Our client – a major healthcare company – had built a new website for use by medical personnel and patients, but their own internal assessments had suggested the new site was too difficult to use. The client needed an independent usability evaluation so they could decide whether to fix the site or abandon it and start over.
We began by identifying and prioritizing the main tasks (the red routes) that users must be able to complete quickly with the website. Then our usability researchers familiarized themselves with the website, completing the main tasks and carrying out a usability expert review of the website. This enabled us to fix any obvious problems so that our test users would not get hung up on them, but could better reveal to us the troublesome but less obvious problems.
Next, we carried out the usability test. We recruited 12 doctors and nurses and 6 patients, and asked them to use the website and noted the problems they experienced in completing the tasks. We made screen recordings for analysis and recorded keystrokes and mouse clicks, with simultaneously recorded synchronized audio-video of the users. Members of the development team held their breath and observed through the one-way mirror.
As the client had suspected, the users struggled to complete many of the tasks. We identified 141 usability problems of which 70 were critical or serious, meaning users were unable to complete tasks without help.
The client weighed the risks and decided to abandon the design and start over. With Blueprint’s help, the new website design was simplified, pared down to create clear task pathways for the main tasks and, critically, was user-focused. By employing ongoing iterative usability testing with progressively higher-fidelity prototypes, the team closed in on an optimally designed website that tested well and was successfully launched.