How do you find participants for your usability studies? I spoke recently with the User Experience Community of Practice about how we recruit participants for usability and cognitive studies at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Hopefully I can give you some new ideas about recruiting volunteers to fuel your user research. At BLS, we [...]
User Testing & Research
Why does a Cancer institute need a User Experience lab? Simply put: To learn about their customers—people living with cancer and those who care about them—and build the best possible products with them in mind. “Cancer has a journey and we wanted to create a lab to capture the substance of that journey, understand what [...]
Trying to measure usability can be a head scratcher. How easy something is to use depends on where you are, who you are, and a number of other factors. Luckily in the world of usability, there exists a post-test survey known as the System Usability Scale, introduced in 1986 by an engineer named John Brooke, [...]
The API Usability Program brings together developers from agency APIs and the private sector to evaluate how the API can be improved to be more user friendly. Sean Herron of 18F, who was a key member of the openFDA developer team, shared with us some of the major insights gained from this latest API usability session.
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement at the Administration for Children and Families had a visually appealing website after an agency-wide redesign of program websites. The problem: Key stakeholders complained they could no longer easily find needed information. Their feedback prompted us to facilitate a UX-minded focus group to recommend improvements that met both users’ business needs and the redesign goals.
The good news: Your boss is interested in User Experience! The news: She wants you to do something about it… NOW. Well, don’t be alarmed; you can start by figuring out two simple things: 1. Identify the Stage you’re in in the development cycle. Write it down. 2. Choose a User Experience (UX) Technique that [...]
You might recognize them by the user controls, if provided, that allow you to move from one newsy item to the next. They go by various names, including: carousel, slider, slideshow, banner, and gallery. Many government homepages have them. In a recent email exchange on the Web Content Managers listserv, the consensus was carousels met the [...]
Most people relate the term “heat map” with something they see during the weather forecast on the nightly news, those colorful maps that vividly illustrate how hot it’s going to be during an impending heat wave. The word “heat map” may not usually however, conjure up images of a widely used Web usability tool; but for those [...]
Over the years, the staff intranet at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had become increasingly difficult to use. Old, irrelevant content routinely bubbled to the top of search results, and essential employee tools were hard to find. NARA staff agreed that the site was due for an upgrade: fixing NARA@work was voted a [...]
In 2012, the Federal Reserve Board used the Top-task methodology to redesign our intranet, called Inside the Board, which had not been significantly updated since it was launched in 1995. After determining the top tasks the audience needs to accomplish on a website, you can run usability tests to gain knowledge and improve the site. The project [...]