Improving usability for Aftonbladet video pages

Our video pages needed a redesign, so we did a usability study…

Here at Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest news site, we recently began improving the usability of our video pages.

To understand how Aftonbladet compares to other world-class online video/news providers, we conducted an online test, which was answered by 110 visitors to Aftonbladet TV. We compared perceptions of our video page to similar pages on the BBC, CNN and YouTube.

Research objective

To compare the user experience choosing and watching videos on Aftonbladet TV with other websites, to help us improve Aftonbladet TV.

Test method

An online unmoderated test, created with the tool Userzoom. One website was randomly assigned to each user, they were then asked to provide feedback on first impressions and ease of choosing another video to watch.

First impressions and finding another video to watch

Participants were asked to give their first impressions of the website after watching a video for ten seconds. We also asked where they would click to watch another video and how easy it was to select another video.

The responses we received are summarised below.


BBC

First impressions:

  • Busy, too much information
  • Structured, easy to navigate

As well as reflecting on the structure and amount of information on the page, many participants also commented on the subject of the video clip, showing how easy it was to understand the video without watching it. Almost everyone chose from the row above the player when choosing another video to watch.
BBC

Many participants mentioned the good content overview, which we assume made it relatively easy and intuitive to select another video from this area of the page.


Aftonbladet

First impressions:

  • Messy
  • Cluttered
  • Many boxes
  • Many things onscreen

There was no common behaviour pattern when choosing another video on Aftonbladet. Choices were spread among different sections of the page. When asked how easy it was to choose another video responses were neutral (not overly positive or negative).

aftonbladet

Many participants commented there was too much happening on the page, making for a messy first impression. We think the many different page elements vying for attention makes choosing another video less intuitive.


CNN

First impressions:

  • Messy
  • Good overview of the video clip

The majority of participants said their first impression of the site was busy/messy, however some also commented on the clean design.

Almost all participants found another video to watch from the Videos You Should Watch section below the video player.

CNN

Several participants mentioned the clearly structured content of the page, which made it easy to navigate. This could be the reason most of them chose another video from the same page area.


YouTube

First impressions:

  • News
  • Structured
  • Messy

Fewer people commented on the website looking busy/messy than other sites. Instead, they mentioned the topic (news) and structure of the page more, and seemed to like it.

Almost all participants chose their next video from the first seven listed on the right-hand side.

Youtube

Of all the pages tested, YouTube was ranked highest for ease of choosing another video. We think the limited choice of clips and the clear page structure helps participants to choose.


Lessons learned

The comparison study made it clear: the Aftonbladet TV video clip page needs improving.

Other websites showed important content clearly first, while Aftonbladet displayed many items, all grabbing the user’s attention and making it difficult to choose.

Comparing these websites, it was clear it doesn’t matter if related content (the next video) is shown horizontally or vertically. For users, the most important thing is being shown where related content can be found, based on a clear and uncluttered layout.

A consistent response from participants was that all of these pages gave a ‘messy’ first impression, meaning this is not the main thing to focus on for improvements.

Next Steps

Based on these findings, the video clip page of Aftonbladet TV is being redesigned, adding iterative improvements to increase usability. A clickable prototype is under development to conduct actual usability tests on (with users in place and interviewed).

The last step is to conduct another online test, asking users to compare the new layout with the existing Aftonbladet TV website. This will test how the new design can help users choose videos to watch, one after another.

This article was first published in Schibsted Tech Publishing’s tech blog

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