Website usability testing – new homepage navigation

New homepage design

New homepage design

Usability testing in December focussed on the proposed Warwickshire Direct homepage re-design. We changed the format for this session as we wanted lots of results and didn’t need to go into as much depth as usual.

We wanted to see how efficient the new home page design is at getting people to where they want to go, plus show us if there are any issues or problems which we’ve overlooked when designing the page.

The task

The task was to spend 5 minutes using an iPad to navigate to 5 or 6 of the listed pages using the new homepage design – with free chocolates thrown in.

Ten people took part in the tests, which gave us some good data about the new design and about using tablets to navigate our website. The pages/tasks to findwere:

  1. Renew a library book
  2. School closures
  3. Kingsbury Water Park opening times
  4. All council jobs
  5. Find a bus timetable
  6. School holiday dates
  7. Gritting routes
  8. Fostering in Warwickshire
  9. Add an event to the website
  10. Latest Warwickshire news
  11. Report a pothole
  12. Princes Drive recycling centre
  13. Finding local childcare
  14. A list of councillors
  15. Support for carers


From the pages tested, almost all were found successfully and without too much bother. Pages that people got stuck on were:

  • Support for carers – user ended up at fostering pages and couldn’t find the main support page.
  • Kingsbury Water Park opening times – user was not familiar to the area and didn’t know it was a country park. They assumed it was a water park (swimming pools and slides) and looked under libraries and leisure. Once we pointed out it was a country park the user was able to back-track and find the relevant page.
  • Report a pothole – A user missed the icon on the homepage and navigated through to the roads and travel pages. They eventually found the page however it took a few more clicks that it should have been.

Out of the 10 people who took part, 8 said that they found the tasks easier than expected while 2 said it was as expected. No one said the tasks were more difficult that expected.chart1 (1)

Outcomes and improvements

Header on the news box

People mentioned that there wasn’t anything to tell them what the box on the top right hand side was for. We have added a heading for “Latest News” at the top of this box which links through to the News website.

Larger text for page sub links

We had a lot of comments that the sub-menu links on the main body of the homepage were too small, they looked like plain text and they didn’t realise they could be clicked on. This could have been due to using a the smaller screen (iPad) to view the site. We have increased the size of these links to make them a bit more readable and obvious. We will also do further testing to see if they should be bold, underlined or to have something else added to make them seem like an obvious link.

Links on navigation landing pages were untidy

Most people did not use the sub-menu links (see above), instead clicking on the main heading to go to the section landing page. This highlighted the need to update and tidy up these landing pages as some of them did not have all the links on. We will go through these pages and update  them to fit in with the new homepage navigation.

Logo a bit small, did not recognise as Warwickshire County Council

We received a couple of comments about the logo, saying it was too small and that it couldn’t be recognised as a  Warwickshire County Council website. These are branding issues that we will raise in the appropriate meetings and discuss when looking at new header/footer designs for the website.


3 responses to “Website usability testing – new homepage navigation

  1. Pingback: Homepage design survery results « The Project·

  2. Looking at the screenshot, this appears to be a significant improvement upon the original v2 design.

    Are the various lists sorted by popularity or some other criteria?

    • Thanks, most of the design choices and are based on feedback received through these usability sessions.

      We use web analytics (Google and Crazy Egg) to provide us with information about which pages/services are the most popular. Some of the links maybe common sense inclusions or best-fit, but could possibly change depending on analytics results going forward.

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