Case Study: Government information

Prototype Usability / Validation Testing

Two studies in iteration to validate the usability & effectiveness of online information modules in educating students about credit and student loans.

The Work

Through the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) the Government of Canada works in partnership with most provinces and territories to deliver student financial assistance.CSLP is interested in improving students’ knowledge of program processes and student financial assistance. Towards this aim, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada created a series of online information modules to help guide borrowers through the student loan process. I conducted a set of two usability studies in iteration with the project team to validate the modules’ usability and test their effectiveness in teaching students about credit and the loan repayment process.

The Methodology

One-on-one interview plus concurrent think-aloud subjective questioning in usability lab environment with recording of user interactions with prototype information modules.

The Client Perspective

We retained Kate to conduct usability/validation testing during the development of online information modules. Kate gathered a group of testers that accurately represented our intended audience, developed a testing instrument that asked the questions we wanted answered and produced a clear and useful report of the test results.

Getting feedback from the intended user groups was invaluable for our project. We were developing an online product for an audience (post-secondary students) that we were not part of and, as such, we found that we could not rely on our own sensibilities and/or assumptions. Kate developed a tool and a method that suited the scale of our project, tapped into our audience and returned reliable results.

Sherry Newman, Policy Analyst, Accountability and International Academic Mobility – Canada Student Loans Program