DOMAIN: Seattle Area Feline Rescue (http://www.seattleareafelinerescue.org/) mobile website
SITE PURPOSE: Find homeless, neglected and abused cats permanent, stable homes. Provides information about the rescue, how to adopt a cat, how to volunteer, and how to donate.
METHODOLOGY: The three participating testers were briefed individually on what the test was about, and were told that this was a test of the website, not them. None of the testers had ever been on the site before. They were allowed to take a few minutes to look at the site before beginning the three tasks. They were encouraged to vocalize all of their thoughts, since this would help me (the tester) understand their thought process as they navigated through the site. The time the test took ranged from 5 to 15 minutes.
REASON FOR TEST: For this week’s assignment I recorded three volunteers as they tested the Seattle Area Feline Rescue mobile site. I read a script detailing basic instructions and asked questions to learn more about each individual’s mobile internet use. I tested two users on my computer using the “inspect element” feature, selecting the device that most closely resembles what they use. For the third participant, I tested the user on her personal mobile phone while recording with my phone.
Based on my personal online usability research for non-profits, I found that animal shelters and their customers have the following goals for their websites.
- Adopt an animal
- Make an online donation
- Register to volunteer
- Sign up for newsletter
- Reach out for assistance
- Download a resource
I asked the participants to complete three tasks:
- From the home page, can you find out which cats are available for adoption?
- From the home page, can you figure out where the Volunteer Form is?
- From the home page, can you figure out how to donate via Amazon Smile ?
None of the participants had any trouble determining that this was Seattle Area Feline Rescue and that this rescue specialized in cats. One tester was a cat owner, the other two didn’t have/ not interested in cats.
Mobile Usability Summary:
Keep relevant content front and center: The organization has a mobile version of their site. For all 3 tasks, mobile users were forced to scroll across and down taking significant steps ( about 5 clicks) to eventually find what they’re looking for. They thought the site was easy to use, although somewhat “clunky” on the mobile device. The important things were buried under paragraphs of copy and slow-loading images, which is valuable real-estate on a mobile device.
Suggestion 1: Make it easy to access the key pages of mobile site by placing them prominently near the top and center of your page. According to case studies , responsive design with well-placed buttons doubles giving on mobile devices.
Suggestion 2: Your copy must be short and sweet. Online visitors don’t read, they skim. And mobile users skim even more. Reduce the amount of text you have on each page and break up longer blocks of text with headings. Use an easy-to-read font size and type. Choose shorter sentences and clear calls to action over long paragraphs.
For anonymity, I will not share the participants names, but they answered the above questions in the following way:
User 1: On the internet “all the time”. Mobile about 50%.
Device tested: Samsung Galaxy S4 via inspect element on Macbook Pro
Network: Regular 4G
Task 1: User 1 inspired me to add task “Find available cats”
Task 2: Initially expected to find the volunteer form in the “Volunteer” drop down menu. Had to scroll to the bottom of the page and look around a bit, but found in in about 2 minutes.
Task 3: From the homepage, was torn between the “Donate” link and the “More” link. Clicked on donate, took a few minutes to scroll, but found the link to Amazon Smile program at the bottom of the page hidden in text. The rescue also has an Amazon “Wish List” that donors can buy directly for the rescue.
User 2: On the internet 2-3 hours/day. Mobile ONLY.
Device tested: LG Optimus L70 via inspect element on Macbook Pro
Network: Regular 4G
Task 1: Found available cats right away. The cats listings were often duplicated, to some missing pictures, or multiple cats (like 5) per profile. Overwhelmed by selection.
Task 2: Clicked on the volunteer drop-down. Had to scroll quite a bit to find the volunteer form .
Task 3: From the homepage, like user 1, was torn between the “Donate” link and the “More” link. Clicked on donate, took a few minutes to scroll, but found the link to Amazon Smile.
User 3: On the internet 10-12 hours/day. Mobile 95%.
Device tested: Samsung Galaxy Note
Network: Regular 4G
Task 1: Found cats after a few minutes. Had to scroll – thought she might be able to adopt the cat that was in the cover photo.
Task 2: Clicked on the volunteer drop-down. Found volunteer form very fast (30 seconds).
Task 3: From the homepage, like user 1 & 2, was torn between the “Donate” link and the “More” link. Clicked on donate, took a few minutes to scroll. Was expecting to find the Amazon logo. First found the rescue’s Amazon Wishlist . After a few more minutes of scrolling, found the Amazon Smile link. Note: thought the donation page looked a bit amateur and disorganized. Felt it could be more prominently displayed.