User testing for Sýslumenn

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Our role

User testing




Vefur sýslumanna website recently came under the umbrella of Í, which is intended to make all services provided by the public sector smarter and simpler.

The county's website recently went under the umbrella of Í, which is intended to smarten and simplify all public sector services.

The county's website was designed with the needs of the user in mind, wording was updated and adapted to the general user. Applications and service processes were streamlined and simplified to reduce the burden on customer support and provide better, more automated services that are suitable for the average citizen.

To ensure that these goals were met, research and analysis of the user experience was undertaken to characterize challenges and opportunities to further improve the interface.

That's where our eye scanner comes in.

What does the eye scanner do?

Our eye and response scanner detects where our eyes search on a website. Thus, we can identify exactly what attracts attention and what causes confusion. Challenges that users themselves do not realize or opportunities that would have otherwise been overlooked can be characterized.

For district commissioners, we tested the site on both a computer screen and a mobile phone and got five users for each device. Users were from a wide age group.

Users solved five tasks, called user histories, that are supposed to test certain features on the web. After the test, we went over the data.

How do we analyze the data?

When it comes to eye scanning there are two stages of analysis.

The first stage of analysis is a certain rough examination of user behavior: “where does the user go? what is he looking for? how long does it take to complete a task?” and so on. This is basic information that does not technically require the eye scanner, buthe results of such an analysis are very important. These results allow us to take a closer look at the deeper analysis.

The second stage involves examining the data coming out of the eye scan on a so-called gaze plot. When we examine such data, we always ask the following questions:

  • What is the user's goal?
  • Does the user manage to complete the goal?
  • How did the user fail to resolve the task?
  • How did they succeed?

We answer these questions by reviewing every single point the user reviews in his search for a solution. The user is using all of his experience and ability to look for what he needs, and the way his eyes move is hugely important.

Now, let's look at three examples of what the data from the eye scan looks like and how we can use it.

Lack of visual hierarchy

One of the fundamental rules in web design is: The user should not have to think about what their next steps are. This doesn't apply to the text but rather to the design. The design should have a clear "visual hierarchy."

Visual hierarchy explains to  the user where their search for information. It informs them silently about what matters and in what order they should take in what the website has to offer.

If the user doesn't sense a clear visual hierarchy, they become lost and don't know where to look.

User testing revealed that users take very different paths to complete tasks. Some look at the hamburger menu, others go to the table of contents, and still others scroll through the "most visited" section.

The reason users take different paths is that they don't know where to start and lack guidance on how to proceed.

Við sjáum skýr merki um þetta í myndinni hér fyrir ofan.

Next steps: It was proposed to undergo a thorough overhaul of the visual hierarchy on the front page, especially as it appears on a computer screen. This will result in the website being able to better guide users and send them on a more successful journey.

Users do not notice the download button

The eye scanner also provides important information about what the user notices, or does not notice. Here we see a picture of a user's trip to apply for a criminal record.

The user is looking for a button to apply for a criminal record certificate, but he does not notice the button or call to action. This may be because he experiences everything at the bottom of the screen as a plethora of information that he unconsciously chose to ignore.

Four out of five users did not see the button until they had scrolled through the entire site. As a result, you can assume that users, in general, do not notice the button.

Next step: Further experiments on location, word selection and color scheme. It's not clear why users don't see the download button, and it's important to test the features of the button further. This can be done by changing the design and checking whether clicks increase on the button, or with further eye scan tests.

Extra text confuses search

Sometimes we load too much information onto the users and it bothers them. In the diagram below, the user is looking for certain information in a list. But instead of reading the list, his eyes are dragged away by other information.

Many users went through a list of county services. In that list, some categories are marked with an "Application" button. These buttons complicated the gaze plot of users who were looking for very specific information because they clearly felt they needed to look at the buttons.

Next steps: A decision must be made based on the user's experience whether the information received from the button is important enough to interfere with it. The user's attention is valuable and measured in seconds. Perhaps we want a user to know that certain categories include an application. But then the question remains as to whether it can be conveyed in ways that do not involve the disruption of his journey.

Then what?

Here we have reviewed some results of the analysis to show how we get information from the scanner, what the information looks like and how we process it.

District commissioners and Í were briefed on all the results of the analysis with suggestions on how to make the user experience even better. Their decision to carry out the analysis and to take its results with an open mind demonstrates their ambition and focus on creating a good user experience that makes life easier for everyone.

After the presentation, they received a 130-page report with analysis, results, videos from user testing and any additional data that will allow them to respond to challenges and opportunities on the website.

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