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Our first prototype was very simple: A big search box and seven links.

Testing our first prototype

We worked quickly through our first design sprint and built a simple prototype to test a few assumptions with real users.

Last week we did some sketching and honed in on our first prototype design for an upgraded usask.ca homepage. We translated that sketch into a real webpage and then the design team took it out into the world to test it with real people.

The prototype was informed by a few basic assumptions:

  • Most users need the ability to search
  • Most users need a link to PAWS
  • We have diverse audiences with different needs
  • The homepage doesn’t need to do too much

The team asked 22 users to complete a few basic tasks starting from the prototype as a homepage. They asked each user to rate their experience as either frustrating, satisfactory, or delightful. The results were:

  • Frustrating: 23%
  • Satisfactory: 68%
  • Delightful: 9%

Looking at this data alone suggests the design is merely ok. It is satisfying some basic needs but still frustrating to nearly a quarter of the users in the test. And not many considered it particularly delightful.

Users were asked some additional questions that can illuminate where the prototype needs to improve. While many people appreciated the simplicity of the design, a fair bit of feedback suggested the simplicity went too far: 

  • “Like that it's more focused than the current homepage - needs to work not just for students but staff, community also. There's no mention of aboriginal initiatives which is a strategic priority. If no maps, parking services needs to be added to list of campus services.”
  • “This design does not engage potential students, and information is not readily available unless you know exactly what to search for and where to look. It's a shame that there's no news feed or event feed as that helps engage people.”
  • “It's a very simple website, but feel more information could be displayed to help find what they are looking for.  Where is all the news?!?”
  • “The homepage is a bit boring, but it’s a fine line of too busy and not enough”

Download all the feedback data

We clearly have some work to do to get the design to a “minimum viable homepage” worthy of testing with a larger audience. One more design sprint should get us close. 

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