User Vision was engaged by DC Thomson to prioritise the offline content of Shout magazine to inform a structure and plan to develop the website based on user feedback.
Recommendations were given to improve the look, feel, content and impact of the Shout website and brand to better meet the expectations of its target audience.
The aim was to identify the content that was of most importance to the Shout audience. This round of testing required careful consideration to actively engage the young Shout audience of 11-15 year old females.
The Shout website at the time of testing (figure 1) was limited in terms of content rendering more commonly used usability testing techniques less effective. Whilst asking users to view the current Shout website was necessary, more in-depth feedback was needed to inform the content and layout of the redesigned Shout website than could be effectively gathered by testing with the current version alone.
What we did
To provide a more relaxed setting for younger participants, testing was carried out in the User Vision lounge which is designed to simulate a comfortable home environment. Some sessions were also carried out in pairs, proving an effective way of putting participants at ease thereby helping them to express opinions more freely alongside their peers.
Due to the limitations of the Shout website at the time of testing, users carried out a collaging exercise by using the offline material including Shout and two competitor magazines, Mizz and Sugar, to determine the main content that users would like / expect to see within the Shout website.
Collaging is a needs-elicitation technique that uses metaphorical images selected by users as vehicles for them to realise and articulate needs that may exist below their level of awareness. This technique worked well with the young demographic.
A comparison of the Shout and competitor websites was also carried out to gain feedback on how the Shout website compared to other ‘magazine-style’ sites aimed at the target audience.
The most desirable features, as well as practices that should be avoided, were outlined within the final report. Users were also asked to rate items on a ‘Wishlist’ of possible features to further establish and prioritise the features, products and services that users want within the Shout website.
DC Thomson received our recommendations for the revised design of the Shout website in a detailed report and findings presented to the team in a workshop to discuss how they met their vision of the redesign direction.
This project greatly influenced the IA, content and structure of the Shout website redesign (figure 2) to offer a clearer, more interactive and engaging experience to its users.
A large number of the recommendations made by User Vision were implemented including;
- global navigation categories / sections within the site
- text to picture ratios
- interactive social media and video content
- reaffirming the brand by the look and feel of the site
- the option to preview upcoming issues and free gifts
- the ability to subscribe to the magazine easily within the Shout website