First learners try the service – findings from the test rounds

The usability and accessibility of the service was surveyed at the end of last year. The user testing provided important information on what aspects of work and what still needs refining.

Test rounds with real learners play a key role in developing the joint service for higher education institutions to run as smoothly as possible. For the first time, the Digivisio 2030 project allowed potential users to test the service in November-December 2023.

Test users were able to assess the ease of use and accessibility of the service to see whether it works according to their expectations and whether they can find what they were looking for on it. The timing for user testing was ideal.

– The service has developed to a stage where there is something concrete but, on the other hand, there’s still a ways to go,” explains Annu Schroderus, Product Manager of Digivisio.

Early testing avoids surprises

Tests are conducted to ensure that the foundation of the service will be robust and that there will be no later need for unanticipated repairs. Accessibility and usability have served as the polestars for development of the service from the outset. However, only the experiences of the right learners indicate how successful the work has been.

– The earlier possible challenges are identified, the easier it is to correct them, says Schroderus.

Annanpura served as a partner company to Digivisio in the accessibility tests. The testing was conducted by the company’s accessibility experts, who used with, for example, a screen reader. The usability survey was conducted by Gofore. A group of six test users was sought through a call for applications, including people with different IT skills and of different ages.

– We hoped that they would be interested in developing their competence and that they might have a need to find training opportunities for themselves.

Positive feedback, but areas needing improvement were also found

What did the tests find? According to Schroderus, learners gave primarily positive feedback in usability tests lasting about an hour. Even though the service was still in development, the learners could already see what it was about.

– They had a great deal of praise for its look and airiness, and found the service to be very clear and useful.

They felt there was room for improvement in, for example, the search function. It was not user-friendly enough for all users, and some of them had problems resetting the search criteria.

On the other hand, accessibility experts found it positive that the accessibility of the service has already been taken into account in the early stages of its development. On a grading scale of ABC, the current version of was given a B. It is not yet optimal, but it does indicate that, for example, visually-impaired people are already able to use the service for the most part.

– Things are quite good, but there is still room for improvement, states Schroderus.

Comments from test users guide further work

The test round findings have already been brought forward. The Digivisio Programme Office has determined which problems are so critical that they prevent the use of the service or cause the user to get stuck somewhere within it.

– All of these kinds of problems have been prioritised to a very high degree and will be fixed before the service is launched.

Other problems pointed out by users have also been reviewed and evaluated on how and when they will be resolved. The tests show the way on how we can further develop the service, and we should be seeing major development advances in 2024.

The latest version of the service (Technical Release Component 2.0) will be completed in the spring. Extensive testing rounds will be conducted on the service to not only examine the above-mentioned features, but also, for example, information security. When everything is in order, will be trialled in the first higher education institutions at the end of 2024.

User testing will also continue in the later stages of service development. From the perspective of developers, it is eye-opening to hear what things learners who use the service for the first time pay attention to – some of which can be quite surprising.

– Getting feedback from real users is absolutely invaluable to us.