Recently, I decided to add something new to our usual procedure of testing. To achieve a better understanding of how our navigation bar elements should be placed, I designed an activity with the purpose of understanding which layout for the navigation bar makes the most sense.
After the main portion of the usability test, we closed the browser window and presented our subject with the 11 x 17 printout and the stickies in no order. With no instructions or other reference, we asked the subject to place the stickies to assemble navigation on the web page that made the most sense to him. During this process, the subject narrated his thoughts and explained his placement of the different navigation elements.
After running this activity two times, we noticed several patterns that emerged. Both users expected to see the “Login” and “Register” buttons on the right side of the navigation, which is different than the current navigation which places these buttons on the left side. Also, both users did not understand the difference between the “Join” functionality and “Register”. These insights will inform our future designs for the navigation bar.
This activity is one example of a co-creation activity, where the designers work with users to craft designs. Co-creation activities are a great way to explore how a user thinks, and they are also a lot of fun for us and the user. Our results are just one data point but we hope to expand this activity and other co-creation activities to gain a richer body of insights for improving our site. Sound interesting? Sign up here to be part of a future usability test.