How user testing helped improve Bishopsgate Institute's website

24 October 2023

Earlier this year the team at Bishopsgate Institute tasked Supercool with running user testing on the website we launched with them back in 2019.

They were keen to understand how people were using their site, what navigation paths they chose – and why – and if there were any points in the user journey that could be improved.

This was also a great opportunity for us to revisit some of the bold design and navigation choices that were made several years ago, to see how they were faring in the real world.

What is website user testing?

By watching people attempt to complete a series of tasks, we can understand whether a website is being used as expected, and where people are experiencing bumps or getting stuck. It’s a great way to identify small changes we can make that should improve the overall user experience.

A methodical approach

Rather than asking users to 'play around' on the site and let us know what they think, it was important to ask participants to complete a series of very specific, preset tasks.

We worked with the Bishopsgate Institute team to create a total of 10 tasks, along with associated questions to ask our testers. These tasks were devised to inform us about user journeys that relate to organisational goals.

As participants often find it easier to be more open and honest if the person leading the session isn’t from the organisation whose website is being tested, I ran the sessions, online, with 6 members of the public.

We made a special effort to engage users who had no existing relationship with Bishopsgate Institute, and many had never visited the website before. This meant we avoided any previous knowledge of the website's design, navigation, and structure.

After the testing, and having analysed user responses, we shared the session recordings with the team at Bishopsgate Institute, alongside a report of our key findings and a list of suggestions.

What did we learn?

The sessions not only gave us valuable insight into how people use the website, but also what they were thinking whilst using it. It was fascinating!

Here’s an overview of some of the positive takeaways and sticking points (which, let’s be honest, is the reason we’re doing this!)

  • People were drawn to the striking images and bold headings
  • People were able to find key information quickly and easily
  • People got a clear idea of Bishopsgate Institute’s core values and principles. (Mostly down to the team doing an excellent job of creating clear and engaging content!)
Sticking points
  • Some users had issues with the more complex user journeys
  • There was occasional confusion caused by some inconsistent user-interface
  • Some users failed to appreciate the incredible breadth of what Bishopsgate Institute has to offer

What's changed?

More control for users to search What's On

The content of the What’s On page was previously sorted into Categories, with horizontal scrolling controls for browsing. Observing the participants showed us that this wasn't the most efficient way for people to browse. Users can now search for activities by keyword, as well as filtering activities based on a set of subjects and themes.

Simplified main navigation

We've further simplified the header menu navigation. Previously this had separate ‘What’s On’ and ‘Learn’ options – to distinguish between 'events' and 'courses'. But we learned that this distinction is not important to users, so now all activity is combined in an all-encompassing What’s On section.

'What we do' updates

The Bishopsgate Institute team have updated the ‘What we do’ section to clarify the breadth of the organisation's work. (It's really easy to edit, update and add content in Craft CMS, so the team didn't need our help making this change.)

Revised event page structure and design

We worked with the Bishopsgate Institute team to audit the structure of their event/activity pages. From this, we've outlined a new layout and some design tweaks, which will be launching soon.

Supercool led us through the whole process and provided us with a detailed strategy for improvements and changes. I would definitely recommend carrying out User Testing on your website – it was an incredibly helpful process.

Pip Wills-Braddock

We're excited to see how these changes impact how the website is used in the coming weeks, months, and years. And we look forward to working on further website improvements with the team – to enable audiences to make the most of everything Bishopsgate Institute has to offer.

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