To assess and comprehend Doylestown Rock Gym's website usability, I created a strategic report using several research techniques to study their offered information as well as consumers' overall experience when visiting their site.
RESEARCH METHODS: Five-Second Test,
Competitive Analysis, Single Ease Question
TEAM: Individual Project
ROLE: User Researcher
DOYLESTOWN ROCK GYM–
Who are they and what do they do?
Doylestown Rock Gym is an indoor rock climbing gymnasium based in the greater Philadelphia area. Overhangs, boulders, chimneys, caves, and lead walls are among the 12,000 square feet of indoor rock climbing experiences available at the gym. They provide rock climbing lessons, classes, and memberships for beginners to advanced climbers. Their mission is to provide high-quality indoor, outdoor, and adventure climbing experiences where experienced climbers and newcomers alike can safely practice, train, and learn to climb.
Though their main goal is to create a welcoming environment for anyone interested in rock climbing, their website’s lack of organization and layout flaws make it difficult for their ideal users to have a positive experience. Three different usability research methods were used to analyze the positive and negative aspects of their websites.
Five Second Test
Five-second testing involves showing a design to a participant for only 5 seconds in order to assess how well and quickly it communicates a message. The participant responds to questions based on their perception of the design and their memory of it. These responses are analyzed in order to determine the design’s ability to communicate with its intended audience.
The user was asked to look at the interface and answer questions without giving it much thought during the first part of the test, while the researcher took notes. The user was then asked to look away from the interface and answer more questions about the interface’s products and services in the second part of the test.
Part 1 Questions
• What kind of services does this site offer?
• What is the purpose of this website in general?
• Who would find this site useful?
Part 2 Questions
• What is the name of the company?
• What other impressions do you have of the site?
• What is the site’s most prominent feature?
Part 1 Results
The user was able to correctly identify what the product or service was for the interface as well as who would most likely find it useful. Based on the user's responses the interface was successful in displaying what exactly they offered and who would most likely be their target users.
Part 2 Results
The user expressed their dissatisfaction with the amount of information displayed in particular areas of the site and the largely contrasting color scheme. The main problems with this interface appeared to be the amount of information provided to users and the navigation used to locate that information.
This type of test is used to see how the product you're using compares to the products of your competitors. To begin, choose several locations that are similar to your own. Club Pilates and Evolution Power Yoga were chosen as Doylestown Rock Gym's competitors in this case.
The goal of this test was to see how the three sites differed in terms of navigation and to figure out why or why not certain aspects of each site created better user interactions and flow.
1. Register for a Membership
2. Sign Up for a Class
After observing how users navigated through each site, it became clear that in order for a user to successfully complete the website’s main task, it must appear somewhere on the first page, directing them to the correct area. One of the main issues observed with the Doylestown Rock Gym's site was the number of steps it took to finish the task.
When you first arrived at the two competitor websites, shown in Figures B and C, their sign-up/get-started process was front and center. Their color schemes were simple, and navigation was straightforward. When it comes to something as simple as signing up for something, an interface must instill trust in its users. There should be easily identifiable steps and information without becoming overwhelming or adding too many extra steps.
Due to the clear navigation, the user was able to quickly identify the location where they could sign up for a membership as well as the classes B and C that were available. On the other hand, with figure A, the user interactions with the site were random. Instead of knowing exactly where to go they randomly clicked around the page until they were able to complete the task.
Single Ease Question
Single Ease Question is a research method that focuses on a 7-point scale that asks a question in order to understand how difficult a certain feature is to a user. The scale goes from 1-7 going from Very Difficult to Very Easy.
The user was asked the following question...
“How difficult is it to navigate through this website?”
User 1 – 24y/o
User 1 marked the scale at a 4. He explained that although it wasn't necessarily difficult to navigate through, it was more tedious to find certain information (ex. where to sign up). He explained that there were also too many different outside links that directed you outside of the site.
User 2 – 64 y/o
User 2 gave the site a 7 because it was difficult to find what you were looking for due to the overwhelming amount of information available. She stated that the location of the material made it difficult to access certain information and that there was insufficient knowledge on how to actually join.
User 3 – 20 y/o
User 3 marked the scale at a 3 expressing that they needed to click through too many obstacles to find and figure out where they needed to go. The bold text and colors as well as the big pictures displayed on the home page were overwhelming and very distracting.
What to change and why.
Following my evaluation of user interaction within each research method, I discovered a few recommendations that could be improved to better user experience on the Doylestown Rock Gym website.
The first suggestion would be to improve the site's navigation flow. The primary goal of the Doylestown Rock Gym website is to get people to sign up for memberships and classes. The first page could be improved by removing all of the distracting text and imagery overflow and moving important information to different sections of the navigation bar. Instead of having to click through each section of the navigation bar, for example, the main sections would be displayed. The user would have no trouble figuring out where they needed to go to begin climbing with the gym.
The second suggestion would be to keep the color scheme simple. Though aesthetics aren't the most important aspect of how a user navigates through an interface, they do have a significant impact. High contrast colors can cause users to become distracted and unwilling to interact. By simplifying the color scheme it can help create a more visually pleasing atmosphere for the users.
Based on the research collected, users responded better to straightforward navigation and simple and clean visuals.
Improved Site Map–
Doylestown Rock Gym is a center that offers a variety of services to people interested in rock climbing. User experience is how a person feels while interacting with a system from the perspective of a consumer. The best way to create a positive user interaction is to consider how to provide the best functionality. Doylestown Rock Gym's website lacks clear navigation, despite its goal of providing the best experience for its visitors. Minor changes to the site's layout and color scheme, as well as more prominent features on the main page and navigation bars, could improve the overall user experience.