University of Bath

Staff and students' landing pages

A project to design and build new versions of the staff and students' landing pages, involving user research to discover how staff and students use each page.

As one of the final stages of the website transition, we're redesigning the staff and students' landing pages.

As part of the process, we're asking staff and students to take part in a number of user research exercises. Each of these exercises will provide us with feedback from the people who use the pages, helping us to make changes to the page designs and content before the next phase of research.

By the end of the process, we aim to produce two pages which reflect their users' needs. These pages will continue to give members of staff and students access to the same things as the current pages but make it easier and quicker to find information and complete tasks, especially on mobile devices.

Phase 1: card sorting

22 OCT 2018  to  13 NOV 2018

The first opportunity for staff and students to provide feedback was through an online card sorting exercise.

Staff and students had the chance to organise items from their respective landing pages into groups that made sense to them. They could then give those groups logical names. If they did not know what an item was, they could move it into a group called 'I don't know what this means'.

111 members of staff and 13 students completed the card sorting exercise. The results helped us understand how staff and students think about the tasks they need to perform online. We used this information to create the useful links sections for the next phase of user research.

Phase 2 - usability testing

6 NOV 2018  to  13 NOV 2018

We arranged two days of usability testing, one for the staff landing page, one for the students' landing page. The objective was to learn about how easy it is for people to complete tasks using the new designs and whether anything could be improved to help them use the pages on a daily basis.

We ran the sessions with the help of the Internal Communications team and tested two versions of the staff and students' landing pages.

Seven members of staff and five students took part in the usability tests. We invited members of staff and students from a range of job families and disciplines. Some participants had a lot of experience using their respective landing pages, some were new to the University or did not often use the page.

To test the pages, we wrote a usability test script, which was reviewed by the Business Insight team. This made sure that the test sessions were consistent and fair.

During the test sessions, we asked participants to:

  • describe their initial thoughts on the page and its purpose
  • perform four simple tasks, describing their actions and thoughts
  • rate each task on a scale by how simple or complex it was to perform
  • explain why they chose that rating and whether they had any other comments about the task
  • answer three questions about their reaction to each version of the page
  • answer follow-up questions

After the usability tests, we collated the participants’ comments and actions. The results have helped us understand:

  • how staff and students use their landing pages
  • the type of tasks they want to be able to access
  • how we can best design pages that help them complete tasks quickly and easily

We used this information to restructure the pages before the next phase of user research.