Screengrab of a Waverley Borough Council user test

The importance of user testing when redesigning your website

Waverley Borough Council approached Smarter Digital Services to assist them with user testing on their new website.

The objectives of the user test were to:

  • Test the usability (and design) of the website from a customer’s point of view.
  • To test to what extent this would impact customers’ ability and desire to use the website instead of telephoning the council.

There were two target audiences that Waverley wanted to test:

  • General residents – to test some of the top tasks and more popular activities on the website such as paying council tax.
  • Professionals – to test some building control services and other specific services available on the website.

Users started at the Waverley Borough Council homepage and completed various tasks given to them. They were asked their opinions on each task. SDS recorded any additional observations that customers did not articulate.

Fifteen scenarios were tested in total from basic issues such as:

  • Paying council tax
  • Reporting anti-social behaviour

To the more complex scenarios for professionals such as:

  • Paying for a Building Control application
  • Applying for addresses for new developments

Some post-test questions were also asked at the end of the session to capture more feedback on their experience of using the website.

From the findings, SDS have been able to show how users interacted with the website and located information. The tests also demonstrated where any functionality issues affected on their experience.

Feedback was very positive and most users were able to complete the tasks set.

85% of participants were able to successfully complete all tasks. 100% of participants were very complementary about the look, feel and usability of the website.

40% of users actively used the right-hand sidebar menu. 100% of participants enjoyed the experience of completing this user test.

SDS provided detailed feedback to Waverley indicating where users had stumbled or failed to complete the task. We were able to detail positives, negatives and insights from users around their experience. Errors and omissions were noted along with feedback about whether participants used the search box, menus or ‘top tiles’.

Comments from users were (for example):

“As a skim-reader, my eyes are drawn to the bigger, bolder titles.”

“That link isn’t quite as obvious as these two buttons.”

“The search thing is OK, not bad at all …”

“That was pretty easy to find and it’s self-explanatory.”

“At this point I’ve lost the will. I’d be looking for a chatbox as I want to chat to somebody right away – I’m looking for this, can you help me find it rather than pick up the phone or email.”

“I like the layout of the website. It’s really easy to find things. I like the icons and the sub-links. I really like the look of it.”

If you would like SDS to user testing your website either remotely or face-to-face, please contact us.