This week we began another phase of user testing of MyLutherNet. We are in the initial stages of redesigning some of the navigational structure of the portal and wanted to get as much user feedback as possible. This particular redesign focuses on the registration, bill pay, and degree progress functionality of MyLutherNet. So our friends from the Registrar's Office have been helping us out with the testing.
The type of user testing that we've been conducting does not (perhaps surprisingly) involve the computer in any way. We've been asking volunteers to participate in a card sorting exercise. We've written words on index cards that represent certain content and functionality within MyLutherNet and have asked students to sort the cards into groups that make sense to them. They are then asked to name the groups.
Card sorting is a very simple way to test navigational structure before actually building that structure into a web site. It's cost effective (we just needed to buy a pack of index cards), quick (typically takes fifteen minutes for a user to complete), and generally gives insightful results (whenever designers sit down with their users they are bound to be surprised, enlightened, [dismayed!] by something the users do).
We've tested about 8 students already and plan to test about fifteen in total. We are picking them at random, so if any students would like to participate, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are excited by the prospect of making MyLutherNet more user-friendly and allowing students to make the most out of its functionality. Stay tuned!