Usability Testing Prompts New Site Structure
This is the story of usability testing that resulted in a complete restructuring of a website to match the way its audiences expected to find content.
Our client, an international NGO, had a new website they had designed internally to publish some of their research data in a format that could be easily consumed. They had conducted research in six countries and had data sets, charts, and visualizations for each country.
The client had taken their best guess about what navigation structure would help audiences find and use the country data that were the core content of the new site, but they had not gathered feedback during the initial stages of design.
They decided to have us conduct usability testing on a beta version of the website, make any changes needed, and then test again before launch. The two rounds of testing would allow them to launch with the confidence that the site would be well received by the target audiences–fintechs, government agencies, consultants, and financial services firms.
We conducted two rounds of one-on-one usability test sessions with roughly a dozen people representing the client’s primary audiences, in several countries around the world. We used screen-sharing software so we could see the test participants using the website on desktops, laptops, and mobile.
The content was originally organized in three main navigation tabs. The first and second were a welcome and examples of how the site’s research data could be used in business cases. But the meat of the site, the country-specific data, was buried under the third tab. We found that this site structure made it hard for the audiences to understand and use the site–which would mean low adoption of the site and low usage and sharing of our client’s research data.
Through usability testing, we learned users expected this site to be organized by country. Their projects are focused on the countries in which they work, and that’s how they expected to see the data organized. With our findings in hand, the client was able to modify the site so it was organized by country, and also make other improvements to ensure the site would be a valuable resource to the intended users.
Thanks to usability testing, the site reflected the needs and preferences of its users and was a more usable and successful digital property.