Applying usability testing techniques to improve a health promotion website

Health Promot J Austr. 2008 Apr;19(1):29-35. doi: 10.1071/he08029.


Issue addressed: Use of the Internet for health promotion is increasing; however, the lack of published research regarding website usability suggests that health promotion websites are being developed without consultation with their users or formal evaluation. This study conducted usability testing of an existing health promotion website to inform modifications and to identify common usability themes that should be addressed by organisations developing or maintaining a health promotion website.

Methods: A combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques were implemented during the usability testing sessions to gather data from users while completing tasks on the website. Techniques included performance measures (time taken), direct observation (participant observation) and subjective user preferences (questionnaire and interview).

Results: Improvements to the website were measured in terms of reduced problems reported, reduced time taken to complete tasks and increased subjective reports. Seven usability themes emerged from the data: design, feedback, format, instructions, navigation, terminology and learnability.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the application of usability testing to the design and modification of a health promotion website and illustrates the areas or themes that can be used as a framework for testing and modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Marketing*
  • User-Computer Interface*