The value of user testing

Many of our recent developments have been aimed at making our core product MasterVision even easier to use. As part of this, we recently completed a round of user testing which highlighted some further areas to focus on, and some interesting points we hadn’t previously considered.

Since searching and segmenting publisher data is central to the product, many of the tasks we set needed to start with a search. On logging in, users are taken to MasterVision’s homepage – but to find the search where would you go from here?


We were interested to see that several users completely missed the ‘Search’ link in the top navigation bar and were drawn instead to the large icons near the top of the page. In the context of a task asking them to find a segment of individuals from a given country who subscribe to a particular journal, clicking on ‘Individuals’ there seemed logical – but this took them to a list of search results, rather than the search form where they needed to be to successfully complete this task.


The solution here was nicely straightforward – we have now changed the large icons to link to the search form instead, with the relevant customer type selected:


Continuing with search, it was also pointed out that our positioning of the ‘Run Search’ button at the bottom left of the form was less intuitive than if it was positioned to the right where users were more naturally drawn when thinking about progressing to the next page. We have now changed this so that we have ‘Clear Search’ on the left and the primary ‘Run Search’ button on the right:


Issues like these are nice to address via simple interface changes, but some others that were raised have less obvious solutions. Perhaps the most interesting was a common fear among testers of using the browser’s ‘Back’ button, in case they lost their selections or worse, got logged out as happens with many online banking sites.

Since we have previously spent a lot of effort ensuring that ‘Back’ works as expected throughout MasterVision, this came as something of a surprise – and as soon as users discovered they could use it without problems, it made many tasks much easier. It’s likely this is something we’ll seek to make clearer via our online help and user training sessions.

This, like all of the insights gained here have helped to highlight why user testing is so valuable, and we’ll be making further changes over the coming months in our continuing quest to make MasterVision as easy to use as possible.