How Do Visitors See Your Art Website?

by Carolyn Edlund

Is your art website completely user-friendly? Here’s a free and easy way to find out what visitors think.


Working on a computer


Taking a deep look through the website of a fellow artist can be fascinating. So many things can go wonderfully right, but things can go wrong, too. I’ve done extensive reviews of many art websites, and there are usually quite a few changes that can be made to improve the visitor experience. Sometimes information is lacking, or navigation is confusing. I’ve even looked through two websites of artists who forgot to mention their name. Oops!

Problems often stem from the fact that you know the content of your website already. And you cannot un-know it. This is the Curse of Knowledge, which means there is no way you can ever give yourself an objective viewpoint of your own art website.

I’ve given artists advice to find a stranger who has never visited their site, and offer a few bucks for a review. What did they get? What confused them? What did they like best? Did they want to learn more?


Peek is a service that helps you learn what your website visitors think. Read about it at


Enter Peek by User Testing, a free service that offers five-minute videos of users visiting your website for the first time. This allows you to see exactly what they absorb, where they click, what makes impact and what they miss. You can get up to three user tests per month without charge.

Of course, I had to check this out for myself, so I entered the ArtsyShark URL to see what happened. Yes, I did get a pretty clueless user at first, who skipped all the navigation and got completely focused on all the art images, but I found that she clicked a link that took her off site, which led to a fix. The second visitor test gave a more complete review, and they seemed to understand the purpose of the site.

Whether your art website passes user tests with flying colors or not, it’s always valuable to know what the visitor experience is, and how you may be able to improve. Of course, Peek would be happy to give you comprehensive feedback on your site and assistance through their paid plans, too.

Regardless, a free peek into how users see your art website can provide valuable information that helps you make changes, fix mistakes and improve visitor experience.


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  1. What a great idea!! I tried it and loved the whole concept.

  2. Very cool idea. I’m waiting to hear back from my tests. Thanks for sharing this service!

  3. What a great idea. I tried it and got a response within 30 minutes. I found the video of someone looking at my site very interesting and liked that I could also see the list of questions the user was being asked about the experience. Mostly I was very happy with the user’s experience, but they did point out something I’d been on the fence about changing and now I know that I will. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Well, speaking my mind here…just tested my website and was a bit thrown off by the ‘review’.
    Am not sure if there was a real person behind it or if it was a computer-generated feedback, but it sounded very clue-less about what they were seeing…
    My website is not a perfect site or even a great one (there is always room for improvement), but it really sounded a bit fake and not very helpful.
    I usually go directly to my costumers for feedback, maybe it’s a very specific audience, but their feedback is very different and MUCH more helpful.
    This was just a standard testing, so I may have not directed it in the proper way.
    I have posted the review video in my fb page at and any comments are surely welcome and appreciated.

    Carolyn, thank you for posting this, even if I find myself puzzled it surely was interesting to test!

    • Emanuela, My first reviewer seemed a bit clueless too, but I think it gives you a taste of who is out there and what they are thinking as they surf online. You can get up to 3 free user reviews each month, so I encourage you to try this again. You will most likely find that you get very different results from different users. The purpose here is to get a look at what people like, don’t like, and what they focus on. I hope you will find that helpful.

      • Carolyn,
        wanted to follow up on this interesting thread after having done another test on my website (and a competitor’s) today.
        I am glad to report a much better experience than the previous one, not because the tester’s comment were or were not ‘favorable/unfavorable’ to the site reviewed, but mainly because both the tests (by two different individuals) were much more articulated and instructive.
        I am now beginning to see the good value of this site and am learning from the comments provided in the test all the things that can definitely be improved. I am on it and have already started implementing some changes.
        Since I have tested my own site along with another with similar work as mine, I understand it to be very important to give a better idea to visitors about the kind of work showcased: in both tests the testers did not immediately understand the kind of work presented (both jewelry, but not your ‘everyday kind of jewelry’) so, apart from the technicalities of website building, the most important lesson was to give viewers an initial clear understanding/description of what the work was about.

        I will definitely run another test in a few days after I tweak a thing or two and see what first impressions from random testing produce.

        Thank you to you again for introducing this site on your blog and to all the others I have received comments and suggestions from.

        • Emanuela, I completely agree that you need more than one test to get something of value out of this exercise. That happened to me, too. And your comparison between the visitor experience on your site and a competitor’s site is another smart way to use their service. As you mentioned, it can give you an important lesson about what visitors understand and do not understand upon coming to your website. I’ll bet that each time you request another user test, you will gain some new insight!

  5. Thank you for sharing this service! I received my first review this morning. I’ve spent the last several weeks redoing my entire website. I’m a self-produced artist, not a gallery artist, so my clientele is very different. I had no idea how people would react to the new site: Asking other artists and friends always illicits really biased information so I’ve learned not to bother. This was *exactly* what I needed. My review was almost inaudible at times but he still provided a lot of great feedback. He went to my “About Me” page which I hadn’t gotten to yet. I never put my picture on it and he seemed curious as to whether I was male or female (he missed my name on the main page). One change I had recently made to the main page was to remove the fancy slider for static images. That seemed to be a good decision based on how he looked at it. I made the graphics a bit smaller after watching the video. He ended up clicking his way to my Zazzle store and was happy with what I did there too! I posted the video to my Facebook feed so my tiny amount of followers (many of whom are artists) could use the service as well.

  6. Trying this! Thank you!

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