Did it make a difference

The new portal allows people to get to what they need much more effectively and efficiently than the old one did. Here are some data points from usability testing:

Success with the new HHS portal site

(16 people each doing 12 tasks = 192 attempts)

Getting off the home page onto a good path

97 percent

Getting off the next menu page still on a good path

87 percent

Completing the scenario successfully

82 percent

See Theofanos, Mulligan, and Redish, 2004, for more on changing the HHS portal site.

Five of the tasks we asked people to do in the usability test of the old site at the beginning of the project and the usability test of the new site at the end of the project were exactly the same. Therefore, we can compare results for those five tasks. (We had 16 participants in each test. The tests were at different times, so the people were different, but they were all recruited by the same group from the same overall pool of people and had similar demographic characteristics.)

Comparing the two sites on the same tasks

Success using the original home page on five tasks

41 percent

Success using the final home page on the same five tasks

92 percent

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