Web Usability has been heavily involved in helping to develop a new website for the Alzheimer’s Society that has just been launched. We are very chuffed with this and think the Society’s web team and their design agency have done an amazing job. Take a look at www.alzheimers.org.uk.
There were a number of challenges that had to be overcome. One of the principal roles of the site is to provide information about dementia to those with the disease and others who care. As a result the site contains a lot of information. Much of this was traditionally delivered as pdf documents which had to be split into a much more granular approach so it could be viewed as web pages. This meant a new information architecture was required and Web Usability was commissioned to develop and test this with users. After two rounds of development and testing, key user goal success rates were in excess of 80% - which, as those involved in this sort of work will know, is very good for a big information site.
We also worked with the design agency to test initial wireframes and early stage prototypes. Testing these with people with dementia was very interesting, it gave us all much more insight into the disease but it was also quite inspiring to see how they managed with the condition. The initial testing identified a number of significant usability issues that were addressed in the final designs. We think the final results are impressive. The site is clean, simple and easy to use and works well on all devices. It does this and manages to convey the Society’s brand values effectively.
One of the challenges in developing new sites in the not-for-profit sector is working with the internal stakeholders. Quite often what happens is the various parts of the organisation all defend their patches and compete for space on the site – especially on the home page - which can lead to all sorts of design compromises being made to meet political, not users’, needs. What was notable was how, in the various workshops and meetings we held with the various stakeholders, it did not take long to bring people round to seeing that the users had to be put first, not their departmental priorities, and that this would benefit them in the long run.
We are delighted to have been involved with this development and are sure that users will find it much easier to use and, as a result, this will help the Society achieve their aims.