User Vision has supported Acas since 2008 and this latest round of work has involved three individual studies of the Acas website including the True Intent study reported here. User Vision was commissioned by Acas to investigate the utility and user experience of the Acas website.
In particular one aspect of this work was to investigate who are the actual users that visit the site, what are the reasons they have for visiting this site, how successful was their visit and what was their impression of the over experience? To investigate this a ‘True Intent’ study was undertaken to create a series of statistics to better understand the users, their needs and provide recommendations on areas where ACAS should focus future site development to best satisfy the concerns of their real users.
The ChallengeThe service provided by Acas can vary greatly depending on the user needs and can often be the result of an emotionally charged employment situation. Therefore, the need for clarity and ease of location of information can be essential to avoid frustration and provide problem resolution. In order to provide accurate services and information, it is essential to know who is using your site, why have they visited, what are their needs and have they been able to satisfy those requirements.
As it is often difficult and impractical to locate and speak to a large number of users of your website in a face to face manner, one of the best solutions to capture this information is through a ‘True Intent’ study whereby real users visiting the site are offered the chance to answer a few simple questions about their visit to the site. The aim of this approach is to allow visitors to specify their reasons for coming to the site, then perform their task(s) in a natural manner and obtain feedback about their visit afterwards.
In this case, we also captured some demographic information to assist in analysing this information and help identify user groups and the specific areas of the site that they focus on in order to improve the user experience. In total the ‘True Intent’ study collected 201 voluntary responses between February and March 2008 from employers, employees and employee representatives.
Through the ‘True Intent’ study, we were able to provide a detailed report containing various information including demographic information, the participant’s role within their organisation and their reason for visiting the Acas site. The success rate in their actual task was also examined and used to determine whether new visitors to the site found it particularly hard to use, or if other factors were the causes of any issues experienced. By further investigating task goals and success in conjunction with the user’s role we could determine which users groups had the most difficulty and what the causes were.
Furthermore upon completion of the task, we learned what course of further action users were most likely to pursue. Finally this study provided a summary of the user’s perception of the overall experience and likelihood of choosing to use this online service again should they have further queries.
In summary, the True Intent study allowed us to provide Acas with a detailed and useful report on their website users, taken from a natural perspective and sampling many site users, their roles, reasons for visiting and perceptions of performing the tasks they actually wanted to perform. Using results from the study User Vision has reported back to Acas on the positive aspects of their site, and also provided a number of recommendations into which areas are most heavily used by which users and the reasons they visited. This in turn has helped inform which areas should be focused on for improvement in the future.
John Smith, Job Role (Department), Acas