Usability Testing

6usabilitytestingThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the agency in the United States that regulates nuclear energy. The commission communicates with various publics – domestic and worldwide through its public Web site, a robust tool containing more than 10,000 pages.

Objective: The NRC contracted with EurekaFacts to perform a series of research services designed to evaluate and test the content, usability, and accessibility of the agency's existing public Web site.

Method: To accomplish this effort, EurekaFacts completed an expert evaluation and developed protocols for the usability testing for multiple audience groups. EurekaFacts successfully recruited participants from a broad base of backgrounds and conducted usability testing with the general public, scientists, and educators, elected government officials, international regulatory professionals, journalists, and other media professionals.

Both on-site and remote usability testing was conducted at the EurekaFacts usability testing lab in Rockville, MD. The EurekaFacts team successfully tested the information architecture, usability, and accessibility of the NRC Web site, evaluated Web site compliance with usability and HCI standards, and provided user-centered design criteria and recommendations. Also, in addition to navigation and other purely usability-related issues, attitudes regarding online information access were explored and noted.

Outcome: User-centered design specifications were provided, including information architecture, labeling, navigation, and content guidelines aimed at the general public and each of fifteen core target audience groups. A new web site was built based on the specifications and user-centered-design parameters provided by EurekaFacts. Post-development testing was conducted to offer added quality assurance to the agency. The new site has received strong commendations by internal end external audiences.