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Cambridge City Council

Iterative user research and testing produced a more usable and effective site for Cambridge City Council

  • Who: Cambridge City Council
  • What: User research and usability testing to inform site redevelopment
  • How: Individual discovery sessions to identify user goals followed by prototype usability testing
  • Result: A clear steer on the best design approach to produce a truly user-friendly design


Cambridge City Council wished to undertake testing of their current site to identify key user goals, as well as surface usability issues, in order to inform new site development.

The team had concerns about their current site with respect to how easily users could find information and whether the site provided the information that users needed.

What we did

The first round of testing focused on establishing users’ goals for the site and identifying usability issues with the current site. We used eyetracking technology, a Tobii T60, which enabled us to observe the testers’ eye movements. This was followed by a discussion led by Web Usability to identify the usability issues and to discuss a suitable approach for the new prototype site. The issues that were surfaced were used to inform the development of prototype designs.

The Council produced a series of prototype pages, including a new homepage design focused on users’ top tasks, navigation pages and sample content pages. They also produced a number of alternative design treatments. Web Usability reviewed these designs, and tweaks were made, before they were then tested with real users during a second round of testing. Web Usability led a further discussion to agree any improvements.


Overall, the new prototype designs were well received. Testers could easily navigate around the site using the top navigation or the blue‘top tasks’ box, enabling them to get to their top goals easily. The testing also helped the Council to clarify which design approach was most suitable. However, a number of usability issues were surfaced during the second round of testing, and these improvements to the prototype were being made before the site was launched.

“The testing provided us with real evidence of how people use our website, giving us a clear indication of where we needed to make changes. We were able to apply the changes to a prototype, testing this before any build work commenced and are confident our new website will meet our customers’ needs. Web Usability’s professional and insightful advice was invaluable to the successful delivery of our new website.”

Brigitte Wilson – Web Project Manager

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