Navigate to the Right Direction
Accedo conducts user testing to determine the optimal menu design.
There are many different ways to display the exact same information. With so many options it becomes a challenge to determine which is best. We had four different menu designs and were unsure which one to use. Each person involved in the decision making process had an opinion, however, we wanted facts. Thus we conducted a usability test.
Our Goal: To compare four different menu designs for web applications
All participants completed a usability test of 20 questions. Participants saw a random menu paired with either a difficult or easy task. The task involved finding specific information by clicking through the menu.
We were interested in three specific metrics.
- How fast the user could use the menu design on onset. Some participants began the test with Menu 1, others with Menu 2, 3 or 4. This measure essentially explains how intuitive the design is, or how easy it is to use on first trial.
- The next measure we were interested in was learning, or how long it took for the users to master the navigation system.
- Our final measure was preference scores. At the end of the test, participants got to see all four different menus side by side and stated which one (if any) was their favourite, and why.
Although we tried to make our test as unbiased as possible, the test did rely on some existing knowledge of geography. As a control we included a geography question to see what the baseline level was for all participants. If a participant was especially bad, we would have excluded them from our analysis. No such participant was found. In addition, we included 3 distractor questions. These questions served to disrupt memory, and to measure baseline responses. This way we could see how long individuals took to load the question and respond.
Results: we have a winner!
We performed a chi square test, which measures the observed amount compared to expected (if all menus were equal). The results of this test show that significantly more people prefered one menu over the other 3 menus (p<0.05). Those who picked the runner up picked it for it being “familiar”, while those who picked the winner said it was “easier to use” and “better organised”.
The menus are not different when participants are given an easy task, however the winning menu is the fastest when a more difficult task is administered.
Finally, with practice all menus are about the same by the end of the test. This is expected, the menus are different in terms of ease of use when you begin, but with experience you master the different menus and they’re all equally as good.
An age old adage advises that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. However, we at Accedo want to determine not only if it’s broken, but how we can do it better. This line of thinking leads us to question our choices, and allows us to make the most informed decisions. We strive to combine not only intuition and experience, but real user-data to create the best products possible.
György Bokros, Ranya Amirthamanoharan, and José Somolinos