I love this idea. I will definitely have someone do this with the redesign of Untrained Housewife next time I connect with a friend offline. The challenge for day 17 of Build a Better Blog in 31 Days (affiliate link) revolves around assessing the user-friendliness of your site through a new visitor’s eyes.
Send your friend, or stranger that you’re holding at gun point in Starbucks and have forced to do this exercise for you, to your site. Let them wander around for a few minutes IN SILENCE (that means you don’t say anything to them.)
While they are surfing through the site – take notes. Where are they clicking? What areas have they skipped? Which features seem to attract their attention?
Once they finish surfing, spend about five-ten minutes chatting about their experience. What was their overall feeling? What did they like/dislike? Easy to navigate? What suggestions do they have for improving the user experience?
It would be most helpful to have people of various web-savvy-ness do this I think. Ask someone who isn’t very technical to visit your site. Ask someone who has a lot of tech-savvy. And maybe someone who falls in the middle a little more.