Hertfordshire County Council – Testing Continuously During Design
Hertfordshire County Council has responsibility for services across the whole county.
Working with the central government and other organizations, it delivers a range of provisions to more than a million people who live, work and travel in the county. Services such as local schools, libraries, support for the elderly or vulnerable, and roads & pavements maintenance are all provided by the county council.
Hertfordshire County Council is based at County Hall, in Hertford, with three other principal locations in Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead and Welwyn Garden City.
As a public service organization, Hertfordshire County Council is committed to providing the very best level of service provision for its residents but with the tight budgetary constraints that are a reality of modern local government.
In the past, Hertfordshire’s Web Team undertook some qualitative face-to-face research in its network of libraries across the county using a video capture tool to record how people completed usability tasks centered around its website.
It also had the services of a local panel that would provide regular feedback in their free time. The problem was that this method of research was very time intensive with user feedback generated on a small scale.
With a website launch project looming, the team decided to look at new ways to improve its user research to provide a greater level of insight and put the customer at the centre of everything they were doing.
Furthermore, the Council had highlighted the website as a means of delivering cost and efficiency savings. With more of its customers going online to access information about its services, driving a better user experience on the Hertfordshire site could reduce the pressure on its call centre and save money.
Hertfordshire County Council assessed a number of different usability tools before making the decision to work with UserZoom in 2015. UserZoom provides the platform for the organization to conduct more frequent testing, on a larger scale, continuously throughout the design process.
“We wanted one tool that covered all our testing requirements throughout the whole development cycle”, said Richard Smith, Digital Product & UX Manager, Hertfordshire County Council. “The other products we looked at were quite piecemeal, and would require us to buy different tools from different places. To have one suite of products from UserZoom which did it all was a major benefit for us.”
Hertfordshire’s Web Team uses UserZoom’s software to conduct remote usability testing with task-based research which measures the user experience of between 125 and 200 per test. Working alongside the existing qualitative testing, this gives the Council the hard numbers to back up design changes to the website.
One of the major benefits of remote usability testing has been the quick turnaround of the research, allowing the team to obtain crucial information early on in the design process and use this to influence the process. “(Now) if there is a difference of opinion in the team, or we are unsure about something, remote usability testing gives us the information to inform design and development decisions.”
For more examples of how UserZoom can benefit your business and customers, check out the rest of our UX case studies.
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