Pandemic Stories

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Corona has impacted all of us in some way or another. Coronadiaries.io has put together a platform that may truly help some of us feel “not so alone” in this pandemic. Listening to 1 to 2 minute stories of how our friends are doing in on the other side of the world, could give us perspective, empathy, and maybe help us feel love.

I took the time to evaluate this humble website. To test it. What was it doing well? Where could it improve? And was it as accessible as it could be to the greater public?

Heuristics Evaluation

To start my process, I conducted my own Heursistics evaluation of the site. Using Jakob Nielson’s 10 general principals of design, I chose 4 main areas to look deeper into.

Testers and Tasks

To help me test the website, I asked for 7 participants to do their best to complete some simple tasks I gave them. In actuality, I was watching my 7 users decision making process, more than actually achieving the task. I asked them to talk me through their clicks, scrolls, curser moves, and even expectations of what was going to happen. I gave them the following scenario, to give them some motivation to finish the tasks:

“You are a foreign exchange student from Seoul South Korea, and you got stuck in NYC when the pandemic hit last year. You are homesick and a friend tells you about this website, so you can listen to people’s pandemic stories from your home.”

TASKS:

1) Listen to pandemic stories from some people in Seoul South Korea

2) Record your own story and upload it to the site (you don’t have to actually upload a recording, just take me through the steps and what you expect to happen)

3) You decide you want to take your recording down. How do you do that?

Journey Map

This was how the average user felt and moved through 1 of the tasks

In other words, although the users were able to finish the task, it was hard for them to find the steps to get there. And when they found the answer, they were unsatisfied with WHERE they found the answer, on the site.

Accessibility Analysis

Before I present my findings and insights, I wanted to conduct an accessibility scan of the site. Even before I did the scan, I realized that some of the color choices they made on the site, may have some low contrast issues, making it hard or impossible for persons with color blindness to read certain texts.

Findings and Insights

My favorite quote from one of my testers

100% of my testers liked the clean and simple look of coronadiaries.io. And most of them liked the idea of what the site represented, but all of them had frustrations with how the site worked in general. I narrowed down the issues to 4 main points and charted them by level of priority and severity.

The issue of trust was a high priority. The site is asking the user to contribute a recording/story immediately on the Home page, before the user is ever introduced to what the site is about. After my usability tests, I felt that the user never had a chance to be motivated to share their own story, to contribute to the site. I think with this simple change, they could have gotten more and could get more stories.

Suggestions for Improvement

Introduce the user to what the site is, before asking them to share their story
These icons are missing descriptions. More than 4 of my users didn’t know what to do with these icons.
This site definitely needs a support page. The user should be comfortable uploading their story, knowing that they can easily take it down in the future.

In conclusion

I hope that this project can be an introduction for me into the world of human philosophy in connection with User Experience. I would also be grateful if I was able to help coronadiaries.io even in the smallest of ways, with this project. I am humbled by this experience and so thankful to grow in ways unexpected.

Nora Pirsch

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