Research Results: Improve Content on Graduate Student Services page

UX-2985, Improve Content on Graduate Student Services page

Objectives

  • Evaluate category headings for clarity, accuracy, completeness
  • Confirm understanding of breadcrumb navigation
  • Assess if CTA (call to action) areas work as expected
  • Explore likes/dislikes about descriptions, icons, boxes, design, wording
  • Gain insights with version preferences

Stakeholders: UVA graduate students

Testing date: 9/26/18-9/28/18

Participants: 4 UVA graduate students (East Asian Studies; Anthropology; Classics; Public Policy)

Methodology: usability testing with one participant and one facilitator in a quiet space. participants are representative users. they use a laptop and are asked to complete tasks on a new website to determine the usability of the site. the facilitator listens for comments and opinions, and notes behaviors. Two versions of prototypes were shown to assess preferences.

FINDINGS

  • Without a description the participants had some trouble correctly and fully defining what they would find under Publications: “Publications is the only one I’m unsure about. Does that mean I’m looking for publications?” Two participants expected “resources to help me publish my own works in various places” and “links for how to get published”. Even after reading the description and seeing the options under Publications, one commented: “I would expect to see more about how to research different publications. I’d expect it to be LESS dissertation-focused. So that strikes me as odd.” Another commented after reading the description: “That helps me understand that I’m the one doing the publishing.”
    • Recommendation: Change category to Publishing, which is more suggestive of the activity of creating scholarly content; and retest.
  • Two participants struggled to correctly interpret Instruction until they read the description and saw the options there. The other two participants defined the category as offering “helping with teaching” and “networks of graduate teaching assistants,” and both mentioned that they expected to find a link to the Center for Teaching Excellence (not a Library service).
    • Recommendations: Add a link to UVA Center for Teaching Excellence under Move Scholars Lab and RMC links to Consultation. Additionally, reorder categories so that Consultation and Instruction are next to each other.
  • All four participants preferred the prototype with descriptions (version 2):
    • “The second layout is more intuitive.”
    • “I feel like the emphasis on helping comes through more on [version 2]. You’ve got specifically ‘these resources can help’ under Publication, under Instruction you’ve got ‘the library can help’ That sort of language really sets up the library as a space you can come when you need help.”
    • “I like the graphics! And I like the discrete division. It’s visually appealing. And I like the descriptions underneath (the icons)… What is really helpful is it provides an explanation, and I don’t have to do the guesswork…I really do like these explanations. While the first version is graphically simplistic, and I do like simplicity, I also think that some of these [icons] are ambiguous, and the other version saves me time of knowing where to go and what to click on.”
    • Words used to describe version 2 include “clear,” “clean,” “descriptive,” “effective,” and “helpful.”
    • Recommendation: Use version 2 with descriptions.
  • Two participants would use a link to the subject guides if one were provided on this page.
  • Although being shown a mostly non-working prototype, participants seemed to correctly interpret the CTA links.
    • Recommendation:
  • All four correctly interpreted how to use the breadcrumbs.
    • Recommendation:
  • When asked to project what it might be like to use version 2 on tablet or mobile, two participants said they were unlikely to use the website on a device. Another participant commented, “I have a lot more tolerance for scrolling when it’s a smaller screen. I know that they can’t put [in] all the information.”
    • Recommendation: None at this time.

top of first prototype web page for graduate student services

Version 1 prototype

screen capture of top of second prototype web page for graduate student services

Version 2 prototype

Protocol

1 [Show version 1]
What is your initial impression of this top portion of the web page?
  • Evaluate initial impression
  • Evaluate clarity and utility of category headings
  • Listen for comments about icons, How Can We Help, descriptions…
2 [Point to breadcrumb navigation]
What are these? What happens here?
  • Assess understanding of breadcrumb navigation
3 What would you expect to find under Request?
(if they repeat the word ‘request’ without further definition:)
Describe in your own words.
  • Evaluate clarity of Request category
  • Probe for terms other than ‘request’
4 What would you expect to find under Consultation?
(if they repeat the word ‘consultation’ without further definition:)
Describe in your own words.
  • Evaluate clarity of Consultation category
  • Probe for terms other than ‘consultation’
5 What would you expect to find under Publication?
(if they repeat the word ‘publication’ without further definition:)
Describe in your own words.
  • Evaluate clarity of Publication category
  • Probe for terms other than ‘publication’
6 What would you expect to find under Instruction?
(if they repeat the word ‘instruction’ without further definition:)
Describe in your own words.
  • Evaluate clarity of Instruction category
  • Probe for terms other than ‘instruction’
7 What would you expect to find under Spaces?
(if they repeat the word ‘spaces’ without further definition:)
Describe in your own words.
  • Evaluate clarity of Spaces category
  • Probe for terms other than ‘spaces’
8 Are these categories useful to you?
Is there anything missing that you haven’t already mentioned to me?
  • Assess if the category headings are complete and accurate
  • Probe for other heading terminology
9 (task) You want to set up a time for your undergraduate students to learn about doing research in Special Collections. Where would you start?
  • Does tester use Instruction heading to complete the task, or do they browse/scan the page
  • Do call-to-action features (CTAs) work as expected
10 (task) You require a book for your research that the UVA Library doesn’t have. Where would you start?
  • Does tester use Request heading to complete the task, or do they browse/scan the page
  • Do CTAs work as expected
  • Familiar with ILL? If not do they find the service under Requests
11 (task) You have questions about how to submit your thesis. Where would you start?
  • Does tester use Publication heading to complete the task, or do they browse/scan the page
  • Do CTAs work as expected
12 Let’s look at another version of the same page.
[Show version 2]

What is your impression of version 2? Feel free to click back and forth.
  • Explore likes/dislikes about descriptions, icons, boxes, design, wording
  • Gain insights into preferences
13 What are three adjectives you’d use to describe this page?
  • Assess usability and opinions
14 Which version do you prefer, and why? (if not already indicated)
What is missing?
What is confusing?
  • Assess understanding and utility of page
  • Gain insights into preferences
15 How would you make this page easier to use?
  • Final comments

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