In praise of user testing – part 2

So what did we find from our user testing?

Strangely enough a lot of things the opposite of what we expected, or were just surprises:

  • NAO users tested loved PDFs – they like knowing that they are looking at the final version of information
  • they also liked being able to search within PDFs by using control F
  • there was very little interest in RSS feeds – in fact one said they had been actively switching them off
  • the site search was thought to be quite effective
  • very little interest in online forums or videos of discussions
  • a modest interest in Twitter
  • there was much praise for the House of Commons library as being a key service for Parliamentary researchers

Not very unexpectedly they wanted or favoured:

  • shorter documents
  • they often find content by using Google first and would like our content showing up higher in results
  • site search to drill down across content more effectively
  • to see links across the Parliamentary accountability cycle
  • some wanted to know more about what the NAO does

Our overall conclusions were – the focus groups were invaluable.

We have avoided acting on some of our own assumptions and are much clearer about what these groups of users want and need.

The caveat being, as the facilitator said, that there is a difference between what users say and do.

So we still need to test some of the findings in a more direct manner before making large changes to the content, but at least we now know what to test.

 

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