Stating the obvious, usability guru Jakob Nielsen reports today that:
Redesigning an intranet for usability often more than doubled the use of these award-winning designs from ten public-sector organizations.
Shortly after I filed this webly wisdom under “duh,” I read through the article and found buried deep in the middle what you can do on your own to make your church and/or charity’s website or intranet more usable.
Here is the phrase that pays:
Quite appropriately, user testing was the most common usability method, and was used in 70% of the winning projects.
Allow me to enumerate this into plain English:
- Those who test their intranets often wind-up with more usable intranets.
- Those with more usable intranets enjoy greater use and more successful use by their user base.
- What goes for government intranets goes for your church website.
Yeah, okay, so that last point was mine, still, how do you go about testing your church’s website without incurring Nielsen’s $10,000 consulting fee?
My first suggesting is purchasing, and then reading, Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” In the book, he not only discusses important issues such as navigation and layout, but he also dedicates two chapters on how to perform what he calls “Usability testing on 10 cents a day.”
Once you’ve read this, then I suggest you not create your own usability test from scratch, but instead customize one from the following online resources:
- U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services – Usability: Methods for Designing Usable Web Sites
- The Usability Tookit from the Usability Special Interest Group
- University of Washingotn – Guide to Planning and Conducting Usability Tests
For as it is written in Hacks 8:36, “See, here are specifications! What prevents you testing your site?“