Usability Testing

In recent posts I’ve talked about user research methods. Today’s method is about usability testing. Usability testing is an observation of users attempting to complete a set of tasks with your product based on scenarios. Participants interact with the product as they think aloud, and user performance is evaluated. This evaluation is based on task success, time on task, and conversion rate. Several participants are shown the same product and asked to complete the same tasks to identify usability issues. I conducted usability testing on the website I’ve been researching, Olallie Daylily Gardens. Here’s how it went.

Sessions

Two testing sessions were conducted remotely via Zoom and one session was conducted in-person. User scenarios were prompted to the participants during these testing sessions. The tasks were related to user and business goals, including:

  • Accessing directions
  • Finding information
  • Completing a shopping task

Participants

Usability testing is an observation of users attempting to complete a set of tasks with your product based on scenarios. Participants interact with the product as they think aloud, and user performance is evaluated. This evaluation is based on task success, time on task, and conversion rate. Several participants are shown the same product and asked to complete the same tasks to identify usability issues.

Tasks

Home Page Tour

Look at the home page and tell me what you make of it. What are your first impressions? Whose site do you think it is? What can you do here, and what is it for? Just look around and tell me what you are thinking. You can scroll if you want to, but please don’t click on anything yet.

Task 1

You heard from a friend of yours about an amazing garden they visited last weekend. You live a few towns away from Olallie Daylily Gardens and don’t know where its located. You decide to check the website for an address for directions. Find the written address of Olallie Daylily Gardens.

The video below is a recording from one of the testing sessions, with permission from the participant. This clip is the Home Page Tour and Task #1.

Task 2

You are an avid gardener and heard this place ships flowers right to your door. You want to research how the process works. Find out how daylilies are packed and shipped.

Task 3

You come to the Olallie website knowing you want to make an online purchase. You have received the paper catalog in the mail and found a yellow flower called Olallie Luscious Lemon that blooms in early June. Find this flower and its price.

Task 4

You’ve purchased daylilies from this garden, but have never planted them before. You’d like to know where to plant your new flowers. Find out how much sun a daylily needs.

Task 5

You hear that Olallie has the best blueberry bushes around and you want to go and pick-your-own. Find out when blueberry season is.

Recommendations

Overall, users loved the photos on the website and the video on the home page. Participants felt overwhelmed by the amount of text and content on each page. Everyone was able to complete the tasks at hand, but some provided difficulty. The search engine impressed the users. The following are recommendations from both the users and the host of the study:

  • Reduce written information and condense
  • Increase text size
  • Responsive design for all screen sizes
  • Reduce page numbers and drop-down menu options
  • Filter feature for shopping
  • Video on packing and shipping
  • A login for returning users to save information
  • Move contact information up on home page or footer

Up Next:

I will post my whole report with several UX methods on the Olallie Daylily Gardens website. Stay tuned!