Viviana Anaya | UX, Visual Design Portfolio

Viviana Anaya

(773) 770-5871

A screenshot of the Ladder Up volunteer online training.

Ladder Up

Category Usability Study
Tools Morae, Google Docs, Google Hangout
Client Ladder Up
Date 2015


Ladder Up is a non-profit that provides free tax assistance to low-income households. They accomplish this by recruiting volunteers who must go through a training process. A representative told us that the volunteers were having issues completing their training online. After receiving numerous complaints from the volunteers, they specifically asked whether we could help assess their volunteer process.

Process & Methods Used

Heuristic Evaluation & Cognitive Walkthrough – Our team individually conducted a heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough on the Ladder Up site. Their website is divided into two sections. The first section is an informational, external site that informs people about Ladder Up's mission. The second is an internal site that helps volunteers complete their training. The heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough helped us narrow down what areas to focus on for the usability test.

Usability Test – We evaluated the Ladder Up internal site by testing it on users. Participants were given five tasks to complete where we felt the site could use improvement. We drafted a test plan relating to those five tasks. We recruited seven participants for the usability test.

My Role

Test Notetaker, Video Transcription, Writer - Findings and Recommendations, Figure Designer


Scrollable Drop Down Menu – Two of the eight participants had issues with the Organization Affiliation dropdown menu. They were unable to find DePaul University easily,but scrolled by it several times.

Required Fields – Two of the eight participants were confused by the form instruction “At least one phone number is required”, as all three phone options are tagged with asterisks denoting required.

Form Length – A number of participants commented on either the length of the form or items they felt were unnecessary.

Videos – The videos are findable, but they don't encourage watching. Only three of the eight users opened both videos.

No Feedback – The system does not provide on certain pages.

No Clear Instructuions – The Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training (VSCT) does not provide clear instructions as to how to take the test or how long the test will take. Users assume that by selecting the radio button, downloading the PowerPoint, and clicking submit, that the first part of the training is complete.

VSCT Opens in a New Tab – “Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training” PowerPoint opens in a new tab forcing users to switch back and forth between the “Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training” tab and the “Volunteer Standards of Conduct Test” tab.

Lessons Learned

Scheduling – We scheduled each participant for 30 minutes. We didn’t anticipate falling behind on schedule. We aldo didn’t think to schedule a lunch break for the team. We learned to add some extra time for some wiggle room.

Test randomizer – We printed an answer key if the participants couldn’t complete the Volunteer Standards of Conduct Test. When we provided an answer sheet to our second participant, the test questions were randomized which we weren’t expecting. We typed the questions with the answer key.


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