We put a lot of time, effort, thought and passion into how our new site turned out. There are features we argued for strongly. Design decisions we all agreed were essential. Labels that resonated so beautifully it amazed us they’d never been used before.
And then we tested them with real people.
If visitors don’t get something then we can try and refine it – but if it still doesn’t work then it’s time to drop it.
Monday saw us conduct our latest round of user tests, the first since the site went live. Our courageous testers (librarians and researchers this time) guided along by cxpartners, were interviewed, set a variety of tasks to complete, and just allowed to explore. People never quite behave as you’d expect – and so as ever it was fascinating to see the results.
By the time we launched the site we’d already dropped a few cherished labels and features because they just didn’t test well. It looks like this round will have the same effect.
One feature that’s almost inevitably for the chop will be the ‘washing line’ – the categories that (currently) sit at the top of our service pages. At best they weren’t noticed, at worst they were down right confusing – as such they’ll have to go.
We nervously await all the recommendations from this round of testing – and we will of course share them here. We might lose a few more favourites, but ultimately we should end up with a much better site.