BACKGROUND is a website featuring recipes, recommendations, and articles of interest relating to the culture, learning, making, and purchasing of varying alcoholic beverages. The site features a modern layout with captivating photography that showcases carefully curated content on extensive array of topics related to cocktail trends, bars, and overall “drinking culture”.
Our team of four usability experts conducted a series of unmoderated remote user tests (URUT) to determine any common usability problems with and recommend several possible solutions. We built a user profile and methodology based on our assessment of Punch’s most likely target audience and their motivation for using the site. 
The following report seeks to improve the usability of certain features of the website, given the results of our team’s twelve unmoderated user tests.
Our team conducted a series of field-based tests via These unmoderated remote user tests allow for a quick turnaround time on usability testing without a moderator present, but still allow viewing and analyzing detailed documentations of users’ experiences with a product. 
To start, we built a user profile assessment of the most likely target audience that would visit and use Punch’s site. Based on the characteristics and requirements we drew up, we recruited participants to remotely record themselves performing our tasks on​​​​​​​

Participant's video recording on

Each of our four team members sent out a request for three users to complete our tests of, providing a total of twelve participants.
We required that participants were of legal drinking age in their current country, since recipes and articles in are written for people who consume alcohol and can legally do so. We also made sure that participants’ diets and religion allowed for alcohol consumption. The last screening question asked about the participants’ familiarity with alcoholic beverages, since the website content requires basic knowledge about different types of alcohol to find recipes and understand articles. Because the website is in English, we also made sure that all participants were fluent in English.
All users were given the same scenario and a set of four tasks to complete. The team generated the tasks and scenarios based on what the target audience would most likely seek out on the site. Some of these included: searching for recipes for cocktails and cocktail ingredients, discovering places to buy certain spirits, and learning from guides to top-rated spirits.
After each task, participants were asked to rank the difficulty of their experience, from 1 (very difficult) to 5 (very easy). 
We also asked participants the following post-test questionnaire: 

1. Did you get stuck anywhere? How did you change your navigation process to
overcome this obstacle?
2. What, if any, elements on the pages did you find delightful?
3. Were there any elements that were especially confusing? Especially helpful?
4. Was there something else you would like to see on the pages you visited?
Overall, users participating in our team’s tests found Punch’s site visually appealing, engaging, and informative, particularly within the recipe-finding experience. They were able to locate new recipes for beverages and simple syrups and easily discovered handy features like filtering for certain flavor profiles and alcohols. 
As they continued through our task list, however, issues began to emerge primarily around navigating the site and searching for specific content outside of recipes. We assessed that most of these issues were related to the organization and tagging of the large amount of content housed on the site, corresponding to the users’ desire to find their way around the site in a way that made the most sense for them. 
We identified three areas where expanding functionality or highlighting popular elements already present on will help streamline and guide the user’s experience navigating the site. However, since this same issue with navigating and finding specific content came up in various ways and at various points throughout the task list, further user testing may be helpful to focus on content reorganization and on the general information architecture of the site.
Recommendation 1: 
consolidate categories, make the search bar more visible, MARK THE CURRENT CATEGORY users are visiting
Users overall felt lost when searching for desired content. Their initial reaction was to rely on the primary menu bar for navigation, but the labels of its categories were vague and uninformative of their contents. 
Accordingly, one participant mentioned that "Finding particular articles is hard to navigate, unless you know where it would be under to begin with. It is hard to find specific things you are looking for"
The menu bar is not completely unusable, however. One participant noted that they were "getting better at navigating this website but it's still difficult to figure out where to go". 
The primary menu bar and the search bar are the two main items establishing the site's navigation and should therefore be understandable and easy to use for users of any level of expertise.
Recommendation 2: 
Create a EASILY IDENTIFIABLE search function that includes suggested
searches, popular searches, and images of user’s search results
Users generally struggled with quickly finding desired information as they instinctively browsed through the site's contents rather than using the search bar. One participant quoted "It would have been nice if there had been a place where I could have filtered it with a word". It's crucial to provide them a fast and reliable way to access their desired information.
Among participants who found the search bar, they lacked confidence when typing their search queries as there was no guidance on the words they could search for. In particular, one participant wasn't sure about being able to "search for both rum and vodka".
Recommendation 3:
re-organize the INFORMATION IN THE Articles page to create a consistent HIERARCHY
follow the new navigation bar structure created in
Recommendation 1
Users generally felt overwhelmed by the volume of articles appearing under a single page. These articles were not grouped into subcategories or any labels that would help distinguish the contents from one page to another. One user said “When I clicked on Buying Guides, this is not what I expected to come up - all these different articles…"
Likewise, another participant quoted "This is Buying Guides, but it looks a lot like Articles". This also shows confusion in the labeling of the sites and a lack of clear distinction in each of their content, as all of them feature similar articles. 

Proposed page hierarchy mockup

Users in our tests were particularly pleased with the visual design of Punch’s site and their experience with the Recipes page, and several noted that the content they located was interesting and engaging
However, while Punch houses a huge archive of content that is relevant to their mission to promote stories and innovation around “drinking culture,” we often noticed the users in our tests were getting confused when attempting to locate other specific content, such as guide to top spirits or places to buy certain alcohols. Even if the desired content did exist on the site, it appeared tricky for users to find their way to it in a streamlined, easy way. 
As we further looked into this issue, we discovered a few areas where a simple reorganization of the search functionality, the main navigation menu bar, and the backend architecture of the articles page would vastly improve users’ ability to find what they are looking for.
It is worth a note for any future design iterations of this site: since the issue with navigating and finding specific content came up in various ways and at various points throughout the task list, further user testing may be helpful to focus more comprehensively on reorganizing the information architecture of the site.
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