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OCTO Usability Lab

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Want to know what users really think about your site? Want to know for sure they are finding what they're looking for? The DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) now offers DC Government agencies to test their websites with real users at work or at home. As web designers and content creators, it is easy to think we know what users want. Now we want to put those ideas to the test.

Call for Volunteers

OCTO is currently seeking DC residents, business owners or others interested in volunteering to test new and existing DC.gov websites and applications. You can test from our Usability Lab or from your own home or office. Most tests take no more than 20-30 minutes. Interested? Sign up below!

SiteImprove

OCTO recently partnered with SiteImprove to give agency communicators access to a simple yet powerful tool that provides visibility across their websites to improve the quality of the content on their websites and ensure they are accessible to visitors with disabilities. The new tool also gives agency editors a way to measure success by providing a “scoreboard” of where their site stands for quality, freshness, accessibility and more. As the scores climb, so does the quality of the content.

Among many features, SiteImprove will:

  • Create a priority list of web pages that need the most attention, guiding editors through fixing non-accessible headings, images, links or forms.
  • Provides at-a-glance views of key data, such as priority policies that your website follows, and accessibility and quality assurance issues. 
  • Automatically locates broken links and misspellings, and highlights an inventory of your content.

OCTO is already working with a handful of agencies to get them trained on using the new tools and those interested are asked to contact OCTO at [email protected].

Usability Testing

OCTO now offers usability testing services to agencies looking for a more in-depth review of their site via our new usertesting.com tools. OCTO uses a task-based, think-aloud protocol where users will communicate their thought processes verbally while they work  to complete tasks. We will request they vocalize what path they take to find information, what questions they have, and what surprises or confuses them as they go through the application. This method follows best practices with the private and public sectors and is strongly rooted in methodologies developed by leading usability experts – including Nielsen.

The usertesting.com service allows us to “look over the shoulder” of users as they perform our prescribed tasks by providing a video of the screen. One benefit of using screeners is that they perform these tests in a more comfortable, natural environment such as their own homes or office as opposed to a testing lab.

Want Your DC.gov Site Tested? Email [email protected] and we can schedule a test planning sessions and schedule the screeners. Or call Michael Rupert, OCTO Communications Director, at 202-657-3831.