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Usability Research Proposal

Usability Research Study

Table of Contents

1.0 Rationale for the Usability Study


1.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. ...................
1.2 Purpose...................................................................................................................................... .
1.3 Next Steps......................................................................................................... .........................

2.0 Goals and Objectives of the Usability Study


2.1 Aesthetics and General Design.......................................................................................... .........
2.2 Content and Organization......................................................................................... ..................
2.3 Comparative Analysis..................................................................................................................

3.0 How the Usability Study will be Executed


3.1 Marketing and Recruiting Efforts...................................................................................... ...........
3.2 Methodology...................................................................................................... .........................
3.3 Analysis and Reporting........................................................................................ .......................

4.0 Budget Considerations


4.1 Usability Testing ........................................................................................................ .................
4.2 Logistical Costs.................................................................................................................. .........

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Usability Research Study

1 Rationale for Usability Testing

1.1 Introduction

The Corporate Marketing Web team is committed to ensuring that our Web site truly offers a
customer-centered environment.

Many B2B Web sites are ranked poorly against mainstream Web sites when it comes to
usability and functionality. This is due, in large part, to the fact that B2B Web sites are
substantially more complex. Many B2B use complexity as rationale for poor usability;
however, as our own site audits indicate as well as the general feedback we’ve received
regarding our site, it has become increasingly clear that creating a usable interface is
essential in enabling our customers and prospects to effectively and quickly research
products and solutions for their businesses.

1.2 Purpose

By observing representative users performing tasks in a usability test, the Corporate


Marketing web team can identify areas of weakness (along with strengths) and may develop
better approaches to satisfying user expectations. Usability testing does not aim to ensure
accuracy of information, nor does it strive to debug programming. Instead, usability testing
focuses on real users working with a real product towards real goals. Regardless of how
pretty or well designed a product may be, it is the user's experience that determines the
quality of its usability.

1.3 Next Steps

We have contracted with a third-party company, Interface Guru, to conduct usability research
sessions at the upcoming Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston, MA.
Arrangements have been made with the host of this event, CMP Media.

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Usability Research Study

2 Goals and Objectives of the Usability Study

2.1 Aesthetics and General Design

B2B Web sites often prevent users from getting the information they need to research
solutions.

Is the Web site pleasing to our users? Does it create a good first impression?

First impressions can make or break potential transactions. On average, people spend less
than thirty seconds on our Home page before deciding to stay or go. Our customers and
prospects judge our company’s competence by the way the Web site looks. An organized
and coherent Web site can exude trustworthiness and competence. Ensuring that our Web
site is useful and usable shows respect for our customers.

Is the most important information above the fold? Do we provide subtle clues that
more information is below the fold?

We need to keep important information and links to high-priority tasks at the top of the page.
The vast majority still make their selections from options they can see without scrolling.
When lower-priority information is placed below the fold, we need to ensure that there are
visual indicators (such as peaking images or text) to tell the user that they need to scroll to
get to additional information.

Is the Web site designed for our target personas?

Beyond selling products and solutions, we are selling a relationship to our customers.
Therefore, we need to make sure we know who our specific audience is and address its
needs on our Web site at the appropriate level and in the appropriate time.

2.2 Content and Organization

Is our site segmented appropriately for our users?

Many sites use segmentation, in which users must click through to the appropriate site
segment. Unfortunately, these segments often don’t match the way customers think of
themselves, and thus require them to peek through multiple site areas to find the right one.
Also, we need to evaluate whether we are assuming our users know what they are looking
for rather than steering them towards the right solutions based on their symptoms.

Is the content prioritized by what is important to our users?

We want to make sure that we aren’t assuming our users know who we are and what we do
when they arrive at our site. We need to provide a straightforward description of our
company’s purpose throughout the Web site. Additionally, it’s important to have a clear
message on the Home page, while also keeping in mind that our users don’t always enter
our Web site from there.

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Usability Research Study

Does our Web site convey the breadth of our products and solutions?

Prospective customers should easily understand the breadth of the products and services
we offer. By making sure we immediately give customers a good impression of our products
and solutions, we can hold their attention. Likewise, we want to make sure we aren’t forcing
savvy users to click-through too many pages to get to the information they are seeking.

Are the registration / lead-generation forms used appropriately? Do we establish


credibility?

Users are very reluctant to take the time to fill-out lead generation forms. We need to
evaluate whether our lead-generation forms are appropriately used, or if they increase our
abandonment rates because they are too much of a barrier for our users, and determine
whether we are following registration form guidelines to make the forms easy to complete.

We also want to establish a certain level of credibility before requesting people to give out
their contact information. Business people are too busy these days to have time for sales
calls—unless they think the vendor is likely to offer something they want.

Do we balance direct marketing with corporate information and product information?

It’s important to be clear about our current offerings and to also make sure they are visible
without being distracting. Additionally, we want to ensure that the direct marketing
promotions on the Home page are truly guiding users to the correct solution for their
problem, and not just being annoying eye candy on the page.

2.3 Comparative Analysis

How does our site rate compared to our competitors?

A recent site audit from Enquiro indicated that while we have an outstanding approach to
SEO, our competitors have sites that are much more user friendly. Generally, our
competitors present their products and solutions either more creatively or more accessibly.

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Usability Research Study

3 How the Usability Research Study will be Executed

3.1 Marketing and Recruiting Efforts

For the usability sessions, [ COMPANY ] will recruit 30-40 participants throughout the
conference. [ COMPANY ] will have the ability to reach CTC attendees through a campaign
of e-mail, web and social networking software to set appointments in advance and onsite
with CTC attendees. Specifically:

• [ COMPANY ] will receive a dedicated email blast to registered attendees outlining


the onsite usability study and free gift or financial incentive. Appointment setting will
be handled through [ COMPANY ]. [ COMPANY ] will create copy and CTC will
execute on the blast.

• [ COMPANY ] will have access to the CTC wiki to reach out to attendees to set
appointments before and during the event.

• [ COMPANY ] will have the ability to have a one page invitation on the registration
counter for attendees to pick up. [ COMPANY ] will be responsible for creatives and
will provide in advance for approval.

• CTC will create signage (approximately 22 x 28) advertising the event and how to
reach [ COMPANY ] onsite. The meter board will include [ COMPANY ]'s logo and
copy and will be displayed in a prominent area such as registration.

• [ COMPANY ] will be issued 1 full conference pass and 2 demo passes to allow
them the ability to network with attendees and set appointments onsite.

• [ COMPANY ]'s usability study will be listed as an option for attendees who use CTC
Connect (our online social networking software). [ COMPANY ] will be able to reach
out to these attendees who express an interest via email, to request an appointment.

• One table manned by [ COMPANY ] (with signage) on June 19 (tutorials) to use to


register participants for that evening or for June 20 and 21st. June 19 is a quiet day
with approximately 120 attendees, but a good time to try to get attendees to register
for later in the day on June 19 or early in the day on June 20. We would set this
table in a prominent loctation TBD (ideas are registration area, lunch area or outside
conference sessions).

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Usability Research Study

3.2 Methodology

The usability tests will be conducted in an executive suite meeting room at the Collaborative
Technologies Conference. Participants will be recruited from the conference sessions and
will be tested in one-on-one usability sessions. Before testing begins, participants will be
asked to sign a release form as well as respond to a pre-test interview that will help identify
their level of experience with using various types of software. During the test, participants will
be asked to use think-aloud protocol while they complete each task.

Scenarios will be constructed for the participants so that they will be trying to achieve normal
tasks on the [ COMPANY ] Web site as well as three of our competitors. Operating within a
given scenario, users will be asked to perform certain tasks that have a beginning and an
end and for which we can determine levels of success or failure.

3.3 Analysis and Reporting

In each session, we will be videotaping: a) the computer screen that the user sees, and b)
the participant him/herself. We will be interested in locating parts of the tasks where
participants are either satisfied or frustrated. The tasks we design will not be difficult; in fact,
they should all be achievable within a reasonable time. If a user cannot complete a task in a
reasonable time (perhaps 5 minutes), we will simply ask the user to move on to the next task
and we will discreetly note this as a failure.

A summary of findings that illustrate key points and findings will be created by Interface
Guru. These findings will be supplemented by a 30-45 minute highlights video.

A summary report, highlights, and test footage will be delivered within 2 weeks of the
conclusion of testing.

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Usability Research Study

4 Budget Considerations

4.1 Usability Testing

We are working with a third-party contractor, Interface Guru, who will conduct the usability
research on behalf of [ COMPANY ].

Usability Testing of 2 User Groups of 6 with Accelerated Reporting.

Screener $2,070.00

Test Design $4,140.00

Lab Setup and Recruiting Assistance (1 analyst, 1 day) $1,725.00

Moderation, Lab Setup, Tabulation (3 analysts for 2 days) $11,350.00

Accelerated Reporting: Findings Summary (Powerpoint) $6,000.00

Prepare and Ship Footage (plus cost of drives) $1,665.00

Highlights $5,100.00

Usability Testing Total $32,050.00

4.2 Logistical Costs

We have entered into an agreement with CMP Media to conduct the usability study at the
Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston, MA (June 19-22). For a full range of
logistical information and CMP Media services, please refer back to “3.1: Marketing and
Recruiting Efforts.”

Total cost: $19,500

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