Citizen User Testing Group

UX Research

Project Summary: I was the project manager for a user testing project, a University of Michigan student collaboration with Ann Arbor Public Works, to determine how to improve citizens' experience on the city website.
Three people sitting at a table doing user testing.
City of Ann Arbor Public Works
My Role
Project Manager & UX Researcher
project type
UX Research
Research methods:
  • Usability testing
  • Affinity Diagramming
  • Insights and Recommendations Presentation
project overview
My Role: I was project manager for a University of Michigan student collaboration with the City of Ann Arbor Public Works department to determine how to improve citizens' experience on the solid waste disposal website. I facilitated several client meetings and the majority of the team meetings, communicated with members about responsibilities, and scheduled team work sessions. Additionally, I ran usability testing sessions, contributed to writing the interview protocol and affinity wall data analysis. I presented insights and recommendations to the client during the final presentation.

Residents need clear and easy-to-find information about how to manage their trash, recycling, and compost, while also understanding how that practical information fits with the community effort to reduce what goes into the landfill.

Goal: Decrease calls to customer service by improving user experience finding information on the website.
Initial client meeting
Project Background: The trash and recycling pages on the City of Ann Arbor website are some of the most-visited pages. The City of Ann Arbor does press releases about waste disposal holidays and provides a lot of information about trash, recycling, and compost on the city website. They also do education on recycling education on the website and at various events. Yet, calls to customer service still mostly relate to missed service or finding out when trash/recycling day is.
User testing Interview protocol
Based on client's needs and our own assessment of challenges on the website, we decided on 6 tasks for users to complete. Each task would give us information about different areas of waste disposal information and navigation on the website.
usability testing
Completed usability testing with 10 Ann Arbor residents. Each session with residents was a semi-structured interview in which we had pre-task questions, presented each of the 6 tasks, and asked clarifying and follow-up questions, and closed with post-task questions. An interviewer and note-taker worked in pairs for each usability test with the participating resident, who had brought their own device.
affinity diagramming
We used a Miro board for affinity diagramming. We added all user testing notes to sticky notes and then clustered them with notes of similar content/sentiment. Through affinity mapping, we generated core insights from the testing.
recommendations presentation
We concluded this project with a presentation to our client that included 3 recommendations we'd developed based on the 3 primary insights from usability testing.
Our client, staff at the City of Ann Arbor, were very interested in the insights from usability testing, and after the presentation, stated that implementation of all our recommendations would be discussed.

Our first recommendation had to do with functionality of the map for residents to find out the day of the week of their trash and recycling pickup. In testing, we found that residents were unable to use the map at all. They were able to find their address but were unable to find their pickup day.

Below are images of the map during testing and the map since the City of Ann Arbor implemented changes based on our usability testing results and recommendations.

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