Posted on: 30 April 2013
As the polling date is closing in fast onto Malaysians, the daunting task of deciding which party to vote is prominent. We at Netizen Testing wished to find out how easy it is for voters to find out Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) stand on issues important to voters through respective party’s websites.
We asked Malaysian users to separately go through their websites and find the necessary information. All their screen activities and their voice comments were recorded. This will be a 4 parts blog post where we will share with you different testing results each day running up to the election.
Based on the testing done by potential voters, PR’s website has 3 major and 8 minor issues whereas BN has 2 major problems and 6 minor issues.
Let’s find out what users said about respective parties’ website.
1. Impression of the Homepage
Having a homepage with a good impression will determine the likeliness for users to proceed further into the website. The users did not like the layout of the PR’s homepage for a few reasons, amongst them are being too similar to a blogspot webpage. On the other hand, users generally like the design of BN’s website. Take a look at the video and watch what users have to say:
2. User Expected Content Not Available
A potential voter was not able to find out who the party is on their website during this crucial period.
3. Displaying Mixed Languages
Both PR and BN websites are having this problem. PR’s website is mainly published in the national language but some of the links on the top and left navigation menu will take users to webpages and PDF files that are in English.
For BN’s website, users have the option to choose either to use the English website or the Malay website. All of the users chose to use the English website. Even though the users were on the English site, Malay language can still be seen here and there.
The inconsistent use of language tends to give a bad impression. Users might perceive that the website is not properly maintained and question the integrity of the information provided.
4. Looking For Information On Political Stands
Most of PR stand on political issues can be found in their manifesto, which is published in 6 different languages on their website but most of the users were unsure on where to look for this information. Watch the video and you will know why.
The PR website would do better if they were to integrate the manifesto onto the website instead putting in a PDF file. However, since the deadline is closing in fast, a quick solution would be to put the manifesto in the middle of the homepage so that it is immediately visible to any visitors. It would also make it easier for voters if they use a simpler term such as “Our Promises”, instead of “manifesto” as some users didn’t know what it meant.
5. Voters Not Familiar With Abbreviations
It is fairly easy to find BN’s 7 NKRA because it is right on the homepage and represented by clear icons but the users do not know what the abbreviation “NKRA” stands for. It would be better if the actual term is used instead of “NKRA”.
6. Other Issues
There are many minor user problems that we found from the testing. Even though these are minor problems, a collection of minor could cause big dent in user experience. It would be wise not to sweep them under the rug.
For example, we found webpages that are incomplete such the souvenir link (for BN), non-clickable website logo/ID and banners (for PR), and etc. These problems made it harder to create a good experience and impression for a voter on any respective websites.
Having a voter friendly design will make it easy for voters to find information that they want quickly. Both of these parties are competing to rule the country and their respective website is one of the most important ways to reach undecided voters. Based on the user feedback observed during testing, PR is lacking behind.
What is your experience when visiting PR and BN websites? Did you managed to find the information you want? Was the process confusing or easy? Do share with us your experience.
Note: All usability tests were conducted from 24th March to 10th April 2013. Changes to the website may have occurred after this period.
Posted on: 22 April 2013
Gmail has unvield its latest change in new email composition. According to Google, it is another steps towards making writing messages simpler.
Figure 1: Google Announcing the New Compose and Reply Experience
Figure 2: Gmail's New Message Interface
The key difference with before is the user can now compose new message on the same page as the inbox. For those who are already familiar with Gmail, the new composition window feels like the existing Gmail Chat windows that load and ‘float’ at the bottom of the browser. However, this new design does not work well when the user opened a few ‘floating’ windows and start to run out of screen space. And the extra chat windows start dissapearing (see below for picture illustration).
Figure 3: Mixture of Multiple New Message and Chat Window
Figure 4: Chat & New Message Window Disappearing Once Run Out Of Space
Nevertheless, the user can choose to compose using a separate window altogether. But if this new user experience didn’t go down well for you, all is not lost! You can revert back to the old way, but just while it last. Google will eventually stop supporting the old composition user interface.
Figure 5: Composing on a Separate Pop Up Window
Figure 6: Option to Switch to Previous Method, But for How Long?
What do you think about this new layout? Do you like it? Drop us an email at email@example.com if you have any comments.
By: Alvin Chai
Posted on: 26 August 2012
Handbags, shoes, skirts, dresses and tops; these are just some of the commodities that never seem to stop growing. Shopping malls across the
country are teeming with them and they are fueling the growth of the e-commerce scene.
For the past few years, online stores have been popping up into the virtual existence like an endemic virus. It is easy and near zero cost
to set up. Opening an account is free. There are readily available templates for site designs. The images and the goods are provided by
manufacturers. The amount to stock up and cost are low. As such, it attracted a lot of small timers to begin a journey into e-commerce.
Web designers saw opportunity and latched onto this growing trend by providing online shopping cart solution. This is a crucial next step
for these business owners to take. On the other hand, blog shops have tremendous flaws in customer retention. They are difficult to browse;
this make buying in bulk and multiples item non-existent, and payment is manual. In short, the blog shops buying process is slow and
So are the online businesses gaining more customers and replacing the offline shops? The answer is no; the business owner do not understand
the internet as much as think. There are many examples of mistake due to the lack of understanding the internet by the online retailers. So,
how are the successful ones optimizing their e-commerce site to make more sales? Here are a couple of key items that e-commerce site owners
need to know when selling online:
1. The Designs and Content Management Cannot Be Outsourced
The virtual world is ever changing and constant upgrade need to be done in order to stay competitive. For example, if you are selling a
product, make sure you have multiple photos of the product taken at different angle. Since the nature of e-commerce does not allow the
customer to touch and feel the product, pictures are the next best thing. So, by optimizing your e-commerce site with more photos on the
product, it will give your customer more confidence to buy the product. You may understand your product and have one of the best
products in the market but if you do not provide the right content and make it is easy to locate, no one will buy from you.
2. The Search Function More Important Than You Think It Is
People browse through sites and they browse them quickly. According to usability experts, most users just scan your site and do not read in
detail. They will ignore most of the things that are not important to them. That’s why optimizing your e-commerce site navigation will help
your visitors to surf with ease.
If they could not find what they are looking for quickly, they are going to use the search function. Let’s face it we have been spoiled
by Google. A lot of the sites have the search function but most of them still work with a 20th century algorithm. They churn out
inaccurate results. They frustrate customers and frustrated customers are not going to be a paying customer! So investing money and time to
have a good internal search engine will help customer to feel good about your site.
3. Don’t Misuse Your Category Navigation
This relates to what was mentioned; people need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly. The common misuse is listing
everything out in one category. Products need to be categorized properly like different sections in a book store. You should try your
best to follow what is commonly used by other people and generally accepted terminologies. Sites such as Amazon and Ebay will be a good a
reference point on how to categorize your own goods.
4. Don’t Try to Sell Everything in One Single Page
Putting too much information and items on one page will make your site look messy and annoy your customers. When everything is important,
nothing is. Avoid the kitchen sink approach at all cost. This is not the way to optimize your e-commerce site. Remember, if they are
already on your page, they will use your navigation to look for the items that they are interested in. Let them have an easy time browsing
5. Don’t Force Your Customer to Sign Up
You can’t force people to sign up in order to browse your site unless you are already highly reputable. People don’t have to sign up as
members to buy goods at retail stores. Online stores shouldn’t be any different. If ever online stores will replace retail, the process
should be as seamless as retail. Many reputable e-commerce site optimize their checkout process by only asking for sign up information
at the payment stage, which is where the customer most willing to provide their contact details.
6. Your Shopping Cart Needs to be User Friendly
To be honest, your whole site needs to be user friendly but your shopping cart is one of the most important piece of feature. If people
can’t find where it is or work out quickly on how to use it, they will not use it.
If the current online business owners do not learn quickly, they will be knocked out of business by new comers. It is an extremely
competitive business and it’s only going to get more competitive. You will need to realize that optimizing your e-commerce site is an
on-going process and not a one off mission. This is also because your customers’ preference will change in time, and you will have to
optimize your e-commerce site to suit their new preference. One way to get feedback from real users is to do quick usability testing service.
Posted on: 23 July 2012
Do you know why people are leaving your website? According to research by User Interface Engineering, Inc., 60% of people leave when they can’t find the information they seek. Difficult site navigation will lead to wasted time, reduced productivity, increased frustration, and loss of repeat visits and money.
Usability expert, Jakob Nielsen said that "Studies of user behavior on the Web find a low tolerance for difficult designs or slow sites. People don't want to wait. And they don't want to learn how to use a home page. There's no such thing as a training class or a manual for a Web site. People have to be able to grasp the functioning of the site immediately after scanning the home page — for a few seconds at most."
Hence, the challenge upon designers is not only to attract visitors but to make it immediately obvious how to navigate.
Below, we will share with you the top 5 mistakes you should avoid on your website.
5. Poor Navigation:
Badly-designed navigation is most harmful towards a website, even more so when it’s flash-based. Flash-based navigation may prevent your website from being properly indexed by search engines as they rely on indexing textual content. Also, avoid having navigation bar which is poorly arranged, too small to read, too big to fit one line or poor positioning that creates inconvenience. As the usability guru Steve Krug puts it “Web applications should explain themselves. As far as humanly possible, when he looks at a web page it should be Self-evident, Obvious, and Self-explanatory… people don’t like to puzzle over how to do things. If people who build a site don’t care enough to make things obvious it can erode confidence in the site and its publishers”.
4. Outdated Content:
With the rapid speed of the internet and advancement in technology, there isn’t a place for outdated information. Users do get frustrated with out-dated information because it shows that the website owner does not care enough to update the site, so why should the user care to read?. Besides, in order to be reachable by search engines, it’s also important to publish new content regularly.
3. Auto sound & Ads Pop-Ups:
Having video or other sounds that play automatically can be annoying to the users and may even increase the page loading time. This could drive visitors to exit as soon as possible, since they might be playing their own music while browsing. Furthermore, having Ads pop-ups not only reduce the visitors focus on your content but it will divert them to other sites. As pop-ups are generally associated with spam content so you really don’t want that image to be associated with your website. On the other hand, static Ads on the page itself are widely accepted by visitors.
2. Slow Loading Time or Broken Link
A fact which every web designer should know is that users are notoriously impatient and hate waiting. Steve Krug once said that “much of our web use is motivated by the desire to save time. As a result, web users tend to act like sharks. They have to keep moving or they’ll die.” Hence, a slow loading website with large number of graphics (e.g. photos) or inaccessible due to broken links might mean the last visit for that user to your site.
1. Typos and Tiny Text
Typographical errors and misspellings will kill the site's credibility. Also, lame fonts can give off the impression of being unprofessional. For example, just key in “Comic Sans font” into Google, and page one result is a website called bancomicsans.com. It’s just not a professional font unless you are running a comic site. People will doubt your site’s credibility if you do not care enough to check any misspellings or displaying funny looking fonts.
When you are designing next time, do avoid these biggest mistakes. Furthermore, you should always test your site design with real end users to gather their feedback.
By: Ahmed Jama of NetizenTesting.com