User Testing & Research

Persona Development Case Study: NCI and Spanish Language Outreach

Mar 2, 2015 |

Government websites need to address the needs of diverse audiences. Although translations are a first step towards engaging non-English speaking audiences, the intended audience may be alienated if information is not presented in a culturally relevant way. The Read »

Top Task Usability: Design for Your Users

Feb 6, 2015 |

Being able to design a website that users love is not too far away from being able to read their minds. While designers can’t read minds, that doesn’t stop them from using their website’s top tasks to make it seem like they can. A website’s top tasks include 5-10 tasks (depending on the scope of the Read »

7 Ways to Ignite User-Centered Design at Your Agency

Jan 27, 2015 |

So you’ve done a couple of usability studies, and a few people are starting to “see the light.” Now you’d like to take it to the next level and help your organization embrace user-centered design (UCD) as the philosophy that drives all your digital projects. But what is best way to do this? How can Read »

Past, Present, Future: Usability Testing at the National Library of Medicine

Jan 2, 2015 | , , ,

Usability testing has provided our organization many important insights to improve our Web presence. Since the early 2000s, the National Library of Medicine (NLM)’s Web teams have actively sought and used usability testing tools; we have run “full service” usability testing almost yearly for various Web properties Read »

Using Focus Groups to Make Better Videos

Dec 29, 2014 |

There’s what you expect your audience to think, and then there’s what your audience is actually thinking. Sometimes, these can be entirely different. But, you won’t know unless you test it. For the release of the 2014 Consumer Action Handbook (CAH), the Federal Citizen Information Center’s marketing team piloted a series of videos. The videos Read »

Making Prototypes with Tools You Already Have

Dec 19, 2014 |

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. For me, the necessity resulted from long product development cycles paired with short windows for user testing and little room for iteration. The “invention” was the discovery of a powerful set of tools for prototyping that are available on just about Read »

Can You Crowdsource Your User Experience Research?

Dec 9, 2014 |

In one sense, almost any type of user research is crowdsourced—you’re talking to people and using that information to improve your system. But in a true sense, crowdsourcing is more than just collecting information, it’s collaborating on it. We want to have real conversations, not one-time emailed suggestions without followups. So here’s a few tidbits Read »

Results: 2014 Federal User Experience Survey

Nov 21, 2014 |

The cream of the crop of the top of the mountain of ALL of the surveys I run has to be the Federal User Experience (UX) Survey. It’s the second time I’ve had the privilege of running it with Jean Fox, research psychologist extraordinaire from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When I start thinking about learning Read »

User Experience Impossible: The Line Between Accessibility and Usability

Nov 17, 2014 |

Bob goes to a popular federal government site, using his assistive technology, and starts reading a teaser for an article. Just below the teaser, there’s an embedded video on the page. He presses the tab key, trying to navigate to a link for the full article, but suddenly he’s trapped—he can’t tab past the video. Read »

World Usability Day 2014 theme: Engagement

Nov 13, 2014 |

There are many buzzwords thrown around in the digital government universe, but the most impactful ideas are rooted in one action: engagement. Whether it is a tweet, a mobile app, or a community of practitioners, every digital program or service requires interaction between an organization and its customer. Engagement is also the foundation of all Read »

4 Tips on Great Survey Design

Nov 10, 2014 |

Whether they pop up while perusing an e-commerce site or land in your inbox after your bumpy flight in from Chicago, surveys are used in many different industries to gauge customer satisfaction and glean insight into user motivations. They are a useful tool in the kit of a user experience designer or anyone Read »

Secrets to a Dynamite Public Sector Analytics Program

Oct 17, 2014 |

Uncovering meaningful analytics from months or years of Web metrics is daunting, at best. So how do you make great Web improvements using metrics? Whether you’re just getting started in Web analytics or you want to take your program to the next level, you should focus on Read »

User Acceptance Testing Versus Usability Testing…What’s the Dif?

Oct 6, 2014 |

Building off the great discussion started around Customer Experience, we’re looking at the difference between User Acceptance Testing and Usability Testing. Read »

Member Spotlight – Hannah Rubin, Library of Congress

Sep 26, 2014 |

Meet Hannah Rubin, who works in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. She’s the focus of this month’s Member Spotlight. In addition to her “real” job, she’s also currently working as a “20%-er” with the Read »

Finding Participants for User Experience Studies

Sep 8, 2014 |

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 Read »