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User Research Delivers for the U.S. Postal Service (UXDC 2017)

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Mark Becker

Prepared for UXDC 2017
User Research Delivers for the U.S. Postal Service: The Impact of Customer Inputs on the Enhancement of USPS.com

UXDC 2017 Listing:
http://uxdcconference.org/sessions/user-research-delivers-u-s-postal-service-impact-customer-inputs-enhancement-usps-com/

Description:
In this session, attendees will learn about a program of user research we have conducted over the past three years for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). This research has been part of a broad user-centered design approach to website enhancement implemented by USPS, with the overall goal of improving the usability of its website, USPS.com. (...)

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User Research Delivers for the U.S. Postal Service (UXDC 2017)

  1. 1. User Research Delivers for the U.S. Postal Service: The Impact of Customer Inputs on the Enhancement of USPS.com UXDC 2017, Washington DC Mark Becker, UserWorks Inc.
  2. 2. Background • Started in 2013, still ongoing with 2-3 tests a year on average • Part of an effort by USPS to update and modernize their site and web presence • Multiple studies, various research methods • Many areas of USPS.com and a mobile app
  3. 3. What’s the IMPACT? • Influential impact • USPS improving using an incremental UCD approach may inspire other large organizations • Business impact • An improved user experience can be a competitive advantage • Innovation impact • USPS gains knowledge about its customers’ needs and wants, and can develop new technology to serve that need • Visual impact • The changes to the site as a result of testing are highly visible
  4. 4. METHODS
  5. 5. Methods • Moderated • Usability testing • Card sorting • Unmoderated • Tree testing • First-click testing Source: https://blog.prototypr.io/
  6. 6. Usability Testing • Moderated, one-on-one • Participants perform representative tasks • Note behaviors, ask follow-up questions A participant attempting a task during a session
  7. 7. Usability Testing: Pros And Cons • Pros • Directly observe participants • Easier to control the course of the session • Immediately follow up with questions or probes • Cons • Unless willing and able to travel, participants from limited geographic area • Less convenient for participants • Some may be uncomfortable in a lab setting
  8. 8. Remote Usability Testing • Can get same insights as in-person sessions • Remote participant controls our computer • Audio via phone or VoIP • Wider geographic area • More convenient for participants • Technical considerations (which software to use, Internet speed, etc.)
  9. 9. Card Sorting • Organize cards representing site content into logical groups • Either physical cards or online • In-person allows duplicates, omissions, sub-groups, online does not • Open • No limit to number of groups • Can name the groups • Closed • Limited number of pre-named groups A card sort with physical cards An online card sort
  10. 10. Card Sorting: Pros And Cons • Pros • Develop a content organization scheme • See what content belongs together vs. what should be kept separate • Group labels can inform how to label menu items in IA • Cons • No insight into layout, visual design • Participants only see descriptions of content • Have to be careful how to label the cards
  11. 11. Unmoderated Methods • Tree testing, first-click testing • Researcher sends email with link to access the tool • Tool displays instructions, tasks to participant and collects data
  12. 12. Tree Testing • Participants see only the hierarchy, or “tree” of topics and subtopics that make up the site • Tasks based around finding items in the hierarchy • Can’t rely on visual design • Provides data about how many: • Successfully identified the correct location • Went to the correct location immediately versus spent time exploring (direct success vs. indirect success) • Visited the correct location but didn’t select it • Etc.
  13. 13. Tree Testing
  14. 14. First-click Testing • Participants shown an image of a page, asked to click where they would expect to find information • Only the first click is recorded • See heatmap of where participants clicked
  15. 15. First-click Testing
  16. 16. Unmoderated Pros And Cons •Pros •Larger sample size •Asynchronous, participant does on own time •Can get more data in less time •Usually less expensive •Cons •Participant behavior may be ambiguous •Rushers, cheaters, the unmotivated •Help from others •Cannot easily ask follow up questions
  17. 17. Testing On Mobile • More USPS customers using mobile devices to access USPS.com and make purchases • USPS wants to ensure their mobile site has the same functionality as their full site A participant exploring the MyUSPS tool during a test session
  18. 18. Mobile Testing: Pros And Cons • Pros • Interact with the site on the device it was designed for • Test responsiveness of the design • Compare between mobile and desktop versions • Cons • Additional technical considerations (stream screen or use overhead cameras?) • Privacy concerns
  19. 19. STUDIES
  20. 20. Participants • Users of USPS.com, users of competitors, novices/first-time/never used before • Those who mail/ship from desktop, tablet, phone • General public, business owners, mail marketers • Frequency, recency of visiting USPS.com • Reasons for visiting USPS.com (make purchases, print labels, find information, etc.) • Age (“millennials”), gender, Internet proficiency, etc.
  21. 21. Research Focus Areas • Four main areas of USPS.com • Homepage
  22. 22. Homepage Usability Test (2016) Homepage prototype for desktop Homepage prototype for mobile
  23. 23. USPS.com Homepage 2014 2017
  24. 24. Research Focus Areas • Four main areas of USPS.com • Homepage • Global Navigation
  25. 25. Global Navigation Baseline Usability Test (2013) Recommended changes to the content organization
  26. 26. Global Navigation Card Sort (2013) Online card sort example Recommended top-level changes
  27. 27. Business Card Sort (2014) Example of subgrouping, in-person card sort Recommended changes to the second-level content
  28. 28. Tree And First Click Tests (2014) Examples of the recommended optimized IA
  29. 29. Tree And First Click Tests (2014) Example results from a first-click test
  30. 30. Global Navigation 2013 2017
  31. 31. Research Focus Areas • Four main areas of USPS.com • Homepage • Global Navigation • Mailing, Shipping, and Tracking
  32. 32. Shipping Usability Test (2013) Excerpt from the test report
  33. 33. Tracking Usability Test (2013) Comparison between the 2013 tracking page and the redesign
  34. 34. Click-N-Ship (2014) Excerpts from the test report
  35. 35. Pre-shipment Usability Test (2016) Excerpts from the test report
  36. 36. Mailing, Shipping, And Tracking 2013 2017
  37. 37. Research Focus Areas • Four main areas of USPS.com • Homepage • Global Navigation • Mailing, Shipping, and Tracking • Postal Store
  38. 38. Postal Store Baseline Usability Test (2013) Excerpt from the test report
  39. 39. Postal Store Card Sort (2013) Recommended categorization and sub-categorization
  40. 40. Postal Store Usability Test (2015) Excerpts from the test report
  41. 41. Redesigned Postal Store Usability Test (2016) Example results from testing the iconography
  42. 42. Redesigned Postal Store Usability Test (2016) Excerpt from the test report
  43. 43. Postal Store 2014 2017
  44. 44. Research Focus Areas • Four main areas of USPS.com • Homepage • Global Navigation • Mailing, Shipping, and Tracking • Postal Store • My USPS
  45. 45. MY USPS Prototype Usability Test (2016) My USPS prototype on desktop My USPS prototype on mobile
  46. 46. MY USPS Registration Process Usability Test (2016) Stages in the My USPS registration process Mocked up My USPS data used for testing Informed Delivery
  47. 47. CONCLUSIONS
  48. 48. Conclusions • Many changes over the years • Today’s USPS more modern, better user experience • Challenges remain • Hopefully this work will inspire others
  49. 49. • UserWorks, Inc. performed the work described in this paper while acting as a subcontractor to Aquilent. We gratefully acknowledge their support and collaboration. • Questions? Thank You! Mark Becker UserWorks, Inc. mbecker@userworks.com 301-431-0500 (Now Booz Allen Hamilton)

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