Here’s a way that you can see if your webpages are doing what you want them to do.
As the name suggests, the 5-Second Test involves showing users a single content page for a quick 5 seconds to gather their initial impressions. Five seconds may not seem like a lot of time, but users make important judgments in the first moments they visit a page. Read the article [5-Second Tests] for more details.
If you’re looking for a place to start, why not with your homepage? In just a few minutes you can see if the message you think you’re broadcasting to people is what they’re actually seeing. If not, schedule some time to make an adjustment (bigger font size? more contrast? less words?) and take another 10 minutes to retest. Better? hint: Yes.
This is even perhaps more applicable when you’re in the planning/building process. Do some 5 second tests with drawings or Photoshop mockups. Little fixes early on can save you from having to correct things that are nearly cemented in place.
You can do 5 second tests with almost anyone as your testers, but if there are absolutely no people around (or you just want to do something different) check out fivesecondtest. You can upload an image and have random people on the web give you their results. A great way to get a feel for how to conduct a test might be to make a designer happy and do a few tests.
For even more lightweight usability testing goodness, take a look at the NPYL Labs’ infomaki.