User testing is a way to evaluate and understand how visitors interact with a website. The information provided helps you make more informed decisions about site content and the way that content in structured on the website to communicate its intended purpose. If you conduct user tests on other websites related your topic, that information helps you understand what aspects are important to consider for your own website— what you would like to repeat and avoid on your own works of digital scholarship.

First Impressions

First impressions within 60 seconds of visiting the website. 

  • What are your first thoughts? Say them out loud. (Consider what works well, what is unclear, who’s the audience) 

1. Homepage

  • Does the site clearly explain what the site is about does, and what site visitors can do here/ find?
  • Do the graphics and architecture on the page encourage users to explore deeper into the site?

2. Navigation & Information Architecture

  • Do all the navigation buttons and tabs follow a design and terminology convention?
  • Is there an obvious relationship between the navigation and the page the user is currently viewing?
  • Is the content jargon-free and do you understand it?

3. Trust & Credibility

  • Is the content free from errors?
  • Are resources properly attributed/ credited?
  • Is the information accurate?

4. Page Layout & Visualization

  • Does the color scheme work cohesively and/ or enhance the cohesion?
  • Look at the site layout. Does the user know where to focus and what is most important on the page? 
  • Are the items that are clickable obvious? 
  • Are fonts consistent? Is there a balance between white space and content? 
  • Overall is the site pleasant to look at and navigate?

5. Mobile Use & Accessibility

  • Is the site accessible from a smartphone and mobile-friendly?
  • Do you have to strain your eyes to read the text, or is the color contrast good?
  • Is there alternative text for the images, so those using screen readers or unable to load images can still understand the visual in context?
  • How is the site load time?

Explore more principles of good design with 52 Weeks of UX, where two designers Joshua Porter and Josh Brewer, write short tips & tricks about what how to achieve a well-designed website.

Works Cited: Three Five, Two, User Experience Auditing: 6 Vital Things To Evaluate Before You Drive Visitors Away” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from