Case study – Airport website usability focus group

Online website usability testing objective:

A new Airport website varied greatly from the existing website in both content and layout so usability testing was essential to ensure that the new design and presentation was intuitive and user-friendly.

Testing focus included: content readability, navigation, widgets and tools, meanings of titles and headings, iconography and visual appeal of the website. Including the assessment of ‘sticky’ content to encourage repeat visitation by users.

Target audiences:

Group 1: State resident travelers who use the Airport either to depart to and from or as meeters and greeters.

  • 18+ years of age,
  • 50% with children 17 years and under
  • Total of 8 participants

Group 2: National travelers who have used the Hobart Airport to enter or leave Tasmania.

  • 18+ years of age,
  • 50% with children 17 years and under
  • Total of 8 participants


  • 2 x online usability focus groups were conducted based on the two target audiences – State and National travellers. Each consisting of  8 participants.
  • Each online usability focus group was scheduled and conducted at 7pm AEST to increase convenience for participants and ran for approximately 90 minutes.
  • GroupQuality was used to conduct the live online usability focus group research sessions.
  • GroupQuality’s online usability focus group proprietary software and research method brings participants together in an online environment to discuss topics, provide feedback, share ideas and opinions.
  • Each real-time (live) online usability group was facilitated by a Moderator.
  • Respondents participated in the online research from the comfort of their own home or office, by logging in to the web browsers without the need to download any software.

The “Techethodology”

GroupQuality facilitates the real-time capture of both qualitative and quantitative data from each online usability focus group session in a virtual environment we call the workspace. Data is captured through a combination of qualitative online chat based discussion, and quantitative polls, surveys, and usability task metrics. All this is easily managed by a Moderator.

This hybrid methodology of both qualitative and quantitative data collection builds a more complete picture based on the target audiences responses.

All metrics are recorded within GroupQuality including all transcripts and are available immediately following each session.

The discussion plan which is managed and activated by a single moderator centered around the website navigation, website content and the use of website tools. The metrics we were able to capture included:

GroupQuality Real-time online website usability testing focus groups
  • Click navigation path
  • Time on each page
  • Completion page
  • Total number of pages
  • Average pages per task
  • Average time per task
  • Pass or fail on each usability task
  • Click heat-maps for each page – individual and accumulated
  • mouse flow heat-maps for each page – individual and accumulated
  • Satisfaction and usability questions tagged to each usability task


The target audience did not relate to the casual and chatty tone of the website content. Instead they preferred the information to be more direct and to the point. Chatty tone was seen as acceptable on general information pages, but not on pages where the user had specific and direct information needs such as information about terminal check-in procedures.

The ‘Destination’ page content on the website was seen to need additional information to assist travelers in the time immediately after they land in Hobart. Information such as what they should pack for the climate, and how the airport was situated in respect to surrounding areas and destinations.

Although the ‘tourist’ information was seen as helpful, some participants stated that general tourist information had already been sourced when planning their trip so dedication of this kind of content on this page was seen as too specific.

The use of imagery on the website was a hot topic. The home page of the website features a banner slider with various imagery iterations. Participants saw that the images were too centered around the airport terminal itself and images of people. Instead, they regarded iconic imagery of Southern Tasmania as more relevant to passengers and visitors.

Participants identified usability concerns with the maps on the website. Lower level users were not confident to use the interactive features of the online maps e.g zooming in and out and interpretation of pins. They suggested textual instructions should be included to accompany the maps to encourage interaction by users.

The website has a section dedicated to Corporate (non-traveler) information. This is presented essentially as a micro-site within the main website. It contains information such as policies, contractor information kits, and media instructions. Participants suggested that the section’s name – ‘Business’ , be changed to ‘Business and Community’. They stated as a traveler they would click on the ‘Business’ section, expecting to see information targeted at business travelers. Not surprisingly, they found the content in this section as irrelevant to their needs.

The navigation was a hot topic. The website’s drop menus have individual icons next to each title. This is to assist non-English speaking travelers and low-literacy users and assist those users who scan the content. However there was some confusion as the the meaning behind some of the icons and suggestions were made by participants to change some icons to more literal representations.

GroupQuality® is a cloud based software and service that helps you capture consumer insights, in less time, on smaller budgets and with fewer resources. If you need a fast and flexible tool to engage customers, employees and partners, to communicate, collaborate, ask questions and quickly capture the answers, then we are for you!

This article first appeared @

Share this: