Users inform the fixes

2964156413_5dd7e479c9_z(Image courtesy of Aaron Fulkerson)
Since my first blog post which set out the approach and digital principles for the #newEEN we’ve been working to identify the biggest issues with this prototype site by testing it on potential clients.
Pitching up at Venturefest Bristol & Bath with my Mac, a free trial of Camtasia and having refreshed myself on Steve Krug’s bible ‘Don’t make me think’, I collared a handful of individuals – one at a time – as they were having coffee. The lure of a £25 Amazon voucher in return for half an hour of their time did the trick. I asked their option of the home page and what they may come to the site for.
Digging deeper, I also asked where on the site they may go to find people they could collaborate with. They all went to the right place and found opportunities, but struggled to work the internal search and various ways the results could be cut. They also signed up to the site, because they wanted to, but had difficulties / frustrations completing.
I saw four participants that day which doesn’t statistically prove anything. That’s not the aim. The aim is to identify common issues where people are tripping up. The screen and webcam were videoed and recut so all the issues were in a logical order for the developer to tackle.
A day of his time later saw the home page rejigged a bit, internal search cleaned up as was the user journey to sign up. I’ve since rerun the exercise at Venturefest West Midlands and Venturefest Oxford and those problems seem to have gone away but as expected, they’ve revealed smaller issues.
This process should be iterative but remember, this site is a working prototype so budget and energy needs to be saved for the next gen site. That’s starting in earnest with me interviewing users to map their journey and firming up the needs of our different user groups.
That and loads of tech stuff that hurts my head 😉

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