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A Shopper's Review - Completing a Website Assessment Mystery Shop

As my full time job is office-based, I use websites every day, so I liked the sound of a website assessment and it is exactly what it says on the tin; companies often want to ensure that their websites are working as expected and that customers can find what they are looking for, so they want their websites assessed.

Now I do realise that a great many of you reading this might be rolling your eyes and will probably be laughing the whole way through this write up, thinking things like ‘technophobe’, however setting up my computer properly was the only challenging part - the website assessment itself was fun and easy!

To do the assignment, I needed to have a webcam and some screen recording software which simultaneously recorded me using the website as the client wanted to see my facial expressions/reactions as I was reviewing their site. I didn’t even realise such technology existed… No laughing at me!

Side note: if you do a website assessment on your phone, you can install screen recordings apps which are usually free if your phone doesn’t come with this capability built in, which they often do.

At work, we use various screen recording programmes internally, but I was directed to install any that I felt comfortable with. When getting my PC prepped and ready to go, I chatted to the team at MSL who suggested Flashback Express which is free and is really good and quick to install. I fed back to the team running the project that perhaps we should direct shoppers straight to that site as it’s really easy to use and now the link has been added to the shopper brief. As that’s the software that we’re encouraging shoppers to use, I thought I’d try out the same.

I headed to the site to download it first before starting my website assessment. It was clear what I needed to do, ‘click here to download’ it said. I clicked and nothing seemed to happen? I clicked again and still nothing happened! After some Googling, the issue as clear; user error! I needed to click on the arrow up at the top of the screen and select the item you want to download. Arrow… what arrow…. Ohhhh that arrow… doh! It was user incompetence, not even error. I’d never used anything other than Chrome on a PC and it turns out that Firefox shows pending downloads in a completely different place. You don’t know what you don’t know, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

Fortunately, the webcam I have is really simple, you just plug it into the USB port, something even I can handle! Now to test how it all works….

I was excited by this bit of kit as I have never used it before. I could get it to record me and my screen at the same time, however I couldn’t get it to pick up any sound. I went into the settings which was like me attempting to read Latin (I can’t), however it was really easy to navigate and I found a bit that said ‘sound’, winning!!! I’ve so got this 😊

I was ready to go! I whizzed through it and I felt extremely proud of myself. All I had to do was find certain things on the site within 3 clicks of the home page, review the look and feel of the site and that was that. I played it back as I wanted to make sure that it all looked and sounded as I thought it would. All looked well and I saw an option to save my recording which I did. I found that I needed to ‘export’ the recording as an MP4 (nice and easy, just like saving) as the assessment form upload button didn’t let me upload the file in its natural form as a Flashback movie.

The file was now successfully uploaded and I was done.

So, all in all it went really well once I was set up and ready to go. I do love having a good old snoop on a website, and you can earn money for doing it at the same time, what’s not to love? 😊  

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