FIVE food and drink businesses were given a day of free testing and advice to test the usability of their websites.

They were picked for a usability testing clinic run by the Bournemouth-based user experience design company Experience UX.

It was run in association with Dorset Growth Hub and Dorset Food & Drink, which will share the results of the research with its members.

The small and medium sized enterprises chosen to take part were Dorset Chilli Shop, Morrish and & Banham, From Dorset With Love, Capreolus and Primrose Kitchen. All had the chance to watch people using their website alongside a team from Experience UX, who gathered evidence to report back to the group the following.

The aim was to identify the 10 main issues the five companies faced and provide them with a plan for fixing them.

Ali Carmichael, co-founder of Experience UX, said “ We have spent over a decade working with big corporates and household brands and what we have discovered is that most e-commerce businesses have identical needs: to give their customers a great online experience that converts into sales.

“The team here are really excited to be working with Dorset Growth Hub and the selected companies on this Dorset Food & Drink project as we are passionate about sharing our knowledge. We are confident that the results of this usability testing will change the way these five businesses see their e-commerce, open their eyes to new possibilities and provide the necessary tools to boost growth. ”

Richard Burn from Dorset Growth Hub said: “ We had great response from the call out to take part in this usability testing project. We shortlisted 15 companies and from that identified those whom we felt would benefit the most from this clinic.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these SMEs to work with Experience UX, who are experts in this field and who are donating their time for nothing. The findings from the research will also be shared with Dorset Food and Drink to pass on to their members. “

The event took place at Steele Raymond Solicitors in Richmond Hill, Bournemouth.

Experience UX, based at Poole Hill, was founded in 2007 by Ali Carmichael and Damian Rees, who believed companies should be doing more to understand their users’ needs before designing digital products and services.

They have worked with clients such as the Body Shop, LV= and the Open University.