Is Social Website Reviewing the New Usability Testing?

Have you ever built a website and wondered if it would be accepted with praise by your users? Have you stumbled across a specific element and had second-thoughts as to whether or not it would convert? We have all come across this issue at one point or another after we built a website. Now, the normal thing to do would to run your site through a usability test. Well…umm…what if you aren’t experienced in usability testing? Do you have the time to do this? Your budget might be low as well. These are crucial problems that don’t just haunt you…I’m totally with you!

When created my last website, I remember bugging the hell out of my friends to get their insight and any critique that could improve the look and feel of it. Yea, that seemed to be the best method at the time…but not so efficient as it took me a while to get a hold of all of my contacts. There must be a better solution for a quick, objective review, no? Yes, there is.

I’m always excited to stumble upon new technologies that make my life easier, especially when it comes to my job. I recently came across a great product that deals with usability of websites – Criticue.

Criticue.com is a feedback exchange site that provides a fast way to exchange critique and brainstorm your web designs with a community of web designers, entrepreneurs and usability experts.
It’s a fair one-for-one exchange; for one site you review, you get one review of your own website. The more you post, the more feedback you receive.
What differs it from the existing review sites? Criticue.com focuses on first impressions allowing you to make fast, incremental changes to your site based on received feedback. It’s also free, friction-less and requires no signup.
I enjoy this product because of the streamlined community of entrepreneurs, usability experts, and web designers. This group of people is truly interested in getting your input about their site as well, in return, so, the review of your website will be pretty concise.
I appreciate the flat and simple interface of the product – it is easy to use and clear, which allows you to stay focused on the website you are critiquing in the platform.
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A detailed account page allows you to see all of the reviews you have submitted and received, along with an inbox of communication you’ve had with other website owners.
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There is nothing difficult and overwhelming about the product, which I like. You don’t have to think to much and it is relatively intuitive – always appreciated.
A minor tweak I would introduce would be to create a more clear separation of the review area in the platform versus the web page displayed below it. Other than that, a strong product which allows me to feel comfortable sharing my website for critique as well as socializing with other individuals sharing my same interest and issue.
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