User Testing

Today I carried out an individual user testing task in which I simply presented my website to my friend and watched her interact with the site.

She immediately selected the large magnifier icon in the centre of the screen and begun searching. After this she then continued to discover the different freelancers. “Oh, it’s shuffling the user profiles” she commentated, which I was pleased about because on an initial look this might not be obvious.

After discovering various user profiles for a few minutes via the mini profile format, my tester then started to view the full profiles. She showed some confusion as to how this was distinctly different from the mini profile in terms of content. At this stage of my progress I have created some profiles, however I still need to create an upload file option for members to add to their portfolios. Consequently, at present the full profile for several of the members is a empty portfolio and so the full profile appears blank.

One aspect I need to think about is building each members portfolio. Finding several pieces of work for a portfolio could potentially be very difficult as it is highly likely that they will hold copyright licenses. I will have to ensure (and declare) all examples of work used are Creative Commons.

During the observation, my tester didn’t select the ‘Hello, [name], section where a user can view their profile. I explained to her that this shows the users profile and she suggested perhaps giving the text a roll over link of an underline to emphasise that it is a clickable link. The same issue applied to the edit profile function. I have represented the edit profile icon with a small pencil in the top right hand corner of the profile, but on reflection I think the word ‘edit’ is also required underneath the icon.

She also had some hesitation as to what to select after she had viewed a members full profile. She asked me where the ‘back’ navigation button was, or if there was another button to discover again. This was another useful observation.

In terms of design, the tester said that the design was appealing and eye-catching yet simple. She explained that the icons are useful, however corresponding text to an icon is still required.

In conclusion, the individual user testing I have carried out has been extremely beneficial and has provided me with several suggestions for areas of improvement- all of which I have taken on board and will implement into my website. I intend to carry out several other forms of user testing with specific tasks set for a user and monitor if and/or how, successful they are in completing each task.

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