Course pages for schools – let the users decide

We have started doing ‘guerilla user testing’ for various projects. No, we are not performing animal experiments (although that is debatable 🙂 )

As designers, developers and stakeholders we are subjective and our assumptions should be challenged and directed by user feedback. After all it is for users that we are creating products – not ourselves. What is it that users need? Well, ask them…

‘Guerilla’ user-testing is a low-cost research method used in user-centred design to get feedback from users so that we can validate our design assumptions and rework the feedback in to making improvements.

Preparing the paper prototypes

It is less robust and formal than lab-based testing, but being cheaper and simpler you can increase the amount of tests. Any user testing is better than none and anyone can do it.

Our recent sprint involved designing a course page that schools can easily use. Good school course pages are key for the University – we want to present our course information in the best way possible.

So it was great to work with various teams to understand the different needs of the business. Discovery work was then done to explore analytics, read reports and think about our personas to get a sense of where and how our users are finding our course information and what’s important to them.

We then progressed to basic design ‘assumptions’ and began ‘guerilla’ user-testing with paper prototypes.

We asked many different users: prospective UCAS students, undergrads and postgrads. Although everyone is different, we managed to get general trends in feedback and that has helped us craft our designs to cater for the majority.

Getting user testing feedback

Clear, simple, uncluttered content was the winner. Amongst many things, we learnt about how they expect apply links to work and what related course information they’d expect to see. A better and clearer design for the intended users being the outcome.

Anyone can do it! So get out of your office and get feedback from your users – whatever your product, it will be better off for it.

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