The 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 website, 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 website.
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, 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 website, evaluated website compliance with usability and human–computer interaction (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 website 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 received strong commendations by internal and external audiences.