A Usability Evaluation
of the Statistical Abstract Web Site
Originally published in book format, the Statistical Abstract is the authoritative and
comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization
of the United States. As an alternative to the paper format, the Web site strives to
provide the content of the Statistical Abstract in an on-line medium. In the spring of
2007, the Census Bureau’s usability lab evaluated the usability of the Statistical Abstract
Web site. The site had undergone some design changes, and this study focused on the redesigned
elements of the site. The methods used in the study are detailed in this report,
along with the findings and recommendations. The researchers report on their methods
of obtaining the three components of usability: accuracy, efficiency and satisfaction. We
identify a prioritized list of usability problems with possible solutions. Finally, we
suggest ways to incorporate user-centered design into the Statistical Abstract Web site.
Some of the high-priority findings include user difficulties in understanding how to view
the data, struggling specifically with the Excel and .pdf format; user difficulties with
search results, terminology, link labels and content location on the site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division
Created: September 7, 2007
Last revised: September 7, 2007
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