For the mobile usability test I chose to review the mobile application for edx.org.
Edx is a MOOC or massively open online course website that aggregates courses from schools like Harvard and UC Berkeley and provides the course in an online format for free with an optional paid certificate. There are several courses on computer science and web development.
Demographic tested: Men and women aged 32-60.
Test subjects were asked to perform the following tasks while verbalizing their thoughts.
1. Sign up for a Edx account
2. Browse at least two computer science courses
3. Enroll is one computer science class
4. Watch a video lecture or read some course text
Testers had no difficulty signing up for an account on a mobile device. The site presented a simple and intuitive options for signing up for an account including signing up with social accounts like Facebook. The form inputs were optimized for mobile devices. Once the testers were finished submitting their information they were presented with a message stating “You’re almost there!” that asks the user to check their email to confirm their account as the final step before enrolling in courses. This caused some confusion because you don’t have to check your email before enrolling in courses. Also it can be cumbersome to have to navigate away from the site to check your email before continuing.
Testers had no difficulty browsing computer science courses on the site. One tester scrolled through all the featured course previews on the main page instead of navigating to the computer science category, filtering, or searching.
Testers had no difficulty enrolling in a course and quickly found the “Enroll Now” button on each course description page. Once the tester enrolled in a course and navigated to the home dashboard or “My Courses” page the page was not optimized for mobile. The dashboard page does not fit the mobile screen so the user has to scroll right to see all the information.
One tester had difficulty watching a course video because after they navigated to the course page they could not find the link to the lectures. After several minutes they finally found a link at the top navigation of the course page titled “Course” which led to the course lecture videos.
Analysis and Suggestions
The course page provides a lot of useful information in bite sized chunks like a video introduction, the course description, frequently asked questions, and student reviews. The breadcrumbs provide a sense of location within the website.
Further down the page there is a terrific table that provides the most important information like price and difficulty in a scannable format.
Additionally when I play a video from the course, it automatically redirects me to my YouTube app on my phone. I was surprised that I was taken away from the website and it would have been nice if I received a warning or option to watch the video at the website.
The message at the end of the sign up process stating “You’re almost there!” and asking the user to confirm their email can cause confusion. It is not clear whether this step is actually required because testers were able to continue and enroll in courses. This step can also cause unnecessary difficulty for someone using a mobile device since it is more difficult to check their email and then return to the site.
After users have signed up for a course and navigate to the “My Courses” page they are presented with a dashboard page where the content does not fit the screen. Optimizing the dashboard page for mobile can improve usability of the app.
Once a user has enrolled in a course and navigated to the course page it is not obvious how to view the course material like video lectures. There is a small text link titled “Course” at the top of the page but it is easy to miss. This can be made more obvious and an additional button link can be added to the page body to improve usability of users attempting to view the course material.