Cogia Intelligence is a powerful web and social media monitoring system.
The app searches for relevant content from both the web and unstructured data.
Discover the best way to improve the the system user engagement
Our first task was to discover the best way to improve the information structure. Our second task was to improve the app’s usability, particularly the Settings Section, by structuring the management tools and updating the User Interface style.
In order to discover the best way to improve Cogia’s information structure, we first needed to know how users themselves expect to see the information arranged.
With nearly fifty data points to analyze, Card Sorting was selected as the most straightforward and effective method for the job.
For the second task of improving the app’s usability, again, seven participants were selected. This time all seven participants were active Cogia Intelligence users aged 35 – 40 with interests in SEO, Marketing, Quality Assurance and Editorial Content.
Remote Moderated Research would be used for the usability testing and Elito methodology would be used to generate design ideas from the research findings.
Card Sorting is a technique in which a group of subject experts, or users, are asked to generate a dendrogram (category tree). Users organize items into groups and assign categories to each group.
This method helps create or refine the information architecture of a site or app by exposing users’ mental models.Our aim was to discover what kind of information made the most sense for users and how they expect to have the data structured when using Cogia Intelligence.
We continued our usability tests with Remote Moderated Research (RMR) using video chat and screen sharing software. This method allowed for us to:
To find the answers, users were asked to use the app and to “think out loud” while sharing their reasoning, feelings and desires by completing tasks such as:
Observations and insights from the Card Sorting user research were organized using an Affinity Diagram, a process used to cluster research observations and insights.
Through the Card Sorting activity we discovered that participants felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the huge amount of information they had to group. They often didn’t know where to begin translating the data into meaningful compositions.
This lead us to conclude that the amount of data being accessed by Cogia users could be causing a similar sense of overwhelmedness, and therefore contributing to the lack of engagement.
We learned an additional insight as well. Users prefer to navigate data from general to specific. As one of the users mentioned, “I want to know first what the world thinks, then specifically who thinks what.”
Through Remote Moderated Research we were able to confirm that the current Settings Section workflow is not intuitive and is time-consuming. The Settings Section not only contains the standard tools that a user would expect to find there, such as user administration or password control, but all of Cogia’s management tools are located within the section. And as with Card Sorting, RMR reconfirmed that users are confused by having so many options available.
Users feel lost and unfamiliar with most of the tools. This can cause a sense of frustration since users want to be in control of topics and filters. The preferred and primary method of control is Categorization. In addition, users expect to see the search results immediately.
Our final finding is that the current UI is as just as overwhelming to users as is the quantity of tools available. The default dashboard displays a variety of seemingly unconnected results making it difficult to know where to focus or how to make sense of the information that is displayed.
For our final phase, we chose the Elito method as the way to generate design ideas based off of the research findings and observations.
To enhance the UI, our first proposal is to divide the Settings Section into several management pages, including:
Most importantly, we recommend that Categorization be moved to the main dashboard as a toolbar. This would allow users to maximize widget utilization by easily and intuitively accessing Search, Topics, Filters and Sources.
Workspaces are predefined dashboards with specific characteristics depending on what kind of analysis the user wants to make. After first selecting a workspace, the user would then access a set of specific widgets related to the strategy they wish to apply.
By doing so, users would have an easier time finding the right tool within the system. In addition, they would be able to analyze faster while making better sense of the data.
The experience is further enhanced by the readily accessible Categorization toolbar. We suggest creating workspaces for the top three preferred subgroups: Competitive Analysis, Market Research and Security.
The creation of workspaces will help users make sense of and understand the use for the various widgets. A natural next step is to allow users to configure the widgets to meet their specific needs.
Our next proposal includes a balanced setup and full screen tools for widgets. Options would include the ability to configure widgets by simply clicking on a configuration icon. By reducing the amount of tools per widget and incorporating autocompleted input fields users would easily access only the information they are interested in.
In addition, we suggest a “compare dashboards” button that would make it possible to analyze several dashboards at the same time in the same area with metrics displayed side by side. When adding a new dashboard for comparison, the grid would adapt and rearrange automatically to fit.
Finally, the information and comparisons could be downloaded with a simple report button.
Even with the help of workspaces and configuration, the variety of widgets offered by Cogia is extensive. In order to take full advantage of the widgets, we suggest that the user obtain feedback from the system in the form of suggestion pop-ups. Such pop-ups would lead users to explore the system deeply by getting to know the tools that are available little by little.
User Experience is a factor we should always keep in mind since users will help shape our product to their needs and wants, but only if we listen to them.
User research and interpretation is a constant process that should accompany the lifetime of a software product.
Begin with the most imperative, large scale improvements first and iterate toward the finer details.