IA Usability Research & Testing
With remote usability testing, evaluate the information architecture that I had designed for an enterprise-level, university client.
Draw actionable insights from the mental models of our target users. Deliver and communicate my findings so they are readily accessible to anybody in the client organization, whether they've been closely involved with the redesign or don't even know what "IA" stands for.
What I Did
Testing Platform Selection, Research Design, Task and Participant Identification, Copywriting, Test Coordination, Troubleshooting, Results Synthesis and Analysis, Refinement, Documentation, Client Presentation
This research dovetailed with a months-long project to design the structure, navigation, and overall user experience of a new website for Clarion University. It was completed in May 2014, though the redesigned site has not yet launched as of the writing of this portfolio entry.
At the outset, none of my clients had experience with usability testing. So, I laid out the benefits and garnered support for including evaluative research in the project's timeline and budget. I then led decisions on which audiences we wanted to target and which parts of the information architecture were the most valuable or interesting to test.
We chose to use Treejack as our testing platform, and I identified 20 survey tasks for two student audiences. Having crafted how the questions would be written and displayed, I pre-tested them with stakeholders and coordinated with agency team members over distribution, email copywriting, and participation incentive.
When the surveys went live, I monitored early results for issues. We met our participation goals quickly, and I set to work analyzing data that included findability and directness rates, first clicks, time on task, demographics, and paths taken.
The results were at once fascinating and invaluable. I drilled down to reveal patterns, understand mental models, and draw actionable conclusions. In synthesizing everything into a client deliverable, I knew this document was likely to be shared beyond our core project team, so I took care to ensure it would be accessible to just about anybody.
Half of our survey tasks produced success rates of 80% or higher (and in four cases, 90% or higher). More importantly, though, the other half yielded insights about our student audiences that we would never have uncovered without testing. Participation data indicated the tests were clear and well designed.
Where necessary, I made recommendations and improvements to reflect our findings. Clients who were previously unfamiliar with evaluative research were thrilled with the value this added to the project, and now they had the validation they needed to move forward with confidence.