As the polling date is closing in fast onto Malaysians, the daunting task of deciding which party to vote is prominent. We at Netizen Testing wished to find out how easy it is for voters to find out Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) stand on issues important to voters through respective party’s websites.
We asked Malaysian users to separately go through their websites and find the necessary information. All their screen activities and their voice comments were recorded. This will be a 4 parts blog post where we will share with you different testing results each day running up to the election.
Based on the testing done by potential voters, PR’s website has 3 major and 8 minor issues whereas BN has 2 major problems and 6 minor issues.
Let’s find out what users said about respective parties’ website.
1. Impression of the Homepage
Having a homepage with a good impression will determine the likeliness for users to proceed further into the website. The users did not like the layout of the PR’s homepage for a few reasons, amongst them are being too similar to a blogspot webpage. On the other hand, users generally like the design of BN’s website. Take a look at the video and watch what users have to say:
2. User Expected Content Not Available
A potential voter was not able to find out who the party is on their website during this crucial period.
3. Displaying Mixed Languages
Both PR and BN websites are having this problem. PR’s website is mainly published in the national language but some of the links on the top and left navigation menu will take users to webpages and PDF files that are in English.
For BN’s website, users have the option to choose either to use the English website or the Malay website. All of the users chose to use the English website. Even though the users were on the English site, Malay language can still be seen here and there.
The inconsistent use of language tends to give a bad impression. Users might perceive that the website is not properly maintained and question the integrity of the information provided.
4. Looking For Information On Political Stands
Most of PR stand on political issues can be found in their manifesto, which is published in 6 different languages on their website but most of the users were unsure on where to look for this information. Watch the video and you will know why.
The PR website would do better if they were to integrate the manifesto onto the website instead putting in a PDF file. However, since the deadline is closing in fast, a quick solution would be to put the manifesto in the middle of the homepage so that it is immediately visible to any visitors. It would also make it easier for voters if they use a simpler term such as “Our Promises”, instead of “manifesto” as some users didn’t know what it meant.
5. Voters Not Familiar With Abbreviations
It is fairly easy to find BN’s 7 NKRA because it is right on the homepage and represented by clear icons but the users do not know what the abbreviation “NKRA” stands for. It would be better if the actual term is used instead of “NKRA”.
6. Other Issues
There are many minor user problems that we found from the testing. Even though these are minor problems, a collection of minor could cause big dent in user experience. It would be wise not to sweep them under the rug.
For example, we found webpages that are incomplete such the souvenir link (for BN), non-clickable website logo/ID and banners (for PR), and etc. These problems made it harder to create a good experience and impression for a voter on any respective websites.
Having a voter friendly design will make it easy for voters to find information that they want quickly. Both of these parties are competing to rule the country and their respective website is one of the most important ways to reach undecided voters. Based on the user feedback observed during testing, PR is lacking behind.
Note: All usability tests were conducted from 24th March to 10th April 2013. Changes to the website may have occurred after this period.