GoBus.ie was identified as a platform of interest that that would be suitable for the group project. It was a functional site but the experience of actually using it was very poor. Although It did allow people to perform the functions like making a booking there were lots of room for improvement as it violated a lot of the 10 usability heuristics laid out by Jacob Nielsen (1995).
To Help with establishing the goals of the project the team did an initial evaluation of GobBus.ie. On reading Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery Made Easy I decided to perform a mico “Do it yourself” usability test.The purpose was not to prove anything at this stage but rather to gain insights into the usability of the site in order to improve the overall user experience. Steve Krug, (2010). Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems. New Riders.
Most usability problems have nothing to do with domain knowledge – the subject matter of the site or product. They are mainly related to navigation, page layout, visual hierarchy, etc. and are problems that almost everybody will encounter. (Steve Krug, 2010). There are many things you can learn by almost anybody using the site. Try to find user who reflect your target audience, but at the same time try can make allowances for the differences between the people you test and the actual users. Would the users problem be the same for the target audience?
In order to gain a better understanding of usability tests I watched the “Demo Test” from rocketsurgerymadeeasy.com to give me an idea on how to perform a test. I followed Krugs’ suggestions on creating a Do-it-youself test by producing a list of tasks for the testee/participant to perform, making sure the tasks reflect actual user goals, such as booking a trip. I then expanded each task into a scenario to give them context and inform the participant what they need to know and do. (Steve Krug, 2010).
The test was setup in a controlled environment, in so far as I was recording it in a quite space with little to no disruption and also during the whole test was taking notes on the things they said and did. There were 6 tasks to perform and as suggested by Krug I used cue cards one for each scenario, which was read and handed to the test at the beginning of each task.
I complied my findings into a Word doc and distributed to the other team members who were applying heuristic evaluations to the site. Once we had gone though this initial research we identified the aspects of the site design that were important to the target user. Having scoped out the factors thought to most likely be the drivers of the project we decided to deal with the critical UX issues that most influenced the suitability of the design for a typical usage situation. We defined the project goal as improving the users experience with GoBus.ie by simplifying the booking process, improving access to timetables and ticket management.