Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Redesign Proposal: Novaspaceart.com

729 views

Published on

An evaluation of Novaspaceart.com based on user interviews, personas, diary studies, card sorts, and usability studies, complete with recommendations for improvement.

Published in: Internet
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Redesign Proposal: Novaspaceart.com

  1. 1. Novaspaceart.com Preparedby@gary_schroeder December2016 RedesignProposal
  2. 2. Executive Summary Novaspace started life in 1978 as a mail-order service dealing in the space-themed artwork. In the 1990s, they expanded their art offerings and became an outlet for selling items autographed by astronauts. That end of the business quickly began outselling the art. Their original website, novaspace.com supported all of their products, but because of the total volume of inventory, they eventially spun off their autogrpah market to a new website called astronautcentral.com. NovaspaceArt.com remains dedicated to selling space-themed art. Business Requirements The business requirements are clear: sell product. This company fills a bit of a niche market so it’s not clear that they have any direct competition, in which case, they don’t have to be concerned about adding features to their site that other companies may offer. They may, however, have business requirements dictated by the artists and artifact sellers that they represent. What these may be is hard to discern from looking at the public end of the website. They may also have business requirements that are driven by their site users and customers. Again, from the public side, we can only speculate as to what those requirements might be but they might include offering an easy interface through which to browse inventory and simple, reassuring methods of accepting online payment. Some users will undoubtedly expect the website to be useable on a mobile device. Marketing Requirements As for marketing requirements, it’s difficult to determine. This is a small company, probably a “mom and pop” operation, not driven by the demands of shareholders or quarterly stock performance. It’s reasonable to expect from what can be seen that their main marketing goal is to be easy locatable via search, so good SEO might be one of their goals. Competitive Analysis Three competitors were reviewed: Art.com, RedBubble.com, and FineArtAmerica.com. Each offered significant advantages over the design of Novaspaceart.com. Of these, the most important were responsive web design that supports mobile use, reassuringly contemporary visual aesthetics, faceted search for narrowing down search options, a simple “favoriting” mechanism for saving items for later recall, and a smooth, intuitive purchasing experience. User Scenario To help the development team craft an online experience that matches user expectations, a typical user scenario was constructed. In this scenario, the user is someone who has a passion for seeing artwork in their home and office but either hasn’t the time or doesn’t enjoy the process of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. The user is comfortable and proficient with e-commerce websites. A typical use case involves the following steps: (1) accessing a computer (possibly a tablet or @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  3. 3. other mobile device); (2) opening a browser; (3) using a search engine to locate companies that sells art prints; (4) evaluating which online company looks most promising; (5) selecting a vendor; (6) using the company’s website and/or search feature to browse inventory; (7) selecting an item to buy; (8) reviewing framing options; (9) reviewing shipping options; and (10) placing an order. Research Interviews, Diary Studies, and Surveys Research interviews were conducted to find out what makes potential customers more likely to purchase from one online art dealer than another. The information gathered can be used to redesign Novaspace.com in a way that better meets user expectations. [​Note: had actual interviews been conducted, the summary would appear here.] Expectations, mindsets, moods, and social or physical contexts color user experiences. A diary study was conducted to capture these influences, shedding light on how the user experience is formed. The Novaspaceart.com website has a dated design and was likely designed by amateurs, so the diary study focused on collecting information on how the browsing and purchasing experiences could be improved. The participant tasks were designed to find out how site users expect the site to work and what they would like to see in an ideal experience. [​Note: had actual diary data been collected, the summary would appear here.] Surveys were also conducted to better understand who the audience is for Novaspaceart.com products and what their purchasing preferences are in order to design the best possible online user experience and, ultimately, sell as much product as possible. The surveys were used to answer the following questions: What demographic group do our customers belong to? What’s the income level of likely customers? How familiar/comfortable are potential customers with online shopping? How often do potential customers make online purchases? What types of devices do they use to make online purchases? How do they prefer to shop for art (or shop in general)? And what kinds of features do they want to see in an e-commerce website? [​Note: had actual survey data been collected, the summary would appear here​ .] Navigation & Information Architecture A card sorting exersize was conducted to test the existing navigational structure of the site.Three test subjects were told what the function of the website was and were then asked to sort printed note cards into predetermined categories reflecting the structure of the Novaspaceart.com website. This was done in hopes of revealing weaknesses in the categories in use as well as any points of confusion over word choices used to represent categories and the items contained within them.When the participant data was collected, a Popular Placements Matrix was used to determine where participants were most and least certain as to under which category they would find a particular page. On the whole, there were many cards which had 100% agreement between all three participants, suggesting that the current structure of the website is reasonably logical and intuitive. Usability Studies Usability tests were conducted against Novaspaceart.com using three participants who were asked to complete five discrete tasks using the website. The tests were conducted by one test manager in a closed conference room with a participant provided with a @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  4. 4. Macbook Air laptop and a Chrome web browser. The tests were conducted in order to determine what if any usability problems existed so that they can be corrected. The tests revealed that (1) the visual aesthetics of the site are perceived to be unattractive and out-of-date; (2) the meaning of some of the labels used to define various sections are unclear and don’t immediately suggest what is associated with them; (3) the shopping cart UI is confusing; (4); the lack of a direct path to the FAQ page is a glaring omission; (5) the customer satisfaction guarantee is challenging to find; and (6) the Want List function is far too difficult to use. Recommendations for Improvement Recommendation 1 To increase user confidence in the site and enhance the overall user experience, Novasapceart.com should be redesigned by experts to give it a contemporary look and feel that more closely mateches what users expect from a reputable ecommerce website. Any such redesign should seek to standardize the look and feel of all pages within the site. The site should also be redesigned according to responsive design principles to make it accessible to mobile device users. Recommendation 2 Users consistently reported that the meaning of some of the labels used to define various sections of the website are unclear and that they don’t immediately suggest what is associated with them. Correct this by including brief descriptive text with all major category headings that make it plain to the user that they can expect to find within these categories. Recommendation 3 Redesign the UI for the “Create Account” and “Add to Want List” functions such that the first time user is affirmatively guided through the personal account sign-up process and then shown how to add items to the Want List. The current site provides the UI for some items, but not others. The cart/Want List UI should be consistently presented with every item available for purchase. If for some reason, the item is not available for Want List inclusion, the reason should be visibly provided. Recommendation 4 Include a clear path to the FAQ page, or incorporate the information contained on the FAQ page directly into the main site content so that a separate FAQ page is unnecessary. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  5. 5. 1. Competitive Analysis Art.com ✔​ ​This site provides an ability to see what framed artwork would look like in different home environments. Preview includes configurable wall colors. ✔​ ​Live customer assistance via on-screen chat is available. ✔​ ​Provides a powerful and flexible faceted search that allows users to search art by subcategories.. ✘ ​One drawback is that Art.com has such a vast product catalog that it might be overwhelming for the user. Redbubble.com ✔​ ​Includes a display of "trending products." ✔​ ​Presents a clean visual design, generous white space, intuitive navigation. ✘ ​Part of the value proposition is to help independent artists sell their art through the site but this is hidden behind a primary focus on selling art to the public like any other art distribution site. Fineartamerica.com ✔​ ​Offers an embed code for showing artwork on other websites available. ✔​ ​Strong home page makes it clear what the value proposition of the site is. ✘ ​The home page relies on a carousel interface to explain the full value proposition of the site. Carousels are often interpreted as advertisements and have other UI drawbacks. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  6. 6. 2. User Scenario: Browsing Online Art Situation Alexander has received a promotion and has moved to a new, larger office at work. He now has more wallspace than he used to. He loves to surround himself with art that’s personally meaningful to him. Rather than simply fill up the available space with imagery (as a hotel or corporate interior decorator might do), he tries to find art that resonates with his personal interests. But Alex is a busy person with a lot of work responsibility and he doesn’t have as much free time as he’d like. Since the boom in ecommerce swept the world, he rarely shops for anything in person anymore. He has a strong preference for locating what he wants online and having it shipped directly to his office. He’s willing to pay extra in shipping as a trade off for convenience. Method to Address the Situation 1. Access computer 2. Open a browser 3. Use a search engine to locate companies that sells art prints 4. Evaluate which online company looks most promising 5. Select a vendor 6. Use the company’s website and/or search feature to browse inventory 7. Select an item to buy 8. Review framing options 9. Review shipping options 10. Place an order Execution Path When he gets home from work, Alex reaches for his iPad and opens a browser to start his search for new artwork for his office. He opens the native Safari browser and types “art prints” int the address bar which also doubles as a generic search box that submits queries to Google. A number of different websites are returned which look promising. He could pick one at random, but instead chooses the site which is at the top of the results page and evaluates its home page. He scans the home page to get a sense for the kinds of products and services that the company offers. He looks for search options, broad catalog categories, navigation options, and sorting controls which will make it easy to sift through the online catalog. After reviewing the types of art subject matter offered, he zeroes in on the area that interests him, and makes a selection. Next, he moves to discover what his framing options are and discovers that multiple options exists and that each can be visually previewed with his selected art print. After reviewing the options, he makes a final framing selection and clicks the “check out” button. He prefers to use PayPal because it doesn’t expose his credit card data. He enters his shipping address and completes the transaction. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  7. 7. 3. Diary Study Expectations, mindsets, moods, and social or physical contexts color user experiences. A diary study captures these influences, shedding light on how the UX in each time span has formed. The goal is to understand not just what people do but why. Diary studies are a challenge in the case of Novaspace.com since it’s not the type of product--like a fitness tracker or a news website--that one interacts with on a regular, repeating basis. Novaspace.com sells art and articfacts. It’s the sort of website that a customer may use only a handful of times over the course of years. A plan for a diary study was assembled while bearing this limitation in mind. Purpose The site has a dated design and was likely designed by amateurs, so this study focused on collecting information that indicates how the browsing and purchasing experiences could be improved. The participant tasks were designed to find out how site users expect the site to work and what they would like to see in an ideal experience. Strategy People in the market for art were targets of this study. The net was widened to include people who are in the market for any type of art because Novaspace.com represents a niche market and we weren’t able to find enough people to assemble a meaningful group. A target sample size of 10 people was established. Since the study could be conducted remotely, there was no need to meet participants in person. Given that freedom, Twitter was used as a recruitment tool. Since this is not a website that anyone would use daily, more useful data could be obtained by asking about their expectations for this type of online art seller. They were asked how they imagine that a “good” online art distribution site would work, and what they expect from it. They were asked about their experience with similar purchasing sites. This information is a benchmark for Novaspace.com and was used to see where it does and does not align with these expectations and previous experiences. Participants Questions/Tasks Participants were asked to use the Novaspace.com site once a day for a week. Each day, the assignment was to simulate purchasing a different product that they did the day before. That is, to go through the browsing, selection, and purchasing process but stop short of actually placing an order. They could choose any item they wish (poster, framed print, autographed item, flown object, etc.) as long as it’s not the same as one they’ve chosen previously. Participants will be asked to report their feelings and reactions to the site during use. An interval-contingent protocol was used in which just one entry a day for the week was required. Since there’s no daily activity which would naturally trigger the daily evaluation, it was important that the participants remain disciplined. Since the participant pool was small, a group text message was sent each evening reminding them to complete the activity if they hadn’t already. Since the evaluation isn’t connected to a natural daily activity, there was a good possibility that participants would lose enthusiasm for the project. Encouragement was included in in the daily text message to mitigate this. Other messages like “how’s it going?” were sent separately to each participant. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  8. 8. Reviewing the Data In the collected feedback, participants who provided the most complete evaluations with the greatest detail were identified. Those participants were contacted via email or Twitter and asked to agree to a short, 15 minute debriefing interview via Skype during which a fuller account of their experiences and frustrations with the site was collected. The assembled results were examined for emerging patterns and common themes between respondents. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  9. 9. 4. Research Interview Script Thank you for agreeing to participate in this study. Our goal is to find out what makes potential customers more likely to purchase from one online art dealer than another. ● Before we start, please tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? ● How long have you been working at that job or career? ● Do you remember the first time you bought something online? That is, the approximate year? (5 years ago, 10 years ago…?) ● How often do you buy things online now? 1. First, tell me about a recent purchase that you made online. What was the very last thing you bought through a website? If you can’t remember, just tell me about the last one you clearly recall. a. Is that item something that you buy frequently online or just once in awhile? 2. What kind of device did you use to make that purchase? Was it a home desktop computer, a laptop, a smartphone, or something else? a. Was that unusual or is that the device you typically use to make online purchases? 3. Now please think of your favorite e-commerce web site, perhaps one that you’ve gone back to more than once. a. Why did you decide to return to that site? b. Are there things about that site that stand out from others that you’ve used? 4. What about a website gives you confidence that it is reputable? a. [Possible prompts if struggling to answer] Looks like a contemporary visual design, has a Better Business bureau rating on the homepage, looks like it was updated recently? b. Is there anything about an online store that makes you feel that it’s untrustworthy? c. What does “untrustworthy” mean to you in the context of online commerce sites? d. [If SSL certificates hasn’t come up in conversation] Do you look for a green lock icon in your browser’s address bar? i. If not, have you ever seen this symbol before? ii. If yes, does it mean anything to you? 5. Let’s imagine that you’ve just moved into a home that’s larger than where you’re living now and that you have a lot of new wallspace to fill. If you were going to buy artwork, how would you decide where to buy it? a. [If answer is not “online”] If purchasing art in a brick-and-mortar store wasn’t an option for some reason, how would you go about looking online? b. [If answer is “use google” or similar] What words would you use in your search for an online art dealer? 6. If you’re able to see an image of the entire artwork, do you feel like you need to see details or is a representative image enough for you? a. [If not enough] How would you like to see more detail? b. [If having a hard time articulating an answer to (a)] For instance, would you like to be able to place a magnifying glass over a small area and move it around to see details? Or would you perhaps want the opportunity to zoom in and out at a level of your choosing? @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  10. 10. 7. If you encounter a large catalog of items to sift through on a website, what’s you favorite way to look through it? a. [Prompts if struggling] Do you prefer to just go exploring? Do you like to narrow your review by looking through a specific category and ignore everything else? Do you prefer to try and use the local search engine to hunt by specific keywords? b. Which way of reviewing the online catalog is most “fun” for you? 8. Do you look through online catalogs just for relaxation, like you might do with physical magazines? a. Why or why not? 9. How do you like to make your online payments? a. Would you abandon the website if it supported a type of payment you could make (like a particular credit card that you hold), but did not support your ​preferred method of payment (like some other credit card, or PayPal, for example). 10. If you run into trouble using the site or have a question, is it important that you be able to reach someone right away? a. If so, how would you like to reach a person to ask a question? b. [If not online chat] Have you ever used online chat? Would you consider using it to get an answer to a question? Why or why not? @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  11. 11. 5. Surveys Purpose This survey supports a company whose mission is to sell space-themed art and aerospace articles of historical significance online. We want to understand who the audience is for these products and what their purchasing preferences are so that we can design the best possible online user experience and, ultimately, sell as much product as possible. The Objective of our questions are to learn: [A] What demographic group do our customers belong to? [B] The socioeconomic background of likely customers. What’s their income level? [C] How familiar/comfortable are potential customers with online shopping? [D] How often do potential customers make online purchases? [E] What types of devices do they use to make online purchases? [F] How do they prefer to shop for art (or shop in general)? [G] What kinds of features do they want to see in an e-commerce website? NOTE​: We’re going to survey only those people who have a computing device, have Internet access, and have made online purchases before. Those who don’t will be excluded. Question 1​: Which best describes your age? Important to ask because it helps to establish our buying demographic. Knowing this may guide how we market the product to our customers. Supports Objective A. ● < 18 years ● 18-24 years ● 25-34 years ● 35-44 years ● 45-54 years ● 55-64 years ● 65+ years Question 2​: Which of the following best describes your highest level of completed education? Important to ask because this tells us something about the types of purchases that our audience is likely to make. This question might be sensitive for some, so an option to abstain is available. Supports Objective B. ● Some High School ● High School Graduate ● Some College ● College Graduate ● Post Graduate ● I prefer not to say @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  12. 12. Question 3​: What is your annual income? Important to ask because it establishes how much disposable income the audience has for art and artifacts. This question might be sensitive for some, so an option to abstain is available. Supports Objective B. ● < $20,000 ● Between $20,000 and $40,000 ● Between $40,000 and $80,000 ● Between $80,000 and $120,000 ● > $120,000 ● I prefer not to say Question 4​: What is your home zip code? Important to ask because we can make additional inferences about demographics based on the geographic region in which the customer lives. Also tells us about how far we might have to ship the product or to what region we might have the most shipping traffic. Supports Objective B. Question 5​: Which of the following is your prefered way to shop? Important to ask because it establishes if the respondent is in our target group that prefers to shop online. Supports Objective C. ● In-store browsing ● Order from paper catalog ● Order online ● My favorite shopping method isn’t listed here Question 6​: How long have you been using the Internet by yourself? Important to ask because it establishes if the respondent is in our target group that is familiar and comfortable with online shopping. Supports Objective C. ● Less than 6 months, ● Between 6 and 12 months, ● Between 1 and 2 years, ● More than 2 years Question 7​: How comfortable are you using the Internet to make purchases? Important to ask because it establishes if the respondent is in our target group that is familiar and comfortable with online shopping. Supports Objective C. ● Not comfortable at all ● Slightly comfortable ● Moderately comfortable ● Very comfortable ● Extremely comfortable Question 8​: What devices do you use to conduct online shopping? Check all that apply. Important to ask because it may tell us where we should focus our design efforts when building the sales website. Supports Objective E. ● Home desktop ● Laptop ● Tablet (like an iPad) ● Smartphone ● My device isn’t listed here @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  13. 13. Question 9​: How often do you shop online? Important to ask because it tells us about the customer’s online purchasing habits and corroborates their answers to other questions related to Objective C. ● Daily ● At least once a week ● At least once a month ● At least once a year Question 10​: What payment method do you use when making online purchases? Important to know because it will tell us what types of electronic payment options our website will have to support. Supports Objective G. ● Visa ● Mastercard ● American Express ● Discover ● PayPal ● Other @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  14. 14. 6. Heuristic Evaluation Design for User Expectations ● Choose features that will help users achieve their goals ● Use common web conventions ● Make online processes work in a similar way to their offline equivalents ● Don’t use misleading labels or buttons As a first-generation website, the types of UIs used are limited to clickable images, drop-down menus, and direct hyperlinks, though it’s not always clear what images are clickable and which aren’t. The user is forced to rely on trial-and-error to discover how the interface works from page to page. Clarity ● Write clear, concise copy ● Only use technical language for a technical audience ● Write clear and meaningful labels ● Use meaningful icons The home page of the site fails to state its value proposition. Instead of simply stating “we sell space-themed art,” the user is left to infer the purpose of the site. Insider terminology is used for one of its key products: the giclee print. The term is defined on a sub-page, but not up-front. Minimize Unnecessary Complexity and Cognitive Load ● Remove unnecessary functionality, process steps and visual clutter ● Use progressive disclosure to hide advanced features ● Break down complicated processes into multiple steps ● Prioritise using size, shape, colour, alignment and proximity The site is relatively simple and only supports a few functions: browsing art by type or artist, creating a favorites list, and purchasing art. The only slightly advanced feature is the ability to create an account that allows ability to save ‘favorite’ works. Efficiency and Task Completion ● Provide quick links to common features/functions ● Provide advanced features like the ability to delete multiple messages ● Pre-check common options, like opt-out of marketing emails ● Allow defaults to be changed, cancelled or overridden. ● Remove unnecessary steps The site navigation menu does allow for quick access to all major portions of the site. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  15. 15. Provide Users with Context ● Provide a clear site name and purpose ● Highlight the current section in the navigation ● Provide a breadcrumb trail ● Appropriate feedback messages ● Show number of steps in a process ● Reduce perception of latency by providing visual cues (e.g. progress indicator) or by allowing users to complete other tasks while waiting. The site is spotty in this regard. Some pages are clearly labeled with a prominent title, others are not. The current navigation selection is not highlighted in the navigation menu bar, but a breadcrumb list does exist to mitigate this shortcoming. Consistency and Standards ● Use common naming conventions ● Place items in standard locations like search boxes at the top right of the screen ● Use the right interface element or form widget for the job ● Create a system that behaves in a predictable way ● Use standard processes and web patterns This site has two serious problems with consistency: (1) the visual design varies dramatically from page to page; (2) some portions of the site--such as cart checkout--are in a differently branded page template which may cause the user to think they've been shunted to a completely different website. This undermines confidence in the online buying process and may cause some users to abandon the purchase. Novaspace is part of a separate but linked site called astronautcentral.com. Failing to cleanly separate these two sites is bound to confuse the first-time buyer. Prevent Errors ● Disable irrelevant options ● Accept both local and international dialling codes ● Provide examples and contextual help ● Check if a username is already being used before the user registers There are only a few ways to interact with this site: create a user account to store ‘favorited’ items, make an online purchase, or submit a comment. It’s not clear from looking at the UI if it will check to see if the user is attempting to register with a name that’s already taken. It certainly doesn’t guide the user through the process of creating a Wish List, which requires that the user first create login credentials, ​then login as a registered user. Help users notice, understand and recover from errors ● Visually highlight errors ● Provide feedback close to where the error occurred ● Use clear messages and avoid technical jargon The comment form does provide clear feedback if the user fails to fill in required fields. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  16. 16. Promote a pleasurable and positive user experience ● Create a pleasurable and attractive design ● Provide easily attainable goals ● Provide rewards for usage and progression This site fails to provide a pleasurable user experience on multiple fronts. Most significant of these are the garish visual design and the failure to appear current. An appearance which conforms to the design standards of the early 2000s may cause users to feel that the site is not reputable or that it is not being actively maintained. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  17. 17. 7. Card Sorting Three test subjects were told what the function of the website was and were then asked to sort printed note cards into predetermined categories reflecting the structure of the Novaspaceart.com website. This was done in hopes of revealing weaknesses in the categories in use as well as any points of confusion over word choices used to represent categories and the items contained within them. Note that if this sort exercise were being conducted for the purpose of actually refining a commercial website instead of an academic exercise, at least 15 participants would have been sought. Methodology Category and page names were copied from the Novaspaceart.com website and entered into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was uploaded to an Avery online application which generated printable pages compatible with Avery adhesive labels. These labels were affixed to note cards. Computer-generated labels were used to eliminate any bias that non-uniform handwriting might introduce. A conference room with a large table was secured for the exercise. Printed cards were spread out on the table before the participant arrived. The participants were asked to think aloud while sorting. Any notable reactions were recorded in hand-written notes. Collected data was entered into OptimalSort, optimalworkshop.com. This exercise calls for 38 cards and 10 categories in the closed sort. The free version of OptimalSort only allows for a maximum of 30 cards (beyond named categories) but a number of the cards were repetitions of the same page type. That is, a number of them were pages dedicated to individual artists within the “paintings” category. Some of these duplicates were eliminated to reach the limit under the free plan. The free version allows up to 10 respondents. OptimalSort was used to generate a Results Matrix (the darker the blue for a particular card, the more often the card was sorted into that category) and a Popular Placements Matrix (shows the percentage of participants who sorted each card into each category. It suggests the most popular groups based on each individual card's highest placement score). Results The Popular Placements Matrix is the most instructive for determining where participants were least certain as to where they would find a particular page. For example, the “About Credit Card Security” page was placed in a different navigation category by each of the three participants. It was placed into “Cart”, “Privacy”, and “FAQ.” Each of these selections makes a certain amount of sense. Information about credit card security makes sense on a shopping cart page since users would be making a decision about submitting their personal card information during checkout; credit card security is also related to privacy in the sense of keeping such information safe from malefactors; and it also makes sense for inclusion in an FAQ since many customers might have questions about how the site protects customer credit card data. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  18. 18. Other pages where participants disagreed over their placement included “Get Our Free Catalog” (split between the home page and Contact category), “Visit Our Store” (split between the home page and the About Us category), “Miniatures” (split between the Prints and Miscellaneous categories), “Budget Print” items (split between the Prints and Sale categories), “Ordering Original Paintings” (split between the Originals and FAQ categories), and “What is a Giclee?” (split between the Prints and FAQ categories). On the whole, there were many cards which had 100% agreement between all three participants, suggesting that the current structure of Novaspaceart.com is reasonably logical and intuitive. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  19. 19. 8. Usability Testing A usability test was conducted against Novaspaceart.com using three participants who were asked to complete five discrete tasks using the website. The tests were conducted by one test manager in a closed conference room with a participant provided with a Macbook Air laptop and a Chrome web browser. The tests were conducted in order to determine what if any usability problems existed so that they can be corrected. Findings The tests revealed that (1) the visual aesthetics of the site are perceived to be unattractive and out-of-date; (2) the meaning of some of the labels used to define various sections are unclear and don’t immediately suggest what is associated with them; (3) the shopping cart UI is confusing; (4); the lack of a direct path to the FAQ page is a glaring omission; (5) the customer satisfaction guarantee is challenging to find; and (6) the Want List function is far too difficult to use. Methodology The tests were conducted by one test manager in a closed conference room with a participant provided with a Macbook Air laptop and a Chrome web browser. The tests were conducted in order to determine what usability problems existed--if any--so that they might be corrected. Description of Participants All participants were recruited from a pool of work colleagues. Each possessed a high degree of experience and comfort with electronic media, the Internet in general, and ecommerce websites in particular. Participant 1 was a 52 year old male working as an office manager for a media and public relations organization. Participant 2 was a 30 year old female employed as a science writer. She also blogs in her spare time and has deep experience managing social media campaigns. Participant 3 was a 45 year old male employed as an internal communications manager responsible for authoring and distributing electronic newsletters. All participants were able to answer the opening questions and complete the five tasks in under 35 minutes. Opening Questions Each participant was asked the following questions in order to put them at ease and solicit information by which to gauge their Internet competency. ● First, what’s your occupation? What do you do all day? ● Roughly how many hours a week altogether—just a ballpark estimate— would you say you spend using the Internet, including Web browsing and email, at work and at home ● And what’s the split between email and browsing—a rough percentage? ● What kinds of sites are you looking at when you browse the Web? ● Do you have any favorite Web sites? @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  20. 20. Task Development Strategy The purpose of the Novaspaceart.com website is to sell original paintings, prints, posters, and other space-themed paraphenalia. Since its entire reason for being is to promote awareness of the company’s existence and sell the products it carries, the most important tasks the website must facilitate are those which promote and sell. Each task was selected according to that premise. In the opening exercise prior to the first task, I wanted to gauge user responses to the site’s visual appearance since that can both support or undermine the perceived credibility of the site. Trustworthiness is critical when asking a user to input credit card data and other personally identifying information. The tasks were designed to gauge how easy it was for users to browse the inventory of items available for sale. If the inventory is too frustrating to browse or if major sections go unnoticed, there’s an opportunity for lost sales. The site offers the ability to create a personal account and save items to a wishlist for later recall, but the vague instructions and unintuitive interface provided for this action suggested this part of the site as one which should be tested with actual users. Lastly, the task list was rounded out with some simpler tasks (like finding a contact page and the satisfaction guarantee) so that the participants could feel a sense of accomplishment on the premise that an unbroken series of frustrations could cause them to lose their open mindedness during the usability test and bias the results. @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  21. 21. Usability Task Script Open the Novaspace home page “First, I’m going to ask you to look at this page and tell me what you make of it: what strikes you about it, whose site you think it is, what you can do here, and what it’s for. Just look around and do a little narrative.You can scroll if you want to, but don’t click on anything yet.” Allow this to continue for 3 or 4 minutes at most. “Thanks. Now I’m going to ask you to try doing some specific tasks. I’m going to read each one out loud and give you a printed copy. I’m also going to ask you to do these tasks without using Search. I’ll learn a lot more about how well the site works that way. And again, it will help me if you can try to think out loud as much as possible.” Hand participant Task 1 and read it aloud “Just browse through the available works of art for sale so that you get a sense of what their catalog of items includes. Tell me what you’re thinking as you look around.” Hand participant Task 2 and read it aloud “Some websites to have a list of frequently asked questions--or FAQs--to help explain how to use the site. Not every site has an FAQ. Tell me if this site has a list of FAQs or not.” Hand participant Task 3 and read it aloud “Tell me if they offer any kind of guarantee of satisfaction that allows for refunds in case you’re not happy with the product.” Hand participant Task 4 and read it aloud “Let’s say that you’re pressed for time and that you don’t have time to go through the process of placing an order right now, but you don’t want to review the catalog all over again in the future. See if you can find a way to mark certain items as ‘favorites’ that you can easily find again if you come back later.” Hand participant Task 5 and read it aloud “Imagine that you’ve found one or two pieces of work that you’re interested in purchasing, but you have questions about your options that aren’t answered by the information available on the website. See if you can find a way to ask for more information.” @gary_schroeder ​ / ​ ICM 514​ / ​December 2016
  22. 22. Initial Participant Reactions Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ “This looks like an artist’s personal site.” Participant 2 ▶ “My first impression is that it’s not nice to look at.“ ▶ “I’m not sure what some of these categories mean. I have no idea what ‘after market’ means. Why would something be ‘limited edition’?” ▶ “It looks like it was made by a sad template.” ▶ “I think the yellow text [breadcrumb below the main nav] is really hard to read.” Participant 3 ▶ “It looks like a site that was made, 10, maybe 12, 13 years ago. It hasn’t been updated in its design since then...it doesn’t mean its content hasn’t been updated.” Takeaways ● The purpose of the site may not be immediately obvious. ● Two participants were particularly bothered by the visual aesthetics of the site which they found to be both ugly and out-of-date. Surprisingly, the third did not assume that the site’s retrograde looks meant that it wasn’t being actively maintained, he gave it the benefit of the doubt. ● The meaning of the labels shown over the thumbnail images is unclear and doesn’t immediately suggest what will be found by clicking on the thumbnail images.
  23. 23. Task 1 - Review the catalog of items for sale Participant 2 found this shopping cart interface overly confusing. Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ Never used the main navigation to investigate the catalog. Navigated straight from the home page examples. He eventually used the “Originals” tab instead of always using the browser’s back button. ▶ “I like that! If you hover over images, it gives a description of the artwork. It depends, though. Sometimes it’s an image description, sometimes a description of the artist.It should be consistent.” Participant 2 ▶ Was surprised that clicking on thumbnail image of one painting led to an artist’s entire catalog. ▶ “I don’t know why they’re telling you what’s SOLD.” ▶ Kept using the browser’s back button to navigate, not the main nav menu. ▶ Depending on the artwork format (paintings vs. posters, etc.), got different pages for the same artist. “I don’t know why they’re not just grouped together.” ▶ “The purchase section is really hard to understand. This is just way too complicated.” ▶ “Miniatures--what does that mean?” Participant 3 ▶ From the home page, he clicked on a thumbnail image and was confused when the page it took him to did not feature the same image anywhere. ▶ “After market? I don’t know what that means.” Takeaways ● Participants prefered to use home page links and browser back button rather than navigation menu to explore. ● Words used for labels are unclear/confusing ● Shopping cart UI overly complex/unclear ● Links did not always lead to expected results
  24. 24. Task 2 - Determine if the site has an FAQ page The only direct link to FAQs appears in a breadcrumb. It can only be discovered by accident. Participant 1 interpreted this text as a clickable link that would take him to the resource he wanted and was frustrated to find that it didn’t.. Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ Went to the “About Us” tab as the first option. Saw text on the About Us page that said “Novaspace FAQs” and tried to click it but discovered that it wasn’t a link. He really puzzled over the task and accidentally discovered a breadcrumb link. ▶ “Yes, it has an FAQ, but I can’t figure out how to get there without doing what I did.” Participant 2 ▶ “I don’t see any obvious signifier [in the main navigation menu].” ▶ She looked under the “About Us” menu tab as Participant 1 did. ▶ She looked directly at the FAQs at the bottom of the About Us page but failed to see them...then noticed the same breadcrumb link that Participant 1 did. ▶ “I found it, but I don’t know ​why I found it,” echoing the sentiment of Participant 1. “Also, it’s set up really poorly.” Participant 3 ▶ Went straight to “About Us” as Participants 1 and 2 did. Didn’t find anything on that page, then he tried the “Contact” link in the main navigation menu. ▶ Failed to find an FAQ and quickly concluded that there wasn’t one on the site. (He discovered it later by accident while conducting a separate Task.) Takeaway There is no direct navigation path to the site FAQs. They can only be discovered by accident. Users are baffled by how the content can be found. A lot of potentially valuable information for customers is obscured.
  25. 25. Task 3 - Find the satisfaction guarantee This is one of the pathways to finding the satisfaction guarantee, but this path depends on finding the FAQ page--which is a serious problem as found in Task 2. Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ Perceived “Sale” as terms and conditions rather than items being sold at discounted sale prices. ▶ Found the “terms” hyperlink on the Originals page but that took him to information related to layaway plans. He went back to the FAQs and successfully found the guarantee policy. Participant 2 ▶ Looked in FAQs under “Ordering, Shipping, Customer Service.” Found the Guarantee there, which led to a badly formed page. ▶ “This is the worst page I’ve ever seen. It looks fake.” Participant 3 ▶ Looked at the footer first.Thought it was odd that they feature a Facebook link in the page footer, but not an updated website. [That link is actually a way to post the existence of the website to your own Facebook timeline.] ▶ “Maybe this site is abandoned and they ​want you to go to Facebook.” ▶ Went to the About us page and stumbled onto the FAQs. He was surprised since he had declared that the site had none during Task 2. He used the FAQs to find the Guarantee policy. Takeaway There are multiple paths to locating the satisfaction guarantee. Participants were able to locate it, but not without some difficulty.
  26. 26. Task 4 - Find a way to save favorite items Adding catalog items to a wish list is one of the most challenging features of the site. To be successful, users have to recognize that they first need to create an account via Link 3, and then they have to login with that newly created set of credentials. The interface completely fails to explain this. A further point of confusion on this UI is that links 2 and 3 seem to do exactly the same thing even though they use different language. Link 2 says “New Wish List System Users”. Link 3 says “New Wish List System users Sign up Here.” Which one should be used? Why are there two? Another significant problem is that many items do not feature a button by which to add them to the Want List. (See the image in Task 1 for an example of one that does.) There doesn’t seem to be an obvious explanation as to why some items feature this button and others do not. Basically, this is just a terrible interface that puts a lot of unnecessary cognitive load on the user. Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ Found “Want List” in main navigation but initially thought he could favorite an item by going directly to a specific item. ▶ Read the instructions and signed up for an account and saw that he was then presented with an empty Wish List. ▶ Saw “”Registered users login here” link and entered his newly created login credentials. ▶ Was stymied by the fact that many artworks don’t feature a “favorites” feature, what the site shows as a “Want” button. ▶ Looked for a Wish List FAQ but found none. ▶ Eventually stumbled onto an item that featured a “Want” button, but never noticed that it was there. Task failed. Participant 2 ▶ “I noticed before, there’s a Want List.” Tried an example item but found that it couldn’t be added to a list even though an earlier item that she saw could be. ▶ “Maybe I can only do it on prints?” ▶ Found the login creation form, created login credentials but couldn’t figure out how to add anything to the list. ▶ “I’m at Astronaut Central” now. Is this the same thing? I don’t think it is.” Abandoned task without success. Participant 3 ▶ “My way of doing it would be just to email the link to myself.” ▶ “There’s nothing on here that tells me how I can save this.” ▶ Never saw the “Want List” navigation tab, gave up immediately because he had a preferred alternative. Takeaway The Want List feature is too difficult to use.
  27. 27. Task 5 - Find a way to get more information Contact page. Comments/Observations Participant 1 ▶ Found the contact page right away. Participant 2 ▶ Quickly found Contact button in main navigation. Participant 3 ▶ Found “Contact Us” link in the page footer Takeaway There’s no problem here. Users can easily find contact information.
  28. 28. Recommendations Recommendation 1 The tests revealed that the visual aesthetics of the site are perceived to be unattractive and out-of-date. This may have serious consequences for the site’s effectiveness as a sales tool. Sites that are beautiful are perceived as being easy to use. The converse is also true. To increase user confidence in the site and enhance the overall user experience, novasapceart.com should be redesigned by experts to give it a contemporary look and feel that more closely mateches what users expect from a reputable ecommerce website. Any such redesign should seek to standardize the look and feel of all pages within the site. As it stands now, one is able to abruptly navigate between Nova Space Art and its sister site Astronaut Central without being aware of the change in domain names. This results in a negative user experience and may also result in lost sales as users question why they’ve been dumped to a site with a completely different name and visual template. Some may even interpret this as a nefarious hijacking attempt. Lastly on the design front, the site should be mobile-friendly. Importance Level:​ HIGH May cause site to fail in its primary function of facilitating sales. Recommendation 2 Users consistently reported that the meaning of some of the labels used to define various sections of the website are unclear and that they don’t immediately suggest what is associated with them. Notable examples include “After Market”, “Miniatures”, and “Limited Editions.” This can be easily corrected by including brief descriptive text that makes it plain to the user that they can expect to find within these categories. Importance Level:​ MEDIUM May cause difficulty in site navigation. Recommendation 3 Test revealed that the shopping cart UI is confusing. Since the cart and Want List functions are bundled into the same UI, these should be considered two parts of the same problem. The recommendation is to redesign the UI for these functions such that the first time user is affirmatively guided through the sign-up process and then shown how to add items to the Want List. The current site provides the UI for some items, but not others. The cart/Want List UI should be consistently presented with every item available for purchase. Importance Level:​ HIGH May cause site to fail in its primary function of facilitating sales.
  29. 29. Recommendation 4 All participants reported serious difficulty in locating the site’s Frequently Asked Questions page. This page contains a lot of important clarifying details about the vendor’s service, guarantees, shipping methods, etc. While the FAQ page can be stumbled on by navigating to other pages within the site, it’s important enough to be listed prominently in the site’s main navigation menu, or on the home page at a minimum. This is a simple change that could have significant payoffs. An alternative suggestion is to incorporate the information contained on the FAQ page directly into the main site content. For example, rather than having a question titled “what is matting and framing?” on a separate page, simply include that text on every item-for-sale page under a link labeled “framing options.” Place contextual information on pages where it can do the most good for the user. Reduce their workload, don’t make them dig through a long list of unrelated questions. Importance Level:​ HIGH May cause site to fail in its primary function of facilitating sales.

×