Exploring Coal with Nikki and Mandy

For this blog I will be talking about a “Usability Test” we had to do on a website entitled “Coal: A Love Story”. To begin this test I started with a quick preview of the website. After I wrote down my initial feelings about the site, I began my in depth 10 minutes of exploration, and the fun began! After I wrote down my reactions and then I ask my lovely friend Mandy Jo Schumacher to do the same thing! Here are our findings:

My initial reaction to this website was that I liked the linking of the power cord throughout the whole page. This tied all of the stories together in a way that most sites can’t always do. However, after looking at the website I thought the style of each story became very  repetitive and the information provided for these stories was too vague.

Next up we have Mandy’s initial reactions. After looking at the site Mandy said the site was “very pleasing to the eye”  and also liked how they showed the importance of coal production to people. The video links where something she liked and thought were very useful, but she felt confused by how all of the stories were going connect.

To begin the next part of our analysis I went first on a 10 minute exploration in detail of the website.  The first thing that caught my eye when going through this site was the story “Sometimes Its Hard To Get Away.”  I picked this video because the photo was inviting. The second thing I clicked on was “Wyoming To Chicago” I thought this story was relevant and connected to my life here in Wyoming. The final clip I got to look at in the 10 minutes was “ It Gives You A Purpose.” I chose this story because it was closest to the top.

Many of our observations of the site were similar, but Mandy was first interested in looking at the videos.  She told me she is a “visual learner and prefers watching videos over reading informational text.”  Mandy stayed very much in order of the stories going from top to bottom in that aspect. Although, she did click on the graphic about “Wyoming to Chicago”  because she felt like it related to her (seeing that it had to do with where she is from).

My favorite part of having Mandy do this experience with me was writing down the random things she would say while exploring the site. Some of the things Mandy said were: “these stories are playing with my emotions!” and “this is such an unbiased page. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping she would speak up more but she was too into watching the videos.

As far as navigation goes on this website, I was not impressed. The videos definitely outnumbered the text. I mean, personally, I am all about videos, but this did make the website hard to understand. During my exploration of the site I also stumbled upon the contact information that linked the Coal page with “Powering A Nation”. This link was not a good example how you should link something from your page to another. It was not clearly marked and would be very hard to find for others. Also having more than just one page to share your information would have been helpful. In class we talked about keeping things short and not having to scroll down or up on a page too much. Linking some of the information to another page would have been helpful. Mandy also felt like the navigation was not up to her standards.  She mentioned having to re-click on some of the graphic links in order to get them to play.

The contact information was not easily accessible. I just happened upon the link to the website and this demonstrates a poor usage of linking without proper labeling. Mandy was unable to find the valid contact information. By looking at the bottom of the page she clink the contact link that just took her to a Facebook page.

The three things I felt should be kept the same were: 1) That the site was unbiased. I felt that the website provided a good view of both those who support coal production and those who are opposed. 2) The amount of videos should also stay.  I found videos the most informative. 3) The design of the page was neat and had to do with the topic.

Lastly I would like to talk about the three things I would change. 1) There should be an introduction of some sort. I felt confused about what the site was even about at first.  2) Although I did like how many videos there were, I think it would be helpful to add a little more statistics/text to support each side. 3) A conclusion would have also been helpful.

Nikki and Mandy

By nfinnesa

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