I was a UX researcher and project manager for a comprehensive usability analysis of NEEShub, the online collaboration platform for the NSF-funded Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

NEES logo

Project Scope & Background

NEES is a U.S. government-funded research network for researchers investigating structural and earthquake engineering. My team was approached to analyze the usability of the “Project Warehouse,” the primary center of activity on their online collaboration network (NEEShub) where research data were stored and exchanged.

Updated NEEShub Project Warehouse

Mapping Interactions

We created an interaction map to represent the site’s structure and illustrate the flow of potential interactions among its pages, with the goal of visualizing how users might navigate through the site. The tangled complexity of the finished map suggested that there was room to improve the site’s structure and information hierarchy.

NEEShub interaction map

Heuristic Evaluation

My team conducted a heuristic evaluation of NEEShub in our search for interface usability issues. Out of a total of 55 findings, we ultimately decided on the seven most critical issues and compiled a report of our heuristic findings for a presentation to our client.

Interviews, Personas & Scenarios

My team interviewed NEEShub’s users, who were primarily doctoral students and professors researching structural and earthquake engineering. We used our interview data to construct three personas, each with corresponding scenarios. We referred back to these personas throughout the project to guide our analysis and maintain our scope.

Usability Testing

I performed a usability test of the existing Project Warehouse mircosite within NEEShub with both onsite and remote proxy users who matched the persona demographics. I designed the user tasks and developed the moderation scripts as well as pre- and post-test questionnaires.

Raw formal usability testing data

Final Report

I presented our final findings and recommendations to NEES along with our team. The findings were organized into four main areas for improvement: search functionality, help and documentation resources, file and data management, and file browsing. Our presentation was well-received, and some of our recommendations are reflected in the current NEEShub Project Warehouse micro-site.