It’s fascinating to see people use our websites – it lets us see where they have problems and how we can make sites easier to use. We use this research to help us develop, structure and improve the usability of our undergraduate and postgraduate websites at Newcastle University.
We base our testing on training provided by the Nielsen Norman Group, a market leader in the user experience field.
But did you know that you only need five people to test a site?
That doesn’t seem many, but data from your first user gives immediate results – you’ve already learned almost a third of all there is to know about the usability of your design.
The second user will repeat some things with maybe a few new things, but you don’t learn as much as you did from that first user. Same goes for the third user, in fact the more users you have, the less you learn because you will keep seeing the same things again and again.
However, we can’t effectively test with just one user as you risk being misled by the specific behaviour of that single user.
So in this case at least, five is the magic number.
User Research topics
We will share case studies of the user research we’ve completed recently on our postgraduate and undergraduate websites, and how the findings directly informed changes to content, design and layout.
We’ll also take a look at the latest developments in user research – and let you know our plans for the next batch of user testing.
We may even be asking for volunteers…
In the meantime, take a look at this introduction to usability by the Nielsen Norman Group.
Suggest a topic
If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover – get in touch via the comments or via our website (University login required).