The Mural Map of Canada is a web-based project that aims to provide a platform for mural artists, community members, and visitors to showcase and discover mural art across Canada. Mural Map is a function by Mural Routes that provide mural artists with a more responsive and user-friendly digital outlet to showcase their artworks.
Mural Routes is now in the process of making this tool even more accessible to anybody (not just mural artists) to upload mural artworks across the country. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to improve the user-friendliness of the website to engage an extended demographic and suggest recommendations that would help to do so.
September, 2020 to December, 2020
The team and the clients had a kickoff meeting to discuss the project. It was a virtual meeting where we got to know more about the client and understand their needs.
The need was to extend the Mural Map of Canada's functionality to mobile devices and make it user-friendly for new users. The aim was also to improve the website's overall functionality and help the client welcome more diverse users.
"People always have their phone with them, and this makes it easier for them to click a picture and upload it right away!"
- Marta Hernandez, Managing Director at Mural Routes
The aim was to -
Extend the functionality of the Mural Map of Canada and suggest recommendations to improve the website's user-friendliness for mobile devices.
For this project, the team decided to practice moderated remote user testing for user research. The test focused on mobile users and also targeted a diverse range of participants. As the clients wanted to expand their audience, we recruited participants from various backgrounds who were new to this website. Every participant was also a non-residence of Canada so that the team could check the efficiency of the map.
We selected 6 participants for this moderated remote user testing. The only criteria for selecting participants were - if they use a mobile device to check websites.
Each participant had to complete the given tasks in this moderated remote user testing session to conclude the test. These tasks reciprocate to the primary functions of the website. We informed the participants to think aloud as they were going through this test, and each participant took thirty minutes to complete the moderated remote user testing. This test helped us to analyze the user flow and the usability issues present on the Mural Map of Canada website.
Scenario to participants -
You are in Canada for your vacation, and you came across this website that informs its users about Murals in Canada. You visit this website, and you wish to accomplish these tasks -
After completing the user test for each participant, each member of the team analyzed the data individually. We re-watched the recordings from the user test and analyzed all the information from our participants. After writing down all the issues, we grouped them according to 'where does the problem occurs.' This way, the team narrowed down the data and started to focus on selected issues. Every problem also got a severity rating based on how many participants faced the same problem and how big the problem was.
With all this data and information, each one from the team worked individually on recommendations. We based these recommendations on the data collected from the participants during the moderated remote user testing. By keeping the website's functionality as it is, these recommendations enhance the user experience for the website.
Click here to view the full report for this project.
Suggested recommendations -
All participants had various feedback on the Mural map as it instantly caught their attention on the page. The team noticed that there were many challenges that the participants encountered when navigating the map. Many participants were confused by the world map display, even though the website is originally from Canada.
"Why is there a world map here specifically if the website is for Canada?"
- One of the participant
The team recommends making the map Canada-specific and removing the world map view. Also, the map could clearly state the city or town in bold letters to increase discoverability.
The team also noticed that participants were not aware of what the colors meant on the world map. Even though one participant could identify the colors on the map, others found it challenging to understand the colors and the sizes.
"I don’t understand the colors on the map."
- one of the participant
The team recommends creating a map legend that identifies the significance of colors on the map. This legend can be housed right on the map so that a user can quickly distinguish which area has more murals than others.
When participants looked through murals, it was easy for them to discover the 'share this mural' button. However, participants felt limited with their options. The current options for the share function are outdated and do not match the type of content the website promotes. The participants don't feel motivated to share the mural on the social media platform with the current website.
"Why is there no Instagram or Tumblr? because those are the platforms I use the most."
- One of the participant
Mural routes can update their social media platform lists that fit according to the content of the website. The team also recommends adding a button to directly 'copy link' so that the users can effortlessly copy the link and paste it on their preferred media platforms.
While using the Mural Map of Canada website, users also felt that it has a very long scroll. The users have to scroll a lot to access the page numbers at the bottom of the page. The current website provides all the information on the homepage, making the users scroll through a long list.
Mural Map of Canada can make their scroll short by limiting the number of murals on their homepage. Limiting the number of murals per page to 10 can help users reach the bottom of the page much quicker. Instead of writing down everything, the website can also display a caption preview of the content.
Even though we did not direct this project towards designing, it offered many new things to learn. As a designer, I got to know the importance of criticizing design. It helps ease a designer's job, and it is also helpful for the "non-designer" individuals within the organization. Through these reports, every member within the organization can be a part of the process and add their thoughts.
For the following steps, I would make these recommendations come to life by implementing them on the live website. As mentioned in the report, these recommendations are tested with real users and could be trusted. It also adds another benefit to the organization of not going through user testing with the new designs. Organizations should at least have these reports written every six months to keep up with user behavior.
Building a cohesive and in-depth data visualization that informs the viewers about all the information related to space missions from 1957 to 2020.
Expanding the functionality of NYC.gov to allow the user to interact with events and browse events relevant to them more engagingly.