Working with users to improve the CCM interface

Since our last update we have completed the first round of formal user testing of the CCM Tools user interface. The tests were carried out for us by our Jisc colleagues who are experts in user research. They conducted 5 tests involving specific tasks followed by each tester (thanks to our volunteers!), and have presented us with the results.

In summary, the tests confirmed the overall value of the Tools as represented by this info graphic:

CCM User Test Results 2There was plenty of confirmation of the value and credibility of the Tools but as we expected some issues were identified with usability. NB The reason there are no measures against ‘findable’ (i.e. visibility via an internet search) and ‘accessible’ (specific accessibility assessment) is that these areas weren’t covered in the tests.

KEEPING THE GOOD BITS

Several aspects of the interface were well liked i.e. the simple uncluttered layout, and worked well in the tests. Regular users who have built up familiarity with the Tools may be pleased to know that we won’t be throwing everything out and starting from scratch but will be improving the existing design. We have therefore identified those parts which will be retained within our re-design.

One key feature identified was that the visualisation tools (i.e. graphs and maps) were not clearly enough signposted to new users. So we will be featuring these more prominently in a re-design. The graphs themselves also need some work to make them clearer to view, and we will be working to develop clearer calls to action to indicate next steps in a workflow: when and why batch searches should be used for example when too many results are returned.

WHAT NEXT

We are currently working on an initial re-design based on the user testing: this has been clarified following plenty of discussion within the team: we have been experimenting with paper prototypes, and post- it notes plastered on the office walls. Once this is complete it will be re-tested with volunteer testers, and hopefully released to existing users before the summer.

This is the first stage of work on the user interface, reflecting initial priorities. However, we also have a longer term list of recommendations for further developments which we hope to implement in the next phase of work.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

So: if you have thoughts (positive or negative) about the CCM interface please let us know and we will incorporate them in future plans. Contact Diana Massam, project manager at:

Diana.massam@manchester.ac.uk