For the past several months, DPD has been conducting a study designed to answer a simple question: How usable is our Web site? The study was prompted by our conviction that customers—the people who use the site—are the experts on how it should be designed and organized.
As part of the study, we conducted formal usability testing and a customer survey, as well as looking at data about what pages are most visited, what links are most clicked, and what customers search for most frequently. We also evaluated every page on the site to determine its accessibility to people of all abilities and disabilities.
As we wrap up the study, we’d like to thank all of you who participated; the information you provided was invaluable in helping us set a new direction for the site. We’d also like to share some high-level findings from the study.
What You Like
- Maps and research tools
- Viewing permit status
- Inspection scheduling
- Online electrical permits
- My DPD Dashboard
- Online inspection requests
- Online complaint form
What You Find Difficult
- Wading through all the information on the site
- Getting questions answered and finding the right contact
- Using forms
- Understanding Web site organization and DPD-specific terms
- Finding the steps in the permit process
- Understanding the status of your permit
- Searching the site
- Finding/using client assistance memos (CAMs)
- Distinguishing between what’s on the Resources page and the Online Tools page
- Figuring out which mapping tool to use
What You’d Like to See
- Online plans and documents
- Online plan submission
- Better ways to finding property information
- More current, updated information
- Communication in plain English
- Mobile/smart phone accessibility
- E-Mail and RSS alerts
We’re in the process of compiling the information from the study and planning how to proceed with redesign. Your feedback has helped us set several specific goals for site changes. First of all, any new site organization will be based on your view of our services—not the internal structure of DPD. We also aim to make the site 100 percent accessible for all users, and ensure that heavily use pages can be viewed from smart phones and other mobile devices. Finally, we’ll strive to make sure all information is written in “plain-language” that is easy to understand.
As plans for site changes begin to take form, we expect to do more usability testing and get feedback along the way. And if you didn’t get a chance to be involved in the study, it’s not too late. You can send feedback about current issues with the site, things you want to make sure don’t go away, and things you’d like to see added to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the subject line DPD Web Usability.