back to projects overview

Usability optimization of

Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

"Knowledge for Development" (k4d) is an online platform where research projects in the field of sustainable development are published. Funding is provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The goal of the project was to optimize performance and usability - superpowers of the Ergonomen and OVA Partners.

Challenge and goal

The UN defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved globally and by all UN member states by 2030. Examples are: no poverty, no hunger or increased gender equality. publishes research projects that contribute to these goals. The challenges in this project were that the website struggled in creating a clear link between the SDGs and the associated research projects. In addition, the target group comprising representatives from the media, research and politics seemed to have a hard time to find the content relevant to them . In order tackle these challenges and to improve the user-friendliness of the k4d-website, we engaged in revising the information architecture and the page concept including its design.

Website vor Optimierungen

Fig. 1: before the redesign.

Procedure and method

In a first step, we identified the most important problems from the user's point of view by conducting a usability test in our lab. In the morning, our client and our project-partner gathered in the lab of the Ergonomen and observed how four representatives of the target group solved various tasks on the website. In the afternoon, we evaluated the outcomes of the usability-test and started developing a new concept. In a next step, this was then translated into a prototype by OVA Partner over the following weeks. In a second test iteration with real users, we validated the new concept and refined it. 

Fig 2.: Usability test – clustering the findings. 

Result and measurement of success

The result of the second usability test showed a significant increase in the perceived usability of The success was quantified by means of a system usability scale (SUS). The SUS evaluates a system based on 10 criteria such as "I find the system easy to use: Disagree at all - Agree absolutely". If a website receives a score above 73, its quality of use is considered as "good". For, the score before the optimisation-measures was 37.7 and thus indicated considerable usability problems. After the project, integrating the users' standpoints, the website exhibited a SUS-score of 85, which indicates excellent usability.

Fig. 3: The System Usability Scale (SUS) score of – before and after the optimization.

Customer benefits

The project has demonstrably increased the user-friendliness of the online platform. The modifications motivate users to browse the website thanks to the optimised filter and search function as well as the optimized page performance enabled by the Wordpress specialists from OVA Partner. The improved user guidance along the 17 SDGs supports readers in forming a mental model of the content and thus to internalise these SDGs efficiently. Our clients thus fulfil their mandate to provide broad information about the diverse international development aid projects.

Fig. 4: after the redesign.

Interested? Contact us!