The Kamaʻāina Discounts: Usability Study on the Website Homepage [4/18/2017] by Karen Fujii (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Helen Torigoe (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

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Having moved to ʻOahu two years ago, I could immediately identify with Karen regarding the sticker shock — on everything from housing to groceries.  At least I moved from the Big Island so culture shock was not an issue, but Karen must have come from the mainland as she listed higher cost of living, lower income, and cultural differences as her challenges upon moving here two-and-a-half years ago.

When Karen realized that there were plenty of websites for visitors to Hawaiʻi, but none for newly transplanted residents, she decided to build her own website http://mykamaaina.com.  Kamaʻāina is a Hawaiʻian word meaning native-born or a local resident.  She put together an information hub for local residents to easily find kamaʻāina discounts and events. For the new and prospective Kamaʻāinas, she also added Hawaiʻian language and pidgin references, as well as information on how to obtain Hawaiʻi driver license.  Then she did a usability study of the homepage for her Master’s project.  “Homepage is like a storefront,” said Karen, “the landing page should engage the online community.”

Using Jakob Nielsen’s Four Principles (of High Quality Website Design), Karen set out to answer the following three questions for mykamaaina.com, to determine the usability of the site’s homepage.

  1. Is the homepage engaging for the users to continue through the website?
  2. Is the content on the homepage relevant for the user?
  3. How does the website impact new users to become repeat customers?

She enlisted ten participants to perform four tasks, assessed the difficulty of completing the tasks on the website, collected their movements in Screencastify, as well as collecting pre- and post- surveys.  With each round of tests, Karen improved the website by adding a menu option for Waikiki events, adding the word “Ads” above the ad squares, and increasing the font size of section headings, etc.  With each iteration of testing and making improvements, Karen got closer to reducing the “click-outs,” a term used by Jakob Nielsen to describe users who leave the site if they do not form a good impression in 10 seconds, and increased the chances of users becoming repeat customers.

In conclusion, the test participants found mykamaaina.com simple to use and has professional look and feel.  Karen says to test, test, and test.  She also advised to continually update the website to maintain “safe” trust rating, and to continuously patch to keep the site secure.  Browse mykamaaina.com to examine the usability of the site yourself, or to score some good Kamaʻāina deals!

Contact Karen Fujii at: karenkf@hawaii.edu

 

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