If content is king, then usability is queen

You’ve heard me say how important reader testing is when you truly care about meeting the needs of your audience. The Before and After Gallery hosted by the DigitalGov User Experience Program provides some terrific examples. [6/16/14 Update: examples appear to have moved to Government Usability Case Studies.]

fueleconomy-user-experience-improvements-results

After watching some representative readers use the Fueleconomy.gov Mobile Site, the web writers identified several issues they could revise easily (like clarifying terminology and moving buttons) to improve their readers’ experience. The graphic at right shows how they measured the impact of those changes.

Reader testing of written messages fits inside the practice sometimes called user-centered design or UCD. Yes, UCD is associated with software or other digital products and their users. But readers are users of information. If you want to explore the benefits of UCD and testing, check out this 6-minute video.

Asking your audience for feedback. And signalling you listened by making changes that help them use your information. That’s just good business — even when it comes from the US government.

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