Following a great deal of user research for Kent State's new website, the team wanted to do another round of usability testing to answer some specific research questions, especially in relation to small-screen devices.
We conducted the testing in January 2014 in two sessions, recruiting 8 students, faculty and staff through our internal university portal. The testing was purposefully split across two days to allow us to make rapid changes on day 2 in response to observations from day 1.
- IdeaBase, a student-run ad agency run through Kent State offered us the use of their Tobii eye tracking equipment for the study, making it an affordable option.
- We had some specific research questions (less exploratory questions) we wanted to answer.
- Having visual data to back up design decisions to management and the CMS team is always valuable
Some of the more interesting results are listed below:
- The icon we were using to log in to our portal, FlashLine, on small screen devices was completely missed or misinterpreted by participants.
- A button for seeing weekend events was not found by participants
- Our academic calendar (a key task), was not always differentiated from the events calendar.
- A key call to action to freshman students, What's Next, was not always recognized.
- Our apply now, financial aid and majors and degrees buttons were all easily accessed
- Users were immediately drawn to the large photos and responded especially to the faces of people in the photo of Flash that was used.
- Users commented positively on the “mega” menus. The promotional photo and text within the menus received some fixations, but did not distract from the menu options.
VIDEO SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
To demonstrate the results to both management and other marketing leaders at the university, I compiled a quick video of our findings and actions as a result of the testing. By no means is this is an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea behind the methodology and results.