be introducing changes that could decrease the conversion rate of our site… and believe me when I tell you, you don’t want this to happen!

Creating A/B experiments to see which version of your WordPress posts and pages is better (based on real data from your visitors, not opinions) is easier than ever. And without leaving your WordPress Dashboard nor requiring external and complicated tools. Nelio A/B Testing for WordPress allows you to try the changes you have in mind for free in your WordPress site during two weeks—which is enough to get some first good results for almost every site.


Thinking about what you should do to increase the usability and, therefore, the conversion rate of your WordPress site is not enough.

You may not have the time to use all the suggestions I outlined in this post, but I can assure you that they are worth it, and the required time is minimum. By making simple tweaks to your WordPress site, you can quickly increase the number of visitors that are happier when visiting your site. And it means more sells!

How else can you increase your WordPress usability?


Antonio obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UPC. He has several publications in the field of data mining and information retrieval applied to conceptual modeling and health informatics. He specialized in the design, development, and integration of web services and cloud applications. He's an active contributor to the WordPress community and participates in meetups, seminars and WordCamps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *