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In June and July of 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Research Division (SRD) conducted a usability evaluation of Iteration 2.0 of the newly designed American FactFinder (AFF) Web site. In September 2009, SRD conducted a usability evaluation of Iteration 2.5. The usability testing evaluated the success and satisfaction of participants with medium-fidelity screenshots of the site. As the site was still in production, the screens were not fully functioning. In Iteration 2.0, the screens were not clickable, but participants treated the screenshots as actual live Web site pages and clicked on areas of the screen that they thought would lead them to the information they were seeking. In Iteration 2.5, screens had limited functionality, enough to evaluate performance on the tasks included in the usability evaluation.
Tasks were developed to gain an understanding of whether users understood the Web site’s search and navigation capabilities as well as some table and map functions. Iteration 2.0 usability testing revealed several major findings, including lack of direct guidance for the users on how to modify tables and how to select data to map, and confusing terminology, labels, and icons. Iteration 2.5 usability testing revealed that, while modifications to the design following Iteration 2.0 worked and fixed some issues, new issues emerged. This report provides a complete summary of these usability evaluations, including methods, findings, and team decisions based on our findings. Future changes to the AFF site should be evaluated for usability to maintain the iterative approach towards improvement which has been adopted.
Romano, Jennifer C., Jennifer M. Chen, Erica L. Olmsted-Hawala, and Elizabeth D. Murphy . (2010). A Medium-Fidelity Usability and Eye-Tracking Evaluation of Iteration 2.0 and Iteration 2.5 of the New American FactFinder Web Site: Capabilities and Functions. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2010-07). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <http://www.census.gov/srd/papers/pdf/ssm2010-07.pdf>.