Usability Tests

In this project, usability tests were conducted to determine performance, navigational concerns and overall usability factors of a platform. Usability tests are a way to observe the user interacting with an application or product. The initiative is a new hire on-boarding process, where it lives on the company intranet, and to get buy-in for a intranet re-design.

Qualitative Data

Behavioral data, also known as qualitative data, is collected and measured against the tasks performed. Measured as the time is taken to complete a task if at all, the struggles and frustrations to navigate through the site. Fourteen candidates participated in the study, nine male and five female were asked to perform defined tasks on an enterprise platform.

Written on paper was twenty-three tasks, taken from email surveys conducted previously. The participants were given forty-five minutes to complete the tasks.

Usability Testing

Recruiting

Over a two week period, the usability tests were performed. Recruiting candidates for the tests required collaboration from different groups in the organization, such as; myself as the UX Researcher, Finance; Online Services, Digital, Operations, Programming and Creative Services. Surveys allow for screening of candidates.

Equipment

The equipment used was an iMac for observing the user while navigating the interface, and a Mac Book Pro laptop to perform the tasks. Quick Time Pro was used to both screens to record their interactions and record their facial expressions/audio simultaneously. At the end of the session, the user was instructed sign out and close the lid to stop all recordings.

Delivery

Compiling the two pieces of footage together was done in Camtasia, then exported a mp4 file to show to stakeholders. Below is a video montage of three users and their experience with the usability of the site. The video is five minutes long and well worth the watch in presentations.

Screen Recording

 

Metric Categories

Ease of use

Frequency of use

Location in website

Learnability

Discovery

Look & feel

Site content

Site organization

Compiled Research Findings

Results

Combined research findings organized in a binder and PowerPoint serve as deliverables; i.e., distribution to stakeholders, as well as documentation of the current state, which also acts as a benchmarking tool. Feedback and behavioral patterns indicate that the site does not meet the needs of the users, they often felt frustrated with the site search and often confused by the placement of content. User feedback at a glance:

  • Trending not relevant to their discovery process
  • Prefer to call 4040 for help
  • Preferred less clicks
  • Preferred a list of holidays vs. Using a calendar or event page
  • Would rather send an email or IM for sharing
  • Preferred scrolling as to clicking “more” in search results
  • Confused by “my docs”
  • Preferred search over browsing
  • Searched by department
  • Preferred viewing from A-Z
  • Hard to distinguish search results
  • Confused by “expertise browser”
  • Confused by “memberships” in profiles
  • Prefer NOT to go to a new tab in the browser

0% of participants signed out successfully, leaving their private information at risk.

Takeaway

Usability testing is an important role and worth doing for any platform, no matter what stage of development you are in. It could be an entire site or just a selected area. Listening to your users and their concerns are vital in learning their perspective, behavior, patterns, expectations and overall mindset about your product.