Methods Used: Heuristic Analysis, Remote Moderated Research, Surveys, Usability Testing, User Interviews
My Role: Writing and conducting questionnaires and interviews, building wireframes and writing final deliverable.
Deliverable: Findings and Recommendations Report
Tools: Sketch, Keynote, Google hangouts, Quicktime
UXPA Minnesota is a young organization in a young field, serving a professional community in the early stages of their careers. By modeling best practices, they have an opportunity to profoundly increase the effectiveness of their mission: to bring together and lift up that community. Here’s how we helped them on that path.
Our team was engaged to do a usability on study UXPA Minnesota’s web site. Our client knew two things:
There were challenges in the areas of becoming a member and registering for events, and
UXPA wanted to better reflect their professional values and thought leadership.
Modifications as well as new functionality and content were all on the table.
To study the site we needed a framework to measure it against: rather than use broader design heuristics like Nielsen’s, I suggested using the more digitally focused Shneiderman’s heuristics. I drafted our usability questionnaire, and began reaching out to subjects with UX backgrounds through professional and social media networks.
START REMOTE, FINISH FACE TO FACE
Our first round of remote testing yielded valuable insights about what questions to drill down on and which to trim. After three rounds and twelve user tests, patterns had already begun to emerge.
“I have no idea where to look”
"I am so sorry, my brain doesn’t work, there should have been a join button somewhere"
“I thought I was already a member!”
Almost all our users had difficulty signing up for membership and the mailing list. The navigation bar landed users in unexpected pages with walls of text which needed to be scanned through to find hyperlinks. One found the process confusing and frustrating to the point of giving up entirely.
“I would be leaving this page, I would not hang out here”
“I would be judging this site”
“Very monotonous for a UX design centered web site”
“They’re violating consistency heuristics by what’s clickable”
Commentary was often pointed. It was clear that UXPA Minnesota could not reflect their professional values or claim thought leadership with the site in the state that it was. Two of the five UXPA members interviewed were frustrated to learn that although they had paid dues for UXPA International, this did not make them a member of UXPA Minnesota. This directly threatened UXPA Minnesota’s mission in the world by undermining their credibility among the community they were trying to serve.
“This is everything I’d want and more”
“Call to action is very clear”
“I’d like to get a confirmation than an email was sent”
“Oh, excellent - I don’t even have to click on details”
Events were a qualified bright spot: the navigation bar took users where they expected to go, and booking was straightforward. Accepted conventions were still being violated in layout and call to action placement, and the long list of past events caused some confusion, but our users muddled through. We had identified an opportunity to build on a strength.
Insights and Conclusions
Our team gathered to collate and discuss the data, dividing responsibility for sorting through a formidable shared spreadsheet of findings, observations and direct quotes. I found the issues we uncovered fell into three overlapping themes which resonated with UXPA Minnesota’s goals: Clarity, Credibility, and Community.
I prepared a findings and recommendations report structured to reflect these insights:
by addressing issues of Clarity in web site layout, organizational hierarchy and task flow,
we could enhance the Credibility of UXPA Minnesota in the professional
Community, and in turn serve its core mission.
A radical simplification of the site was proposed under the principle of “everything lives in one best place.” Simple wireframes and prototypes were mocked up and annotated. User feedback was incorporated in a proposal to add a jobs board and mentorship facilitation function to the site, leveraging the board and membership base’s savvy and experience to serve the community. UXers love helping each other - they only need to be connected.