Frances SibbetHead of Web Team
We’re delighted with the results of both rounds of usability testing that Fluent have carried out. The Fluent team grasped the issues and the complex subject matter very rapidly, which went down well with our management team. We have used the 15 minute highlights DVD to get across to staff how areas of the website have been improved. And most importantly, our website visitors are very satisfied with the changes.
As a major government department with a wide range of online audiences, DFID wants to ensure that their website delivers the best possible user experience to all visitors. A major factor in this is to ensure that the website efficiently explains DFID’s mission and purpose to the UK public and to communicate clearly how UK taxpayers’ money is spent in improving lives throughout the world through the international development budget.
Like many public sector organisations, it is essential for DFID to improve digital services whilst making the best use of available budgets.
We carried out an initial Expert Review and discussed our findings with the DFID web team and identified areas of the website to test with users. We conducted a behavioural research and design study on the DFID website which provided insight into how users interact with the site. As we progressed with the usability testing, our design team built alternative clickable prototypes for key areas of the site that users found challenging , and we tested them out and adjusted them each day in response to user feedback.
This enabled us to quickly identify and resolve key usability issues as well as validating the issues found in our initial Expert Review. We also created and tested solutions to key issues and we developed innovative new features to address issues of content, navigation and interactivity of datasets.
This approach bypassed the need for expensive redesign, rebuild and testing that would have otherwise taken months to implement.
Following user feedback from the first round of testing, DFID completely restructured their website navigation, including introducing a section called simply “What we do” to communicate their goals, objectives and activities in the simplest way to users.
In addition to design recommendations, our research gave DFID real insight into the mindset of their audiences including web research habits, social media and brand perception.
We went on to carry out further research on the DFID Projects Database [http://projects.dfid.gov.uk/], a resource which contains details of DFID projects throughout the world, including project budget and expenditure as well as aid effectiveness. As part of government transparency initiatives and following the success of the website restructure, it was essential for DFID that the same high-quality user experience was offered to users across the website.
The changes and improvements in user experience in this section were commended both by users and the press, including a mention in the Guardian… " for best practice in user experience design".
DFID chose to work with Fluent because of the skills of our research consultants in getting the most from each participant and because of our dynamic, agile approach to user experience research and ability to design and test solutions mid-research. Using our in-house design team we reduced design and development time and costs whilst providing deep insight into users’ behaviour across the website.