The folks at let me used their service and had this blog tested for its usability. I plan on redesigning soon and I figured this is a good time to get feedback from various sources on how I plan to move forward.

The sign-up form goes directly to the usability test set-up where I’m supposed to put in the URL of the site I want to get evaluated, as well as the information for the evaluators. At this point, you should already have an idea what you want the users to accomplish and I think it takes a great deal of time to come up with a relevant list.

For my test, I chose this blog and I used this scenario:

Look at the site for five seconds. Then look away and answer these two questions (without peeking!): (1) What do you remember? (2) What do you think the site is about?

– Try to find a blog post that’s right for you.

– After you’ve found it, read the content.

– Did you find what you were looking for?

– If this wasn’t a test, would you share the blog to your friends via your blog or facebook account?

– If this wasn’t a test, would you click on the ads?

– Try read the 10 most recent posts. What do you think of the writing style and content?

– Evaluate the design of the blog. Is it appropriate? What would you like to see more of?

Moreover, you also have to define your site’s target audience. In my case, I targeted a young demographic that specified that the testers must have Facebook and owns a blog. For this review, I was allowed to have two people to test my blog.

After a few hours, I got my test results. They came in two formats: the narrative that contains the summary of the findings of the usability evaluator and a video of the evaluation session.

As for the the results, I’m wasn’t too happy with the narratives as one was very curt and only the other one was helpful. The “thinking aloud” videos had more insight and I appreciated them more. Here’s one of the videos of the usability tests:

As you can see, it was pretty helpful and I now some idea on how to go about in redesigning my blog.

For a price of $58, the usability test and the results from were pretty OK, and I think the value is in the feedback, the video and the insights from people you don’t know. And remember, simple usability testing beats zero usability testing all the time. 🙂