Website homepage design

Consultation objectives

In October and November 2012, Statistics Canada consulted Canadians on the design of a new website homepage, modified to be compliant to the web usability standard. The objective of the consultation was to determine whether website users can easily navigate through the new design.

Consultation methodology

Statistics Canada held in-person usability consultations in Ottawa. Participants were asked to complete 12 tasks using one of two test designs and to provide feedback on its ease of use.

How to get involved

This consultation is now closed.

Individuals who wish to obtain more information or to take part in consultations should contact Statistics Canada through the Statistical Information Service.

Please note that Statistics Canada selects participants for each consultation to ensure feedback is sought from a representative sample of the target population for the study. Not all applicants will be asked to participate in a given consultation.

Results

First design

What worked

Participants liked the uncluttered appearance of the new homepage design when compared with the website’s current home page. The menu bar and Browse by subject feature were popular, while some participants appreciated the short length of the page.

What did not work

Participants did not find the presentation of the page’s features clear enough, and some noted that the placement of certain page components, such as the Latest indicators feature and the About us module, hard to find.

Although most participants found the social media links quickly and easily, they wanted to see the symbols for each link rather than the text version.

Second design

What worked

The second homepage design was generally preferred to the first one. Participants liked having the features presented in colours. They also preferred the placement of components on this home page, particularly the Latest indicators, and indicated that the Browse by subject feature worked very well. Participants also liked the overall appearance of this home page design, finding it both uncluttered and familiar.

What did not work

While participants preferred the second homepage design, they noted that the Subjects and Resources features offered the same, or nearly the same, function. Participants also generally ignored the Key resource component, and overlooked The Daily as a source of information.

Some mentioned wanting the About us component and contact information to be more prominently displayed.

Here again, participants remarked that social media links would be more visible if they appeared along with their traditional symbols.

Recommendations

In general, participants preferred the second home page design to the first one. Furthermore, they unanimously preferred both designs to the current home page, describing them as up-to-date, straightforward, clear and easy to use.

Some recommendations were suggested to further improve the second design:

  • Place the Latest indicators feature at the top of the page
  • Add more indicators to the Latest indicators feature
  • Make the information available in the Browse by Subject feature more accessible (adding subheadings, a mouseover function, etc...)
  • Add content to the About us link
  • Redesign the Information for... component.

Statistics Canada thanks participants for their participation in this consultation. Their insights guide the Agency’s web development and ensure that the final products meet users’ expectations.

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