The testing was conducted for a website, which provides accommodation in Tuscany region in Italy, which is favorite destination for English holiday makers, who likes food and wine or who are active cyclists as well as for international students who visit Tuscany during their Euro trip travelling. The purpose of the website is providing updated information about the region itself, locations offered and further booking of accommodation via online booking platform, which is part of the website.
The objectives of the project were to find out the usability issues, which visitors could face during their visit of trytuscany.co.uk website and also evaluate participant’s (user’s ) experience during their work on prepared testing tasks. Second objective was to find out more about target audience perception, therefore interview these participants on their preferences, needs and expectations when it comes on the travelling to Tuscany as a part of market research for TryTuscany.
There were seven participants, which covered a target audience (university students with international background – other than UK). These participants were engaging with TryTuscany website and working on different tasks to do, each of them focusing on one of the website functionalities and evaluation of user experience.
Study was conducted after an interview with a managing director of the TryTuscany company and also with a help of expert from MediaCity UK with many years of practice in conducting moderated website usability studies.
Participants have been asked for thinking aloud, when they described what they expect to be different and why they are confused, basically everything what they thought about during testing process. During the facilitated process of going through tested scenarios, there was a three stage process of collecting information.
- Collecting participant’s feedback and asking for thinking aloud.
- Tracking their eye movements for thorough analysis
- Focused questionnaire on TryTuscany website evaluation and participants preferences
Based on this three types of information were mapped out important issues, which were extracted and compiled into a list and further data analysis came up with specific recommendations.
Participant’s feedbacks from interviews, observation and eye tracking were analyzed in a context of related scenarios with tasks. Each participant got attention profile, which lead to mapping out usability issues and user experience pitfalls. These attention profiles have shown very similar patterns of behavior and most repetitive problems were taken out and analyzed in higher detail. Here is a sample of heatmap of participant having a serious problem, when asked to fill in the booking form for a cycling tour. Participant overlooked first paragraph - a note that booking is only for accommodation and not for cycling tour - and continued as the booking was for cycling.
Another example from the test shows the user behavioral pattern, when participant tried to search for cycling tour in top menu bar first. Then continued to the left bar and started to look for what to do and see, but overlooked cycling tour link. It wasn’t visible enough. At the end participant came back to the top menu bar, however participant thought it could be on different booking page, that is why he was scanning all navigation bar, which confused him even more.
Usability and user centred design study unveiled many usability issues, which proved as very significant for the main functionality of the website in some scenarios. These issues were listed under the highest priority and according to the attention analysis and participants feedback there were set up recommendations based on participant’s needs and perceptions, with emphasis on their specific behavior, which comes from their background. There has been found also usability issues, which confuse and disappoint visitors, therefore their experience from the website was very poor, which would force them to leave the page. These were added to the second category. At the end study has found also minor issues, which seem to be less relevant to usability, however very important from the customer perspective. This third group of recommendation is all about target audience motivation to do more than they would normally do on the web. As a whole the study has come up with recommendations for design team, which brings customer into a design team and the focus is transferred from business goals to customer (inside out) to customer needs to business (outside in), which brings more intuitive websites, grabs more customer’s attention and lead the customer to buy a product or engage with the website.
Members of the team: