Intro to Web Publishing
Usability Test For unionstation.org
To prepare for the tests, I first looked through the website myself. After looking around
the home page to get a feel for the website, I went through each of the four tasks to find out the
solutions for each one.
First, I gave the homepage a look-over. I expected a dropdown menu when I hovered
over category on the navigation bar, since Im used to sites doing performing that action. It did
not happen. I clicked a category thinking maybe a dropdown menu would appear if I did that, but
I was directed to a different page, instead.
The layout of the site is well done. Content isnt cluttered and its easy to navigate what
the site is about from below the fold.
I saw Science City was heavily promoted by the website. This was true for both the
feature content area, the navigation bar, and the content above the fold. Since I have been to
Union Station before, I know that there are other things besides Science City. Visitors to the site
who are not familiar with Union Station from out-of-state, or not from the area might not know
I didn't have any issues with any of the tasks, except for task three. There were some
misleading terms used, but this is explained further with the testers.
Tester 1: Jacob
For tester 1, I choose Jacob. He easily played along with the tasks given to him and gave
a detailed analysis of his experience on the site.
Jacobs a 21-year-old man currently working a part-time job at Sams Club while going to
college. He regularly uses the internet on his phone, computer, and platforming device. Jacob
mostly uses the internet to go onto online forums, social media, and streaming services/YouTube.
Currently, he uses the internet frequently to complete homework assignments. He also shops
online from time to time.
He is a high experience tester. Jacob has used sites to do things similar to what tasks he
performed (i.e. seeing what movies are playing and ordering tickets from fandango.com).
Environment for Tester 1:
Location of test: The test was conducted at Jacobs house. He mostly uses the
internet at his home. This makes it so that its close to how he would use the site if he
wasnt being tested.
Physical Environment: His home is relatively clean with some clutter and there was
very little lighting. The only distractions was his cat and the television, which was
streaming a movie.
Technical Environment: Jacob uses an HP Pavillon G6, which has a screen
resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. He regularly uses Google Chrome as a browser. The
only plug-in he uses is an ad-blocker.
Tester 2: Gail
Gail was chosen because she explained what she did while she performed the tasks. She
also gave adequate feedback, so usability issues with the site can be identified and corrected.
Gails a 45-year-old woman working part-time at a retail store. She mostly uses the
internet for online shopping and social media. Shes my low-experience user. However, she,
too, has used sites like fandango.com to find out movie times and to purchase tickets in advance.
Environment for tester 2:
Location of test: The test for Gail was taken in her house. She mostly uses the
internet at her home.
Physical Environment: Her home is cluttered and kind of messy. The lighting in the
living room, where the test was conducted, was very well lit.
Technical Environment: Gail uses an 15 MacBook Pro with retina display, which
has a resolution of 2560x1600 pixels. She uses Google Chrome as her browser. She
does not use any plug-ins for her browser.
Initial Site Thoughts:
Jacob noticed right away that the web site heavily advertised for Science City. He
mentioned that it looked like that was the only thing there when he first went to the homepage. It
wasnt until he scrolled down the page that there would be other exhibits and activities to visit at
He also mentioned the layout of the site didn't look too cluttered. The site, initially might
be easy to navigate.
Gail also noticed that the website heavily advertised Science City. Until she scrolled
further on the homepage, she thought Science City was the only thing at Union Station. She
mentioned plan your visit might be for teachers to set up visit days for their students, not the
everyday visitor. Overall, she liked the layout of the site since it didn't bombard her with
Task 1: Scenario: You are bringing your grandmother to Union Station for a Sunday
afternoon outing, She cant walk more than about 50 steps at a time. Determine whether or not
there will be a wheelchair available for her to use.
Jacob assumed he would find Guest Amentities under Plan Your Visit. He wasn't sure
if he would find it there since he expected a hover-down menu. He clicked on Plan Your Visit
and scrolled through the page with the laptops trackpad until he found Guest Amenities.
Since Guest Amenities looked like a link, Jacob clicked on it. He found out more
information about accommodations he could receive, and where/how to get those.
This is where Jacob clicked to find out more information.
Gail was confused as to where to go to find Guest Amenities. After a while of trying to
figure out where to go, she mentioned she was frustrated because she felt as though the
navigation bar of the site wasn't clear enough and wanted to see a hover-down menu from the
She decided to go to Plan Your Visit since that makes the most sense to her. She used
the scroll bar on the side of her browser until she found Accommodations and Transportation
on the page.
Recommendations to improve UX for this task:
Changing the phrasing Plan Your Visit to something like Guest Information on the
navigation bar might be a good idea. A lot of websites still use that phrasing Plan Your Visit or
Visit. (The websites I looked at where sites for the Omaha Zoo, the Kansas City Zoo, and the
St. Louis Science Center.) Despite the convention, itll save the confusion for users who dont
frequently use the site or sites similar to it.
Another recommendation includes having a dropdown on hover menu for the navigation.
This will save any users from confusion. Plus it will match the platform conventions users expect
to see since similar sites do this, too.
St. Louis Science Center uses the term visit and has a drop down menu. The site uses an FAQ for visitors to find out information for guest amenities.
Example of how to implement a dropdown menu on unionstation.org:
Task 2: Scenario: You want to plan to see an Extreme Screen movie during your visit, so
you want to secure tickets in advance. Determine what is playing Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Since Jacob went to the separate page for Guest Amenities, he clicked on the back
button to return to the previous page for Plan Your Visit. He looked at the table for Admission
From there, he clicked on the button in the Buy Tickets column for the Regnier
Extreme Screen Theatre. He found the listings of upcoming shows for the theatre. Since each
listing displayed the dates/time period each show was going to be at the theatre, he found out
what films would be playing.
Answer: Jerusalem and Robots 3D
Gail clicked on the Events Calendar tab on the navigation bar. The page already
displayed the events going on that day.
From there, she clicked the arrows located on the calendar until she got to the month of
November. She clicked on the date (November 25) and the events listed changed. She scrolled
through the list to see what would be playing at the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre.
Answer: Jerusalem and Robots 3D
Recommendations to improve UX for this task:
While both testers found movies that were playing on November 25 very easily, there is
one way to improve UX for this particular task. Similarly to the previous task, Union Station can
implement a dropdown menu for events. The landing page could stay the same when a user
clicks on events calendar, but the dropdown menu can feature each exhibit/theatre at Union
Heres how to implement a dropdown menu for events calendar:
Task 3: Go through the steps of buying two tickets for an Extreme Screen movie on that
day. Determine whether or not you can choose the actual seats for you and your grandmother
will have wheelchair compatible seating. [Take this step all the way through the process, and
only stop when asked to enter credit card information].
From the page he already was on, Jacob clicked on add to basket for one of the films he
knew played on the day he needed tickets. He knew this because Union Station dates in