Usability Tests on Public Good Website

With a few major design changes on over the past six months, we decided to conduct usability tests to evaluate the performance of the key user flows on the updated site, understand how users use the site, and discover potential product opportunities.

I was responsible to come up the test plan, moderate the tests, analyze test results and provide recommendations for design updates. I had another co-worker to take notes during the test sessions.

                                CNN article with "Take Action" button:

                                CNN article with "Take Action" button:


Why did i choose guerrilla usability tests

  • Limited budget - I had a very limited budget which was not enough to use online hiring and testing services.
  • Broad target audience - anyone who uses websites and is willing to do good could be PG potential users. 
  • Able to ask follow up questions - in person testings allowed me to ask more "why" questions, which helped me to understand participants' motivations. 

task: make a donation to anything you care about on

In order to create a real donation experience, I gave each test participant $10 to make a donation to anything they wanted to support on This task allowed me to understand how participants decided which nonprofits to support. It also covered most of the key tasks on the site:

  • Sign up on (optional)
  • Discover & search
  • Make a donation
  • Share on social networking (optional)

data analysis

After each usability test, my note-taker and I reviewed the notes immediately when the memory was still fresh. Once we got back to the office, we typed the notes in a word document for further data analysis. To analyze the data, I listed participants' behaviors, attitudes and usability issues into categories: pre-donation, during donation, and post donation.



Participants didn't know where their donations would go to on campaign pages. Although the page stated "The donation will be split among the nonprofits" along with the nonprofits' logos. Participants either missed them or couldn't read them due to the logo sizes. This lead to 9/10 participants left the page without making a donation.

Participants couldn't find the nonprofits they just viewed. "I just saw it, why can't I find it now?" Most participants tended to check a few nonprofit's profiles before they donated to one of them. Some of them had trouble finding the nonprofits they just viewed due to the infinite scrolling feature. 



Participants tended to donate to nonprofits that they had personal connection with. More than half of the participants chose to donate to nonprofits they donated to, volunteered at, or knew someone benefited from it.

Participants hesitated to share the donations to social networkings. "I am afraid my friend would think I'm showing off." Some participants mentioned donation is a private thing. And all of them mentioned they wouldn't want others know how much they donated.

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