Port Washington Children's Center
-Usability Testing Study-
Client: Port Washington Childrens Center
Improving the usability of the Port Washington Childrens Center to enhance the experience for the parents who are using the website to utilize their services.
User testing, Participant recruitment, UX Researcher, secondary moderator, Analyzing testing data, designing recommendations, creating Mockups,
Esha Mohol, Laiba Sarwar, Julia Maloof
The goal of the Usability study was to discover problem areas that users could face while using the pwchildrenscenter.org website as well as uncover opportunities to aid in improving the user experience while they browse through the website.
We conducted eight remote user testing, from which the evaluators found a total of 3 unique problems. These problems are explained and recommendations are suggested to help improve or solve the issues identified.
Introducing a search feature along with having the main Call-to-action buttons supported by text and visual for better understanding.
Split Tuition and donation pages
Have separate pages that detail the tuition and donation payments, providing a link to pay so users have more information the payments they are making
Having clear CTAs within the specific program sections to allow the user to register for the programs will give them confidence in their actions.
The Port Washington Children’s Center was established in 1977 as a non-profit, non-sectarian child care center.
They provide childcare for for young children of the age group 18 months to 12 years in Port Washington, New York.
We were introduced to the client to understand their expectations from the study. We discussed the areas they were looking to test to understand if their content was easy to understand, navigation was easy to grasp, and a few specific details like the donations page, enrollment and labeling that they wanted to verify if the process had any issues.
Remote Moderated Usability Testing
Problems & Recommendations
1. PRE- TESTING
As part of the pre-testing questionnaire, we tried to reach out to residents of Port Washington and parents who have already registered their children into programs within the organization, later expanding to residents of NYC. The reason for this was to be able to test it with their actual target audience so the results would be more precise.
RECRUITMENT FOR INTERVIEW
Although an email was circulated to the clients reach to find participants for the study, the most efficient method was found to be with the help of a flyer stating the intentions of the study. With the help of this, we were able to reach 114 candidates allowing us to schedule interviews with the participants. 8 Interviews were conducted after splitting ourselves into pairs.
Figure 1: Google form for screening participants
2. REMOTE MODERATED USER TESTING
To test the usability of the website organically, we gave the participants 4 tasks that revolved around enrollment, donation, labeling, and the mission statement as these were the categories that the client wanted to test in terms of effectiveness. The test was conducted remotely using Google Meets and Zoom. The participant was asked to share their screen while they went through the tasks.
Figure 2: Conducting remote moderated user interviews
We conducted the interviews in pairs with one persons duty as the moderator and the others' as the note taker. I have personally conducted 3 interviews for the project.
Pre- Test questionnaire
Performing the directed tasks
Post- test questionnaire
List of Tasks:
You are interested in enrolling your child in a program. Find a program that might benefit your child's learning - and enrollment-related information (or required documents)
You are looking to send your child to the center, can you find the transportation offered?
You are looking to donate to pwchildrenscenter.org, where would you go?
After reading the mission statement, what are some of your immediate thoughts/ impressions?
3. ANALYSIS OF DATA
With our initial set of notes taken from the interviews, we began our analysis of the data. We wrote down into broader categories what the expectations were from the participants, their thoughts whether positive or negative, where they had difficulties, and areas of improvement as suggested by the participants.
With this, we were able to identify patterns that emerged and saw that a lot of the participants were performing certain tasks similarly. For example, for the task of finding enrollment information, they would successfully navigate themselves to the right program for them, but would subsequently get lost in finding related documents. Such patterns were documented and highlighted in this process.
Figure 3: Analysis of the data that we gathered through the interviews
4. PROBLEM SOLVING
Home screen navigation on Mobile
The majority of parents that we interviewed used their phones to access the website. This brings the requirement of the website being responsive. We noticed that the navigation through the website became more difficult as the participants majorly used the home screen to reach other parts of the website. Parents were left navigating back to the home screen in multiple instances. This led to the increase in time for them to find what they were looking for, and in some instances failing to do so.
Additionally, the buttons on the home page lacked the related information to let users know what it is relevant to. Some features on the desktop view such as hovering over images were completely missed while using on the mobile view.
Figure 4: Problems illustrated on homepage
To facilitate better navigation within the website, we suggest keeping a search button to allow users to easily find what they are looking for using keywords.
Additionally, the buttons on the home page can be accompanied by supporting text and videos to help the users grasp the information much faster and clearer.
Figure 5: Suggestions illustrated for the homepage
From the participants that we interviewed, there were some concerns raised about the donations page. Many of the participants were not clear on whether they are making a tuition payment or if they are making a donation as it is unclear on the page. Another issue was that the redirection to another website was sudden and unexpected. As a result, their initial reaction was not positive and questioned the legitimacy of the payment portal.
Figure 6: Problems illustrated on donations page
One of the solutions for making the donations process better would be to have separate pages for the tuition payments and Donation payments so that the users are informed about where the money is going, providing the needed clarity.
Figure 7: Suggested new pages for tuition and donation
Another suggestion is to have a small pop-up that would inform the user about the third-party payment portal that will open up, helping them prepare for the design change, and give reassurance about the change in the website.
Something to note: To ensure that the tone of the text does not sound like a warning but reassuring, as that could be counter-productive and cause more doubt in the user.
Figure 8: Suggested new pages for tuition and donation
A key issue that was identified in our user study was with program enrollment. As part of the interview tasks, we asked the participants to find a program that was best suited for their child and enroll them in the program.
During this task, we observed that the majority of the participants were navigating successfully to explore the programs with the help of the navigation bar. The navigation bar here serves its function perfectly. However, for the second part of the task, the users were getting lost. We observed that the users would hover around the program section to find what they were looking for. Upon further questioning, a few participants explained that they were expecting to be taken to the enrollment-related page from the program section they were interested in.
Figure 9: Problems illustrated on Learning page
For the problem of sectioning the content, we recommend having a consistent visual style to clearly distinguish the different program types that are offered. This will allow the users to immediately catch the change in font, style, and color to identify the section that they have now entered.
Figure 10: Suggested changes for Learning page
Solving the problem of navigating to the enrollment-related documents could be done by having a clear Call-To-Action button where the users are able to enroll in the specific programs, as opposed to a generic enrollment form. This would give the users more confidence in the actions they have performed. Having the button near the program also matches their expressed expectations of the website, allowing for a smoother enrollment experience.
As we noticed that the participants were looking for more information, we recommend having a separate page for each of the programs. This page would be navigable from the broader ‘Learning’ page, with the help of a button that says ‘Learn more’. This will allow the Learning page to remain short and crisp and offer extra information only for those who are interested in learning more. Avoiding putting all the information on the same page (Learning Page) will make sure that the users are not overwhelmed by the information offered.
Figure 10: Suggested new pages for specific programs
Our moderated testing over the course of this semester was deeply beneficial to gaining an understanding of the Port Washington Center’s user base, their thoughts and opinions, and their needs regarding regular use of the center’s website.
We as researchers acquired a substantial amount of information around the center’s mobile and desktop web design, usability, and payment processes, all of which was used to recommend certain specific feature and design changes to improve overall client experience and usage.
After our analysis and recommendations regarding potential shifts, we took the time to speak again with the center and give a presentation to both them and our teammates in order to showcase our results. We truly enjoyed working with the center, and would be happy to help them in the future with any additional analysis!
If you are interested in learning more about the project, explore it here!