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GSA Intranet (Insite) – Usability Case Study

Not all usability changes are dramatic. Sometimes a few small tweaks can make a site significantly easier to navigate, or make important but hidden content pop off the page.

The DigitalGov User Experience Program helped test Insite, GSA’s intranet, on September 21, 2011. GSA took the feedback from their usability test and made some changes to the existing design. While seemingly small, the changes made a huge difference in the usability of the site for GSA employees.

Problem 1: Jargon Confusing to Users

The wording used to identify pages was not clear. The use of program names and acronyms were not sufficient to guide unfamiliar users to the area they needed to go in order to find the answers.

Solution 1: Clarify Text with Plain Language

Acronyms and program names were given brief explanations using plain language for clarity.

insite before screen shot
Problem 2: Sliding Boxes Confusing to Users

The use of sliders in the left-hand side navigation bar confused users and their purpose was not immediately evident to most.

Solution 2: Eliminate Sliding Boxes Section

The sliding section was eliminated entirely, but the area remained visually similar. This eased confusion over how the sliding boxes worked, but left the information in a location users were familiar with.

Problem 3: Categories Not Arranged Intuitively

The categories within each slider category were not intuitively arranged.

The category links identified as the most important for regular visitors of the page were prioritized and made clearer.

The below screen capture was taken one month later in October of 2012.

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