GLAZE OF GLORY

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ROLE

Team Lead

CATEGORY

Website - Usability Report

DURATION

2 Months

I led a usability test with a team of three in my Usability Testing class. As the team lead, I proposed the test subject, created the schedules and deadlines, contributed to the various deliverables, created the presentation, and led the usability testing.

In the Spring of 2019, all of the students pitched an idea for a product to conduct a usability test for. I wanted to pick a local business that I could potentially bring my results to once the project was complete. Glaze of Glory - whose name has been changed for privacy - was a location I had seen personally, and it seemed like their website might need an update. After the pitches, we voted on the best projects. With several students interested in mine, I became one of the team leads. 

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OUR TEAM

Brianna McBride

Team Lead

Meghan Thompson

Lead Writer

Amari Douglas

Lead Organizer

Dana Little

Lead Editor

INITIAL ANALYSIS & PROPOSAL

I began in late March by assessing various local businesses. Although the idea behind Glaze of Glory - paint-your-own pottery - has proven popular, their website was lacking. I knew the business would greatly benefit from a more functional layout. Upon deciding on this business as my project, I began working on my proposal presentation by identifying potential areas to concentrate on in testing, how testing would function, and what the testing audience would look like. This solidified into a presentation that convinced several students to vote for my project.

RESEARCH & PROJECT PLAN

We began by taking my initial assumptions and researching them for more concrete data. This ensured our team was focusing on productive areas for the project without jumping to our own biased conclusions. We identified the potential pain points for the website, the primary audiences for the business, and created a project plan to be approved by the instructor.

Paint Point #1: Website Navigation

The most prominent concern was the navigation panel for the website.

  • Some navigation options had as many as three dropdown panels.

  • Pages with extraneous information seemed to be prioritized over more important tabs.

  • The home page had a dropdown, and the about page was hidden in the dropdown options.

Paint Point #2: Visuals

The visual design of the website was also a concern.

  • Background images were grainy and provided no contrast against the text.

  • The business had three separate logos of completely different styles.

  • Information was often crammed together and confusing upon first glance.

Audience Analysis

Though the primary audience is composed of children, I decided to target the second-largest collection of users: females aged 18 to 25 years old. These college-aged women come for bachelorette parties, art nights, and girls’ nights out. More importantly, they would use the website more heavily than the primary audience, making them a higher priority for usability testing. 

Selecting people from this population allowed for minimal inconvenience to the participants, considering that testing would take place on a college campus. Testing before or after participants' classes would limit travel and expenses. As an incentive for participating in our usability study, we decided that each participant would be presented with a small bag of candy.

Project Plan

We identified the pain points and target audience in our project plan, then moved on to specifications on how our testing would be run. I informed our professor within this document that we would prepare consent forms, a moderator script, and a System Usability Scale (SUS) before the tests began.

We listed several of our potential tasks for the participant to complete during testing, as well as the reasoning behind each. Each task involved using different aspects of the website’s navigation so that participants would explore potential problems with the website’s functionality. Some of the tasks also required participants to move through page layouts to find information, engaging them with the website’s content organization. Participants would then complete SUS questionnaires, which consist of ten questions that evaluate ease of use, functionality, and learnability of the product, and Product Reaction Cards (PRCs) with words to best describe their experience with the website.

TESTING SESSIONS

Six participants were recruited for this study that met the requirements for our target audience. Our participant pool was representative of different academic interests, personalities, and races; this diverse group of participants was beneficial to our research because of the parallel diversity of Glaze of Glory’s customer base. Testers were given a pre-test rating their interest in the arts, their familiarity with the device they were testing on, and their familiarity with the business.

On both testing days, the scenarios took place in isolated study rooms with little to no noise distractions. Visual distractions were minimized by seating the participant next to the moderator, both facing away from the window. Tests were observed by three other team members – two note-takers and one visual observer. A DSLR camera and a laptop equipped with OBS, a screen recording software, were used to record testing practices. 

In order to best gather additional information during testing, the moderator asked participants to follow the Think Aloud Protocol by verbalizing their thoughts and movements as they interacted with the website. Using this method allowed the team to collect data regarding users’ expectations of, reactions to, and interpretations of certain aspects of the site.
 

The tasks given were as follows:

  1. Find the store’s address.

  2. Find the ages welcome to participate in pottery painting.

  3. Find the price range of products.

  4. Find information about scheduling a birthday celebration.

  5. Find information about the store’s owner.

Upon the completion of prompted tasks, participants were asked to partake in post-test activities: the SUS and PRCs.

RESULTS & EVALUATION

Though exact statistics may be found in the full report at the bottom of the page, some of the results' highlights are detailed here. 

System Usability Scores

Individual participants’ SUS results were was averaged upon completion of testing, yielding an overall score of 42.9. Considering that a score ranging between 0 and 50 is determined to be "unacceptable," the SUS did not view the website favorably.

Product Reaction Cards

Participants were asked to choose five PRCs. While the average SUS score represented overall negative feedback, the website received overwhelmingly positive results in terms of creativity and passion. The PRCs presented positive aspects the users were fond of. Out of six participants, three chose “attractive” and two chose “friendly.”

Think Aloud Protocol

During their use of the Think Aloud Protocol, several things were emphasized:

  • A clearer about page was needed.

  • The "How it Works" page needed to be more obvious in the navigation.

  • There were too many distracting pages with low-priority content.

  • A footer was needed.

  • The navigation should be condensed.

Task Assessment

Tasks were chosen with the intention of taking no more than 1 click and 10 seconds to complete. Yet the average time taken for each task reached up to over 5 clicks and 100 seconds for task completion. Each task was then given a severity ranking based on its metrics, ranging from cosmetic to usability catastrophe.

During their use of the Think Aloud Protocol, several things were emphasized:

  • A clearer about page was needed.

  • The "How it Works" page needed to be more obvious in the navigation.

  • There were too many distracting pages with low-priority content.

  • A footer was needed.

  • The navigation should be condensed.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Most recommendations focused on the website’s navigation bar. The suggestions that follow are based on direct and indirect feedback from participants and their tests.

Condense the Navigation

Most participants expressed confusion surrounding the multiple tabs and dropdown menus. We recommended that Glaze of Glory condense their navigation by using key phrases recognizable to both current and future customers.

Add a Footer

Consistent across all tests, participants looked for a footer when searching for specific information. We recommended adding a footer to not only display important information like the store’s address and business hours, but also to serve as a secondary navigation.

Improve the Hierarchy of Information

Participants often expressed confusion about the location of important information. In addition to improved positioning of information, carefully using fonts, font colors and proper alignment will improve the hierarchy of information.

Clarify the About Page

As participants moved through the first few tasks, they noted that information was often not where they expected it to be. Although there is a page titled "About GoG," participants found its location was obscure and its contents were lacking. We recommended adding the store’s address, business hours, history, and owners to the current about page.

Rework the Visuals

Although the site's images received positive feedback, the use of the images as backgrounds did not. Participants experienced difficulty reading darkly-colored text placed over highly saturated photos. We recommended moving the image to one side of the screen and the text to the other. This would reduce the amount of eye strain while keeping the website's personality.

THE FINAL PRODUCT

The feedback and data collected from conducting a usability test on Glaze of Glory’s website shed light on both strengths and weaknesses of the interface.

A well-designed website can play a crucial role in separating a business from its competitors. The results of this usability test revealed areas that could benefit from the team’s recommendations. I finished this project by presenting our findings to class and writing the usability test report with the rest of my team.

The usability test report may be viewed to the right or downloaded as a PDF.