A really interesting part of my day today was helping to test a new website from UCAS, allowing prospective undergraduates to compare student satisfaction data. So I sat there, in front of a black MacBook and a mocked-up site, talking a lot about my impressions of the design. For someone who has done web design himself, it’s fascinating!
To be honest I’m sure I wasn’t that helpful because I probably knew a little too much about how the process worked. So I knew to insist that the behaviour of the search feature should fit the user model (“I want to search by subject, or uni, or both!”) and complain that there was too much vertical scrolling through menus before you got to the actual data. The guy observing chuckled to himself when I mentioned that no one ever clicks on ‘skip to content’ links. I also attempted – and failed – to click on the big logo in the top left as a way to get back to the homepage. He scribbled it down excitedly. They did have an excellent way of presenting data using colours though, where a stronger shade indicated a greater percentage of people.
It’s just fun because I’ve sat and watched people navigate my own humble web site completely differently to how I’ve designed it. Illuminating