One of the hard things about running your own website is getting any really objective feedback as to whether the design works as it should. Sure you can ask your mom, but chances are she won’t want to hurt your feelings if it’s really bad, and probably won’t be interested in giving you an in-depth overview anyway. But now there’s a free option available which works pretty well.
Peek is a new service from usertesting.com which delivers a free 5 minute video review of your website, with full audio commentary included. All you have to do is visit the site, enter in your own website URL, press Start! and wait for the link to the video to appear in your inbox.
We tried it out, and after around 3 or 4 days (oh yes, did we mention it can take a little time to arrive?) a link duly arrived in our inbox, which turned out to be a very nice lady doing a screencast of the Ferret as she navigated through it.
The review was very general, the reviewer basically answers some preset questions (we suspect that if you use the proper usertesting.com service you’ll get to set your own questions), so you’re going to get a fairly random selection of responses back, which may or may not help. But the cool thing about the service is the fact that you can watch as someone tries to navigate your site from scratch, which means you’ll see if your site has any glaring problems you may have missed when it was built.
The Peek service is obviously a marketing exercise to get more people to know about the company’s full blown paid service, so if you’re in the market for finding out why your web store doesn’t make as many sales as it should, this could be a good place to start before you fork out hard cash for a proper review.
One thing we’ll note is this whole user review thing is fine, but it won’t offer up any solutions, and the people who do the reviewing are not really ‘expert’ enough in user interfaces to give you a detailed analysis, so you’re limited to getting a generic opinion, which may or may not be good enough.
Nevertheless, considering the price, it’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do.