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Expero Inc. research

Challenge
Expero is an Austin-based UX and development shop focused on designing and building interfaces for complex systems, mostly in science and technology. They had recently updated their their company website and were ready for some user direction.

Action
I performed moderated user testing on their website, recruiting 8 decision makers in tech and industry (no small task). 

Result
Expero has since updated their website with all recommendations from my initial report.

method

Principal Interview
My interview with the owners revealed that Expero’s niche was in providing UX and development services for complex industry software. Their goals for the website were:
• generate leads for all services
• target bigger customers for long-term engagement with all services
• enrich content

Personas
There were 3 basic personas for recruitment, provided by Expero. This is a nutshell version; the full length personas can be found in the full report.

Gary – previous client in need of UX services
Arun – new client in need of UX services
Candice – new client looking for UX training

Participant Recruiting
This was perhaps the most challenging part of this study. We settled on 10 participants, but because our user base consisted of decision makers in industry software companies or academics developing complex software (busy and important people who don’t have the time and don’t need the $50 Amazon gift cards we were offering), I was only able to recruit 6 participants for this part of the study (which the principals decided would be enough – and actually I recruited many more than that, but those recruits went to a different part of the study which I was not a part of).

I tried to find participants through LinkedIn or through other software/UX organizations, but in the end, networking through the university turned out to be my strongest asset in finding participants.

testing

Test Development
I began with looking at the results from the stakeholder interview and digging through the Expero website. Most of the user tasks for a company website consist of looking for information, so my tasks were based around looking for who’s, what’s, and how’s, assisted by 11-point-scale post-task surveys to collect quantitative data on participant impressions.

After I developed a testing outline, I wrote a script with an opening disclaimer, tasks, follow up questions, instructions for myself, and plenty of blank space for note taking. All of this can be found in the original Expero Usability Report.

Test Implementation
I facilitated all tests, recorded them, and took ample notes by hand. Two tests were carried out remotely through GoToMeeting, one test was performed in the IX Lab at the university, and three tests were performed at Expero’s office. The Expero stakeholders observed 5 of the 6 tests, and each test was approximately one hour long.

Analysis / reporting

Data Analysis
I transcribed all of my notes then put them into a sticky-note program called Mural.ly. From there, I organized the notes into types of comments (positive, neutral, critical) and color coded them based on the participant and the persona they fit (primary colors = Gary, Secondary colors = Arun). I created an affinity diagram for each page of the site tested, then grouped the user comments based on similarity. I wanted to derive some quantitative data from the qualitative data, so I counted these comments and put them into a huge spreadsheet, in order to calculate user sentiment.

Usability Report
Although Expero typically does it’s usability reporting on slides, I decided to produce a formal report, which turned into a 97 page undertaking. Using the sentiment analysis and qualitative data, I built a usability narrative for each webpage and redlined screen shots in order to communicate problem areas and possible solutions.

Result

Expero has since updated their website with all recommendations from my initial report.