User testing before launching a new site for a new concept not only means that usability issues can be surfaced - it also allows the proposition to be refined
Having worked on the Now Music site, Universal Music gave us a different challenge – to help them develop and launch a classical music site which worked as an engaging magazine, a discovery tool and an online store.
Universal wanted Sinfini to be pitched as an educated friend – accessible to classical music novices but not too vanilla for the keen enthusiast.
What we did
We undertook research with nine testers ranging from ‘new to classical music’ to ‘classical music expert’.
Presentation of content was key for this site. Universal was keen to go with a features magazine style, but testers found it frustrating. With their ‘online heads’ on they were goal oriented – ‘I’d want to find out more about a piece of music I heard last week’. The features stood out with great images, but if they did not give off scent for the tester’s goal they were irrelevant. They also distracted testers from the main navigation and left them frustrated that they couldn’t get to the juicy content on the site.
We helped the Sinfini team rethink their designs to ensure they embraced user-centred design. Watching the user testing crystallized their thinking, so they were able to re-order the content into chunks with meaningful labels, while still keeping the magazine style design. The result is a site which will gently guide you through the basics, or which you can use to get straight to the best recordings of your favourite piece or artist. The site launched to a symphony of praise and the Sinfini team is working hard on the next phase of improvements.
Doing the user testing with Web Usability gave us real insights into perceptions of the site and its usability. Not only do you get the qualitative feedback of the testers but you have their actual behaviour to back this up. It is a great way to get right to the heart of issues with online content and design
Tina Poyser – VP, Classical Global Digital Business Development