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Information Technology Services

Conduct User Testing

web publishing

  1. Identify key users on campus who use your current site, or may use your new site. Who is your audience? Undergraduate and/or graduate students, faculty members, department staff members, parents, researchers? Others?
  2. Once you have identified these users, ask a few of them to look at your new site on the development server. Do not give any specific instructions at this point, just let them browse and click through.
  3. When the user has had at least a few minutes with the site, ask them some questions about their initial impressions. You may want to print the questions, as this will allow the user to continue using the site as they consider the questions. Carefully note their responses. Some questions might include:
    • Overall, is your impression of the site positive or negative?
    • Is the site easy to navigate?
    • If you were looking for specific information on (name of school/dept.), could you find it quickly?
    • Is it obvious throughout that you are on the (name of school/dept.) site?
    • How would you get back to BC Home from this site?
    • Is information presented logically?
    • Do page layouts present text and pictures clearly and effectively?
    • Do you like the pictures on the site?
  4. After this initial feedback, ask the user to perform some specific tasks to gauge the usability and navigation of the site. Take note of how difficult the user finds each task. You may ask them to find:
    • School or dept. "contact" information for the site
    • Library resources on the site
    • A map of campus
    • BC Home
    • Site news or coming events
  5. Once these tasks are completed, it may be useful to ask the user to browse through the site more thoroughly. Now that you have received some general feedback on your site and its navigation, you will want some more pointed feedback about the quality of the site. Again, note or document all responses. Some specific follow-up questions about their experience with the site:
    • Is there any part of the site that you did not like at all? Why?
    • Are there any sections which seemed unfamiliar or out of place on the site?
    • Are there any glaring design errors (broken links, empty images, etc.?)
    • Are there any major editorial problems (frequent misspellings, blocks of text out of place, etc.?)
    • Are their any additions to the site that come to mind?
  6. Once you have completed steps 4-5, review the user responses. Are there common themes of negative comments about certain sections of the site, including the navigation? If so, you may want to review these sections, and even make some changes based on the feedback (certainly so if it involves major design or editorial errors). Be sure to note the positive responses as well - knowing what your audience likes will be key to maintaining your new site after you launch.