User Testing Example – The Scottish Government

scottish governmet homepage

Background

The Scottish Government website comprises over half a million pages managed by a team of over 200 content editors. The new web content management system, developed in-house, required a period of testing to ensure ease of use for different users and consistency of design.

Solution
I was contracted to develop a framework for testing a complex, functionally rich content management system. This was achieved by:

  • Creation of use cases for different user type (editor, senior editor etc)
  • Creation of test scripts based on key tasks
  • Conducting multiple rounds of user testing to ensure that all logged issues have been fixed and provide an improved experience for users of the system
  • Facilitating and recording testing sessions; I used Morae to log mouse-clicks, facial expressions, sound.

The Results
The project was delivered ontime, on budget and provided the following deliverables to the client:

  • A number of concrete recommendations that allowed the client to identify key ‘points of pain’ within the system
  • A detailed set of user and test cases would allow any future testing to refer to a standardised framework
  • A design guide/pattern library with rules for icon placement, colour, menu style. This ensured the system worked consistently between different functions.
  • Creation and management of an issue log so that Scottish Government staff would be able to document improvements and fixes to the system in a logical manner

Summary
This project was concerned with the ease with which users could input content into a system and whether they could do so in a logical and consistent manner.

It also shows what happens when testing follows a framework; without a proper testing framework it becomes very hard to keep track of why certain problems persist. By constantly monitoring testing documentation, organisations can make it easier for future changes and iterations to be made.

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