Do You Really Want User Feedback? Part 2

I wrote last week about the more automated kinds of feedback so here are some thoughts and ideas on direct user feedback.

There are a number of approaches that we have followed so far:

Usability testing

In March we ran two days of user testing with people who use the NAO website. Many people would see this as the gold standard of generating feedback. It is very direct as you can sit in a room and usually watch your users struggling to complete the task you set them. Almost everyone who has ran user testing says the same thing. ‘I did not expect that’ ‘I did not realise that our wording was misleading’ etc. One thing is sure – you never forget what users said if you hear them say it while you are watching.

Accessibility testing

We also ran some accessibility testing in March. As far as possible we tried to set exactly the same tasks. As the site is relatively new we expected to get some comments as indeed we did. Again it is an eye opener when you realise how small details can really damage a users’ experience. Try and get someone to demo how they use a screen reader on your website or one you are familiar with. Often it is a horrifying experience.

Follow up

Of course you will need to take the necessary remedial action.

Feedback forms

Another great idea that is proving really effective is to create a feedback form. We introduced these in November last year and the trick is to keep them simple. So we ask as below and get users to say what user type they are – government, private sector etc:


We have also added a simple form to the publications filter to check that users find what they expect:


We want to add a similar form to the search results page.

What else?

We are also building a slightly bigger user survey that we will trigger to run say the first day of every month. This will cover asking about user types; what sort of content they came to find, guide, report, data, a survey etc. A quick measure of satisfaction and any other comments.

Once the form is live it should give us a monthly profile of who are users are; what they are looking for and how satisfied they are. I look forward to seeing the results.

So there are some ideas. Have you done the same or got some other tips?

Nick Halliday is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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