Final Case Study
Usability Testing on Boston University
The intention of this study was to analyze how a user discovers specific areas on a website, while pin pointing areas of confusion, frustration and friction in the overall user experience. Out of a list of college websites, I chose to test BU.edu.
Commonly referred to as BU, Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. It is ranked #11 in the state with approximately 33,000 students and a 29% acceptance rate.
The Pain Point
Amongst a lot of cosmetic issues with this site, like the disconnect of the University’s branding, lack of visual connectivity and disorganized content, there was one structural feature that caused some frustration with my users.
They had difficulty deciphering the hierarchy of the navigation and they weren’t exactly sure where to go once landing on the site.
Process to Solution
Once having my users pull up the site I watched how they interacted with it and noted how many clicks it took to do required actions. Based on these short observations, I was able to conclude that the user needs a clear direction and purpose when it comes to a website like this.
Solution via Paper Prototype
My Solution: create a simplified navigation that’s as clear as possible for the user
Out of the list of tasks I had my users do, the biggest area of concern was the navigation. They found it overwhelming, especially with the extensive dropdown mega menu. They stated there wasn’t a sense of hierarchy or initiative to navigate further–assuming this results into extremely poor conversion rates.
In my paper prototype, I condensed the mega menu into individual dropdowns, only allowing the user to see an overview of one pages’ content at a time. I also condensed the tabs into essential pages that are typically on a University’s website: begin with Academics, Admissions, Research, Faculty, Students and Explore.
Navigational properties are important when considering the audience that will be using it. Because it is an essential feature to any digital product, it’s important to keep in mind what you want your user to engage with and how you want to guide your users throughout your product.
Keep it simple!