Ask your users


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Using User Studies to guide website design and development.

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Ask your users

  1. 1. Ask Your Users Redesigning the Western site with User Studies
  2. 2. Project Overview Nov 2010 – Sept 2011
  3. 3. Quick Project History• Branding nearly finished by Marketing before we began• Nov 2010 project proposal approved• Features presented 2/11• Page Flow (Architecture) presented 5/11• Design presented 6/11; FAILS! Re-worked and presented 7/11• Site delivered 8/29/11
  4. 4. Quick Project Structure• Small volunteer committee from different areas of campus• (all volunteer design group)• One full-time implementer!• Reported to President’s Council at end of each deadline
  5. 5. Quick Drupal Summary• Drupal 7• Hosted at WWU: 2 redundant servers• 1.5M hits / month• Using Zend for caching and back- end monitoring• Integrated with Google Search Appliance• Currently building multi-domain sites for colleges/depts across campus (different Drupal 7 instance)
  6. 6. Writing the Proposal• Define Audience (extranet / marketing)• Define initial Requirements including: o Goals: create imagery for what this site is to be; why and what o Platform (Drupal) and Performance requirements o Define major content areas o Define what’s NOT included• Define Timelines & Resources o Functionality and page flow BEFORE design o How approval for each stage occurs; who-when-how• Risk Management: Create a fall-back resource o Contractor or extra human resources o More schedule time (hah!) o Create prioritized requirements – so some can be left out in a crunch • Drupal theming ended up being done by contractor
  7. 7. User StudiesAnd tools that might be useful
  8. 8. When to talk to Users
  9. 9. Participation From Our UsersDate Description ParticipantsJanuary On-line Survey to determine Tasks 7600April 1 Design concepts; Taxonomy testing 10April 8 Layout and Taxonomy testing 5April 15 Layout and Taxonomy; Card-sorting 21April 29 Draft Designs 36May 13 More Designs; Video Interviews 38May 27 Refinements of Designs; DIY design 38+July Hotspot Testing (on-line) 600+August Test environments (comments by email) 30+
  10. 10. User Testing: What makes it Successful?• Really decide what you’re testing • What do you need to know – frame it as concretely as possible• Analytically figure out how to get at the question • If it doesn’t seem to work, change the test mid-stream – guerilla testing is FAST and FLUID• Attracting attention can be hard – be bold! • Give stuff away – it doesn’t have to be expensive • Do some stuff that’s just fun – interactive and non-monitored is the best • White board magnets • Video cameras • Design-your-own page • Come back and try it a different way another time
  11. 11. User Study: On-line Survey• Question o Who are our users; What tasks are they doing• Study Format o On-line survey of all users coming through home page o Responses: 7500+ in less than a week• Tool / Cost / Strength o o free to $30/month (depends on # of respondents) o When large sample useful
  12. 12. On-line survey • Who are you? o Prospective Student o Current Faculty / Staff / Student o Alumnus or Community • What are you looking for? • Optional- provide email address.
  13. 13. Survey Results• 7700 responses• 1100 external audience• Provided an in- depth view of the primary destinations
  14. 14. Guerilla User Studies• Who to use as Subjects o Best case – find your users o Adequate – find users of similar demographics• Attracting Subjects o Give encouragement (sweets or coffee cards) o We held 5 events, alternate Fridays, under a lime green umbrella• Testing o Keep exercises short and simple o 5-8 subjects can reveal 80% of issues
  15. 15. User Study: Tasks and Taxonomy• Question o What tasks are they looking for; What do they call the tasks• Study Format o Guerilla model; one-on-one interviews o Screen mock-up provided• Tool / Cost / Strength o Paper and Recording device o Recording Pen ($79) o Good for subjective interviews
  16. 16. Tasks & Taxonomy: Method 1• Ask user to mark up each item and explain thinking o Useful o Don’t Need o Don’t Understand
  17. 17. Mock up Page
  18. 18. Livescribe Pen• Non-Obtrusive Recording• Tap on notes to replay conversation at that point• Uses special paper but you can print it yourself
  19. 19. Tasks & Taxonomy: Method 2• Card Sorting on magnetic white board o Leave some blank for write-ins o move them around o Provide pens for boxing, adding buttons etc
  20. 20. Tasks & Taxonomy: Method 2 Biggest strength: • Users enjoyed it • Drew people in to our testing station
  21. 21. Developing Page FlowBig Subjects: o Menu and Taxonomy o What Content on each page
  22. 22. User Study: Page Flow• Question o What are the tasks; how do they proceed• Study Format o On-line, let users play and comment• Tool / Cost / Strength o – online and desktop models together o free to $99/year (depends on # of pages) and $75 for desktop perpetual license (PC only) o Good for modeling and demo-ing page flow dynamically; also easy to create pages
  23. 23. Page Flow: Wireframing Tools • Not just a drawing tool: Dynamic linkingWhy we chose • Master pages (Templates) • Online for best access / also desktop for speed • Good library of web objects and graphic tools • Can also put in photos • Reasonable Price
  24. 24. User Study: Design Comments• Show concepts and designs to users early and often - take the hits early!• Menus placement and design central to success• Don’t neglect secondary pages
  25. 25. User Study: DIYusers gainappreciation for you see thingsdesign issues a different way
  26. 26. Final Design: Live Testing before Coding• Tool: o Email survey link to users o Users are divided among two designs o Users perform tasks on-line by clicking on images• Results show hot- spots of how many clicked where• 600 responses
  27. 27. Other Tools for Teams• Dropbox or other cloud storage to share files• – CMS for wiki, chat, blogs, file storage/sharing, forums, $3/mo• – During site building, provides ticketing, GIT repository, server log / notebook capability ($10/month)• OneNote (online and desktop; great notebook/pg structure)• – presentations, especially where you need excitement
  28. 28. Summary• Survey - online surveys good for gathering lots of responses• Guerilla testing good for quickly engaging the user: qualitative testing, specific task testing, functionality lists, specific questions• Hot-Spot testing good for testing visual designs before you code
  29. 29. Summary: Tools• (survey tool)• (recording pen)• (wireframing tool)• (hot-spot tool)• Team tools: dropbox,,,• Always – your imagination!
  30. 30. Questions?For later questions: