The Ergonomics Society is about to embark on a redesign of its website, and ealier this month I posted out the initial user segmentation model, along with the draft user profiles and the prioritised scenarios. Now, following conversations with various folks including Tina Worthy and Richard Bye, we have an updated plan for user research.
In summary, what we plan to do is:
- Establish some baseline data for the existing site experience (so that we have something to compare with after the redesign). Richard Bye has kindly offered the use of his analytic tools in assessing this.
- Perform depth interviews with participants from the 1st four priority segments, as follows:
- Information Consumers (times 3)
- Society Members (times 3)
- Society Customers (times 2)
- 3rd Party Service Consumers (times 2)
- Note that the breakdown here is designed to reflect both the relative priorities of the segments and what we feel is realistic given the resources available.
- Hold a focus group for the Staff Information Consumers.
- Run a formative IA exercise (such as an open card sort) to establish the key organisational principles for the site content. Participants to be segmented as in (2).
Evidently, there will be a fair amount of prep involved in all of this, notably the preparation of recruitment screeners, interview protocols, scripts, etc. Note also that the analytic tools that Richard has offered will also need configuring; no doubt a key part of this will be determining precisely what metrics to measure as a baseline. I suspect we’ll need to adopt a pretty lightweight / agile approach, especially considering that most if not all of this will need to fit around existing work commitments. And we shouldn’t underestimate timelines either – it is one thing to manage delivery of a web project when everyone is directly accountable to you; quite another when everyone is lending their time on a voluntary basis.
Looking further ahead, we will also need to consider the choice of development platform. At the moment we are using phpMyAdmin, but it is likely that we will want to migrate to something more scalable and usable by a wider cross section of people (i.e. nominated content editors) in future. Lauren Morgan is currently evaluating alternatives such as Joomla and Drupal, and should be in a position to report back soon.
So, as a rough estimate, I’d say the timeline will pan out something like this:
- August: user research
- September: user research + data analysis. Output = refined segmentation model + profiles + scenarios
- October: Interaction design + visual design (proceeding in parallel in so far as that’s practicable). Output = wireframes (which could be fairly simplistic, depending on the build approach) + visual design spec. (NB we should also consider producing a style guide for the site, but I am not sure we can deliver that as well within the scope of the exisiting project)
- Nov + Dec: build. Output = CMS templates + associated tools & resources, etc.
- Jan: UAT + soft launch
- Feb: full launch
Note that I’m assuming we will interveave user feedback at suitable iteration points throughout the above timelime – as UCD specialists we should know this better than any 🙂