Academic Advising Website Usability Evaluation

As part of a 4 person team, I helped create and conduct a usability evaluation of the UNC Academic Advising website. The Academic Advising website provides undergraduate students with information about their major, course scheduling advice, and lots of other useful information for students seeking advising. However, the advising group felt the website could benefit from a usability evaluation to assess pain points and determine if there were areas of improvement for making the site more useful for students.

Chart from Academic Advising report (1 of 3)
The time on task for each participant. The "Advice by Student Year" task took the longest to complete.

Stakeholder Interviews

Before creating a test plan, we conducted stakeholder interviews to determine pain points that we should explore. After talking with advisors and the head of the advising site's digital content committee, we started working on a test plan that included a moderator guide and tasks. The tasks included finding required courses on the site, searching degree options, getting advice by student year, requesting more time to complete a degree, and scheduling time with an advisor.

Chart from Academic Advising report (2 of 3)
Each user's confidence in successfully completing a task.


Group members took turns moderating and note taking as we conducted 10 evaluation sessions. We used Camtasia to record videos of users using the site. For gathering pre- and post-task questionnaire answers, we used Qualtrics. At the end of each session users completed a System Usability Scale questionnaire

Chart from Academic Advising report (3 of 3)
How satisfied users were with the time it took to complete a task. In this case, even though "Advice by Student Year" took longer (see the "time on task chart" above), that didn't necessarily bother people because they were OK with it taking longer.


We compiled qualitative and quantitative data into an executive summary to provide for the advising stakeholders. We also generated a full report for our professor. We found that exploring degree options was difficult for users (only 4 out of 10 users completed this task), but scheduling time with an advisor was very easy (10 out of 10 completions). Also, getting advice by student year (i.e. what to do as a Freshman, Sophomore, etc) was perceived to be one of the more difficult of all the tasks.