Part 2: Bento User Testing Takeaways

By: Jen Carter, PBS Interactive

In part 1 of the Bento user testing takeaway series, Dana Schmidt, Communications and Special Projects Coordinator for Rocky Mountain PBS, reflected on their user testing session. This week, Bob Wilson, Executive Producer with Maryland Public Television (MPT), shares his takeaways from their Bento user testing session.

What were MPT's goals for Bento user testing?
As we began to look at Bento seriously as a full-service option, we had a checklist of critical components of our current website that would need to carry over to a Bento site, including a television schedule, a shop, a local programs guest database that can be used for public promotion and for private archives, content areas that have restricted admin privileges, and an online contest module.  We learned that some of these things are taken care of by Bento right off the bat, and those that aren’t can have solutions developed or accommodated using the smart snippet add-ons.

What were MPT’s goals for focus group sessions?
We saw this as a “reality check” opportunity -- to verify, or disprove, some of our assumptions about how effectively our current website functions and to explore the areas where improvement is needed.  It was also a way to see how these improvements could be made within Bento.

Why did MPT want to do Bento user testing?
At that point, we knew Bento was coming, but this was the first chance to get a real feel for it and to assure ourselves that it offered solutions or alternatives for all of our needs. PBS has a great support system where stations can learn about products via webinars, web resources and blogs, but getting an immersive hands-on session with the amazing team at PBS Interactive was incredibly useful.

What were you hoping to test during the focus group sessions
Does our site “navigate” the way we think it does? Are users getting the information and content they want and, if so, do they get it easily?  Not only does it have basic functionality, like can the user find our schedule or figure out how to contact us, but are we presenting our web content, especially video, in the most accessible way?

Were you surprised by the findings? If so, how and why?
Yes!  For example, several navigational terms that made sense to us (and that we’ve used for years) did not exactly translate to the user as we thought they did.  The standouts were “Support” which to us meant to donate, but to them it meant how to get technical support for the website.  “Community” to us meant outreach programs--to the users it meant getting news about what’s going on in their neighborhoods and towns.

As MPT prepares for Bento, what were your top three takeaways from the total visit?
  • That Bento is a full-service web development system that PBS is committed to maintaining and improving for the long haul, and as PBS Interactive moves forward in all of its initiatives, it’s done with Bento in mind.
  • That Bento is intuitive to use in not only presenting core web content, but also integrating the PBS content sources (Merlin, COVE) that we want to do a better job of using.
  • When can we start using it?  (Now!) But we are considering a timeframe of 6-9 months.
Check back for the final installment of the Bento user testing series coming next week.

Interested in learning more about Bento? Contact us or comment below.