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AIR conducts second usability test on NN/LM PSR website!

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) performed usability tests on the redesigned Pacific Southwest Region website in December, 2006. As you may recall, the NN/LM and RMLs unveiled new website designs in June, 2006. A Latitudes article was posted that same month announcing the new design and outlining the steps it took to get to that point.

The purpose of the second phase of testing was to examine the site’s organization and ease of use. A set of standard tasks that users perform were developed by AIR and approved by PSR staff for the test. Four anonymous participants from our region agreed to test our website and offered valuable feedback that identified the site’s strengths and weaknesses. We would like to thank them for taking the time to participate and providing us with valuable information!

The study highlights several positive aspects of the PSR website. Participants reported that they were either satisfied or highly satisfied when asked about their overall impression of the website. Most importantly, they found the site usable. They also appreciated the site’s navigation options and the resources available. Several strengths included:

  • attractiveness of site
  • wealth of information
  • valuable navigation tools, such as, Quick Links
  • important links easily accessible on home page

On the other hand, the tests also shed some light on some usability issues in our website that created confusion for the participants. Information retrieval was a bit challenging when performing tasks that were more complex. Among the issues raised were:

  • text heavy pages
  • vague link titles
  • organization of information in key areas, such as, Available Classes
  • difficulty in finding information in other areas, such as, Funding

AIR provided some useful recommendations to aid us in fine tuning these areas on our website for greater usability. We are currently implementing many of their suggestions and you may see changes to our site in the next few weeks so keep a look out! If you have any suggestions or comments regarding the recent changes to our web pages, please feel free to call us at (800) 338-7657 or e-mail Marco Tamase at

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