DEVELOPING AND CONDUCTING USABILITY TESTS TO IMPROVE WEB CONTENT DELIVERY OF USGS COASTAL HAZARDS SCIENCE
Dion Kucera1, E. Robert Thieler2, Emily Himmelstoss2.
1Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 2Coastal and Marine Geology Program, United States Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program has compiled multiple datasets on the nature of America’s coastline, containing hundreds of scientific reports representing over 15 years of research, as part of its National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project. This includes data on extreme storms, historical shoreline change, and coastal vulnerability to sea level rise. This information has previously been made available to the public across nearly 20 different websites. In an effort to integrate this data into a unified location and streamline public accessibility, the USGS is developing a web portal where stakeholders, such as landowners, scientists, policy makers, or students, can quickly and easily view and interact with the data within a single user-friendly web application. As part of this effort, user testing was performed to help elucidate areas where design improvements would improve the web portal to increase its effectiveness in relaying USGS science to the public. Usability testing is the testing of a product or service with potential users to identify how to best develop a product to meet its goals. Eight participants were asked to complete scenario-based tasks on the web portal using written prompts. Post-test Likert scale evaluations provided further data about portal user experience and satisfaction. The tests are evaluated against the stated goals of the web portal, which include speed in finding information, clarity of information presented, ease of access for each user group, and user satisfaction. Test results are used to inform ongoing web portal development.