This blog was written by Anne Walker
Before we launch anything new, we bring best practice to our designs and test them with a range of different people. But we know that once we make something live, there will be lots more to learn from how people actually use the new thing and from the feedback that people give us about using it.
That’s what happened with our beta website after it went live on 29 February 2019 .
Checking performance and feedback
To check how the beta website is working in practice, we:
- give a feedback option on each page
- have a survey for users who are happy to give more detailed feedback
- test to check how each part of it works with users
- check data on how people interact with the site
Those sources of evidence have led us to make changes to our:
- on page feedback form
Homepage design issues
If you land on a homepage, you want to see enough to anticipate your needs without scrolling further down the page. Anything ‘below the fold’, as it’s charmingly known from newspaper days, can get lost or feel frustratingly hidden.
Your feedback via the ‘on-page’ feedback section and the survey meant we prioritised getting the homepage tweaked to make it more user friendly.
Your feedback suggested we should:
- reduce the size of the images
- put more information above the fold
- make the text smaller – we can’t do this for accessibility reasons
We’ve gone from:
As more content is added to the beta site, we’ll continue to redesign and test the homepage to make sure users are finding what they need to easily.
The latest feedback supports our changes
One month after the beta website had gone live, and before we’d changed the homepage design, we had:
- 56 people who said ‘yes’, the homepage was helpful
- 21 people who said either ‘yes, but’ or ‘no’ to the same question
This means 27% of users who commented wanted to see improvements to the homepage.
After more than 3 months, we’ve had:
- 113 people who said ‘yes’, the homepage was helpful
- 27 people who said either ‘yes, but’ or ‘no’ to the same question
This means we’ve reduced that to 19%, and we’ll keep listening to feedback to continue to make improvements.
Total since launch Latest data
(28 Feb to 28 Mar 2019) (28 Feb to 7 Jun 2019)
We’ve also improved the feedback form so it’s easier to engage with, but we know there are further improvements to make on this for mobile users who have described it as ‘in the way’.
With a small team, we’re always trying to balance delivering new work with improving what we have on the beta website. While we have some ideas for design tweaks and have done some usability testing on the ideas for the following pages, we have further testing to do to ensure they provide a better user experience:
Both changes, if we go ahead with them after testing, will improve how the information on these pages is displayed.
We also have some ideas for improving search for our users, but those still need to be tested.
We cannot make improvements without our users and our stakeholders. We have thick skins and want to hear constructive feedback so we can continue to improve the website for our users.
If there’s something you think could be improved, please contact us with your comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.