A newsletter on progress-space research and audience development for cultural leaders. One reader calls it, "sometimes funny"

Since our son was born, the Long Island Aquarium has become more of a destination for our family. We celebrated Jasper’s first birthday there (loved it), and we visited again just a few weeks ago. (If we didn’t live an hour away, they’d probably get tired of seeing us.)

This time, I visited the aquarium’s website to buy tickets and thought it would be interesting to run some user tests to see how others might interact with the content.

I ran eight tests, but today I’ll focus on just one of those tests to show how the membership page may be preventing some visitors from purchasing through the website.

The task was pretty open-ended:

Find out more about what this organization can offer you and your family by exploring the website. How would you go about deciding whether to visit or become a member of the organization? Narrate your experience as you go.

I found one test participant’s interaction with the site especially interesting. Watch the video to see how she comes to the (incorrect) conclusion that the only way to become a member is by visiting the aquarium:

Watch the Video


Some people say you should never act on the findings of a single test — It’s not a “representative sample.” Never say never. A single product test can uncover low-hanging fruit, as well as deeper challenges that speak to an organization’s values. Who are we designing for? Who are we inadvertently excluding in our design choices? One product test can raise vital questions, and you don’t always need a large sample to uncover those questions.

As always, reply to this email to let me know your thoughts or share your feedback.


P.S. Here’s where you can download the screen reader simulator plugin for Chrome.

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