Please feel free to invite some of your colleagues from your or another city/county if you think it would benefit them to be part of our group!
Rich Lovett, KCMO
Susan Waters, Overland Park
Randy Ellis, Overland Park
Sonya Fendorf, Shawnee
Kevin Whelan, Johnson County
Chris Audano, Overland Park
Barbara Hensley, MARC
Norman Shriver, Belton PD
How do we raise participation?
We're looking for suggestions on how to raise attendance and participation in the group meetings and listserv. Some ideas brought up were:
Send your ideas out over the listserv or to Rich.
Kevin Whelan, Johnson County, led a discussion on conducting usability studies. The County contracted with Austin Usability a few months ago to conduct their study.
The county decided to do the study to get an objective look at their site (www.jocoks.com) as a whole. There are currently about 30 to 40 departments represented by the site, each with their own look-'n-feel.
Other companies such as Nielsen and Human Factor do very costly usability studies. Austin Usability's cost about $7,000.
There were 15 participants in the study, selected by demographics, computer use, etc. by ETC for about $700. They were paid. Studies like this work best with those who are somewhat familiar with the Web, but have not been to the Web site being studied.
Each participant had 10 different tasks to perform during a two-hour session. A camera was set up to record each session. Some of the more common tasks were selected for the participants to do such as finding information about driver's licenses, property tax, etc.
Some of the county's findings included:
Even if you don't have the budget to have an outside organization conduct
a usability study, you can easily do one in-house. You can ask for volunteers within your organizations; 5 or 6
should find the majority of problems. Go to their workspace, where they are more comfortable, and tell them to
"think out loud".
Kevin said they also did a study just within their department this way and changed about 100 things from the recommendations of just 7 or 8 people.
Kevin also recommends the book "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug that talks about how people use and navigate through Web sites.
When (if) you have downtime, update some of your more popular services and make them easier to use.
Whether you are redesigning your entire Web site or just adding a new service, have a handful of people test it before going live.
Kevin was nice enough to share the study summary prepared by Austin Usability. I will send it out over the listserv after these minutes. If you have any questions, e-mail Kevin at Kevin.Whelan@jocoks.com.
I showed the group how easy it is to use bCentral, our method of sending out e-mail newsletters.
For the cost, it is a good value. It is a web service that can manage various e-mail lists. We use it in OP to send out our resident newsletter, press releases, City Source (weekly newsletter), job opportunities, and information about the new community center.
It can send messages in both ASCII text and HTML format. I created the HTML templates in DreamWeaver and cut and paste the code into a form on their Web site.
Cost is (I think) $249 a year. That allows you to send out 5000 e-mails a month. If you need to purchase more, 10,000 cost $15.
If you have any questions about bCentral e-mail Susan Waters or see their Web site, www.bcentral.com.
Next Meeting: PhotoShop Tips and Tricks
Our next meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on April 15 (tax day!) at the MARC offices. We will share tips for working with graphics in Adobe PhotoShop. Also, we will have time at the end of the meeting to discuss what's on your mind or any issues you'd like to talk about.
If you have any ideas for future topics or guest speakers, please share them with Rich Lovett, KCMO (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Susan Waters, Overland Park (email@example.com).