Usability Issues

Discuss ideas and suggestions around the LDS.org website.
VirginiaLDS-p40
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Usability Issues

Postby VirginiaLDS-p40 » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:17 pm

It is an amazing scene to witness the growing efforts on lds.org. The usability of the website (especially the Gospel Library) is generally very good.

Here are two things that stand out at me where the site could use improvement.

1) It seems that we have the real estate scheme on the front page reversed. The "above-the-fold" space on the front page of LDS.org is a wonderful representation of the Chrystus... but I think it's a waste of space I think. Am I wrong here?

2) The fly-out menus have WAY TOO MANY links to make them viable. The human eye can only handle 7 before it gets confused.

Here's a quick usability test. Have a family member familiar with the site sit down and try to find the following items using the menus:

> The Music site
> The State and Ward websites
> Information on Temples
> Sunday School information.

Have them find these items with just the menus. The results might surprise you.

I've seen my wife try again and again (wasting minutes) trying to find the login to the Ward Websites... Why does she have a problem? the menus are difficult to navigate (even harder to learn by heart) and the link to the Ward websites is "Below-the-fold"

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Postby KathrynGZ » Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:12 pm

I agree about the use of real estate, and in fact submitted almost identical feedback some time ago :) lds.org is my home page, so I'm there constantly. I like the quote of the day and on the old site could read it quickly before navigating to my ultimate destination. But now that the top banner covers about half the page on my screen (with resolution at 1024x768), I can only see the top of the quote. I find that I usually don't take time to scroll down. I would rather have the entire main screen visible without scrolling.

As far as having more than 7 options on the flyout menus, I'm okay with that--I've learned where my favorites are and can get to the scriptures or the music site quickly. Personally, I'd rather have fewer main categories and more on the flyouts than vice versa.

FWIW,
Kathryn

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:48 pm

So how would you improve the site, trying to make it look fancy too. Remember there are only a few techys (those that favor usability and effiency over prettiness) while everyone else wants a pretty website that is also usable. Any suggestions with new or old techs would be appriciated.

NOTE: I personally cannot do anything for the site but those that can do read and take your suggestions into consideration.
- David

VirginiaLDS-p40
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Postby VirginiaLDS-p40 » Tue May 01, 2007 3:58 am

The question really isn't about techies - I can find my way around pretty easily. The challenge is regular users who appreciate pretty but are getting totally lost. I'd love to know how you go about usability testing.

There are numerous software program that make a science out of usability: tracking the eye movements of users, watching the exact path of the mouse, logging the amount of time on a single page, etc...

Do you bring in members to do testing? What tasks do you have them perform?

Thanks!

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Tue May 01, 2007 5:39 am

Back before the church sponsored ward websites, I would hear about our website and what needed to be added, changed or even deleted (though I usually just modified it) on Sunday. I got input on what needed to be added, what was too difficult to find, what was broken. The other information I used was what pages were visited the most and the least and how many people or using the website and when. (Both of these are not available in LUWS)
- David

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue May 01, 2007 7:12 am

VirginiaLDS wrote:The question really isn't about techies - I can find my way around pretty easily. The challenge is regular users who appreciate pretty but are getting totally lost. I'd love to know how you go about usability testing.

There are numerous software program that make a science out of usability: tracking the eye movements of users, watching the exact path of the mouse, logging the amount of time on a single page, etc...

Do you bring in members to do testing? What tasks do you have them perform?

Thanks!

I'll try and get some of our interaction designers involved with this discussion. I wish that we had the kind of time and money it takes to do a complete usability set of test with cameras, studying eye movements, etc. but with the number of projects we have on our plate (many, many you do not see) we typically do not do as much research as maybe we should. However, I am not the expert in this area. I'll let the designers talk about the process. I will point out, however, that recently (within the last year) we have spent a lot more time in interaction design. You will notice the effects in the coming months and years.

Tom

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Postby mkmurray » Tue May 01, 2007 7:31 am

At The Generations Network (formerly MyFamily.com, Inc.), we have brought in a handful of people of different age groups for usability testing. We just set up one room with a computer, a microphone, and with a webcam pointed at where the user sits. I'm not sure what program or utility they used, but you were able to watch and listen to the user's comments, while also seeing what they were doing with the mouse on the screen (kind of a picture-in-a-picture look). I'll see if I can find out what software it was. But my point was that it only took a few hours one day and was quite simple. It was also being broadcast to us employees in real time and being archived.

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Postby chairman-p40 » Tue May 01, 2007 11:23 pm

Hi everyone,

This is Gilbert Lee. I'm currently the Lead Interaction Designer for LDS.org. Tom alerted me about this thread. I need to frequent the forums more as this is one of many good discussions to be part of.

Ever since we launched the beta version of the new LDS.org over a year ago, there has been feedback from opposite sides of the spectrum...but generally the feedback has been very positive. I was surprised by the reaction to be honest - the good and the bad. The below-the-fold issue has been raised before by members of the Church. There were lots of design considerations and we looked at lots and lots of metrics. We also did usability studies with members of the Church (on different designs), with a researcher and us watching in the other room with a video.

I guess the reason I'm saying all of this is that we are always trying to consider the needs of the members of the Church. We are continually trying to understand changing needs. And we hope you continue to give your feedback.

I also want to say that the design will change over time as we get more and more feedback. The homepage, technically, is by far the easiest thing to change on LDS.org. But we want the changes to be more evolutionary. We just had a major change so we are trying to be more careful as we move forward.

Thanks again for the feedback. We want to hear it!

-Gilbert

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Postby russellhltn » Wed May 02, 2007 12:34 am

VirginiaLDS wrote:I've seen my wife try again and again (wasting minutes) trying to find the login to the Ward Websites...


I always use [url]www.lds.org/units[/url]

aaron.mosiah.curtis
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URL Shortcuts

Postby aaron.mosiah.curtis » Wed May 02, 2007 5:31 am

I also tend to use lds.org/units to get to the LUWS. I like the short urls such as:

[url]lds.org/temples[/url]
[url]lds.org/music[/url]
[url]lds.org/newsroom[/url]
[url]lds.org/handheld[/url]
[url]lds.org/techtalks[/url]
[url]lds.org/library[/url]

I find I can direct people to specific sections of [url]lds.org[/url] easily using these urls.

However, these addresses are not consistent. For instance [url]lds.org/magazines[/url] returns an error whereas http://magazines.lds.org redirects you to the pdf page for the church magazines. http://family.mormon.org works as well as [url]mormon.org/family[/url]. The [url]library.lds.org[/url] url redirects to the old gospel library, whereas http://lds.org/library redirects to the new gospel library.

I imagine the transition to the new site is still underway, but some consistency would help me find my way around. Also, I've discovered most of these short urls by accident or trial and error. If a list could be made available, that would help as well.

Thanks.


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