According to the textbook “Understanding Your Users”, Usability testing can be defined as “the systematic observation of end users attempting to complete a task or set of tasks with your product based on representative scenarios” (Baxter, Courage, Cain, 2015). These studies are used to see how users interact with websites to make sure that the site is serving its intended purpose. In this Abercrombie & Fitch study, we were able to identify problem areas of the current site and give recommendations to amend those issues.
Conducting the Study
In this simulation, we conducted a usability study with three participants. All participants were college students who frequently used the internet. Two-thirds were familiar with the Abercrombie & Fitch brand but none were familiar with the current website. Each session was remotely conducted and recorded via Zoom. The sessions lasted anywhere form 35-45 minutes. Participants were given an electronic form to sign and return prior to the session.
After initial instructions were given, participants were asked background questions regarding internet usage and online shopping habits. Then, a homepage tour was conducted where participants were invited to share their first thoughts and feelings towards the homepage.
They were asked to share things they liked, didn’t like or stood out to them. After this, they were presented with the following five tasks to complete:
Task #1: You are looking for a Christmas present for your sister. She wants a new long sleeve blouse. You have a budget of $55. Find a long sleeve blouse on this budget.
Task #2: You are looking for a gift for your brother for his birthday. He has requested the 6.7oz Fierce Cologne. Find this item.
Task #3: Your brother wants a very warm green puffer coat for Christmas. Find a men’s green puffer coat that is categorized as “ultra warmth”.
Task #4: Two months ago, you ordered a new shirt in the wrong size. You are looking to get a full refund on your credit card. Find out if you are still eligible to make this return based on A&F’s return and exchange policy.
Task #5: You have been looking everywhere for a new pair of dark blue skinny jeans. You are also on a tight budget. You are looking through all of your options before buying. Please “save” a pair of dark blue skinny jeans that are under $100.
Upon completion, the session was then wrapped up and participants were dismissed.
Results and Analysis
The participants were overall impressed with the homepage. They each noted the color scheme calling it “neutral” or “muted”. While they all did not have a problem with that, one participant claimed that because of the neutral scheme, nothing really stood out or popped off the page. Elements that they enjoyed about the homepage included the models being tagged at the bottom of photos, the “MyAbercrombie” graphic, and sale banners. Things they didn’t take a liking to where the “Buy Now, Pay Later” ad and the amount of scrolling to get to the bottom of the page.
All three participants completed 100% of the tasks given. They seemed to easily complete tasks #2 and #3 but struggled the most with task #4. The part of task #4 that they struggled with the most was locating the “Returns and Exchange” page. In this screenshot, you can see where the majority of participants went first (indicated by the red circle).
Instead, the “Returns and Exchanges” is actually located here, in the footer.
Overall, we found that the main purpose of the site (to sell A&F product) was very effective. Users were easily able to navigate the clothing pages and select the products they were looking for. The issues that arose pertaining to the clothing or accessories were simple fixes. For example, it was noted that when participants were asked to find jeans, none of them choose to select the “Jeans” category located in the top menu. Instead, they went to their respective genders, chose “Bottoms” and then selected the “Jeans” category. We are suggesting that the “Jeans” category be removed from the top menu and relocated under the respective genders. The biggest issue came about with “Returns and Exchanges”. Two thirds of the participants immediately went to find this under “About Us” in the top menu. “Returns and Exchanges” is actually located under “Customer Help” which is a page that can be found in the footer. In order to avoid confusion and make it easier for the user to find this information, we are suggesting to add a “Contact Us” or a “Customer Service” page to the top menu.