So, I used the site you mentioned in your column this week, Peek User Testing, on DerekHouck.com. Here’s the feedback video.

I’ll be honest: It’s pretty terrifying listening to a complete stranger who’s not in the industry give their first impressions of my site.

It’s pretty brutal at points. But he does make some good observations. I need to update the background pic. I also need to disable the link in my name on the main page. I should seriously consider moving the social media links to the header rather than the footer.

He also makes some comments that aren’t necessarily good advice, but they give me a lot of info. He says the site doesn’t look “professional,” but he says it does seem to jive with the type of movies I’m in. I think I’m okay with that. It sounds to me like a really roundabout way of saying it’s on-brand.

It wasn’t apparent to him that I was an actor, and for a long time he thought it was a fan site, but that seems to speak more towards him having no connection to the industry. The first things he clicked on, (after doing an infinite loop with my name) were my reel and resumé. I’m marking that down as a win.

Overall, this mostly confirmed my assumptions about the site, but that confirmation is very helpful.

If you decide to do this, be aware that you may get someone who knows NOTHING about the industry, so make sure what they’re saying is relevant to your intended audience and your career goals. But for the low price of free, this is a very valuable service.

PS — I did do some updates to my site in response to the feedback I got from the testing. Maybe your readers can watch the Peek vid and my site as it exists today in some kind of before/after comparison?

I pretty much consider these updates the coding equivalent of Botox. A little nip here, a little flattening there, just a little freshening up to keep up with the times.

Derek, thank you for this. I love that you not only checked out this free resource I shared but that you were so open as to share what you learned (and changed) due to the experience with the rest of the actors out there (many of whom may not understand the value that such a review could have). I *knew* this would be a fun tool for you! Totally on-brand. 😉

Like everyone in the entertainment industry who uses Peek, we had a bumpy ride with our tester even understanding the purpose of our site (we had them review our store — old version; this was months ago, and we have since undergone a redesign) but figured, “Hey, if this guy can’t tell he just left our store and went to my Actors Access column (yes, that happened), we need better keep-’em-on-our-site navigation and definitely a more compelling way to invite folks to purchase something.”

It’s easy to say, “Well, someone in the industry would *know* what this is about,” but when one of my Twitter followers said (after last week’s column went live) that her site was reviewed as if it were an online dating profile, she realized she needed to make some pretty specific changes.

Another of the topics I’ve seen come up in our convos at the SMFA Facebook group on this issue are about the reviewer *not* clicking around much. Keep in mind, this is a free service by a company that offers paid services. Think about it. Clicking around may be reserved for paying clients, and, of course, with the paid service, you can get a review from a member of your targeted demographic, too. Still, even if we only get one little nugget of gold from a FREE run through this user-testing tool, it’s absolutely worth the time to watch their feedback.

Again, this is not about constantly zigzagging in an attempt to “be what THEY want us to be,” but instead a convo about whether or not our message is being received with the clarity WE believe exists. It may not. And checking that has value, always.


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001870.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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