San Francisco, CA
Achieving Universal Usability
With over 32,000 practitioners worldwide,Elanex is not your typical translation service provider. Combining a crowdsourced business model with a powerful technology platform, the company provides a growing customer base with a more efficient, cost-effective way to get professional translation services.
Founded in 2003, the California-based company experienced rapid growth, and added thousands of customers and translators to its translation platform. In 2010, Elanex began to focus on the platform’s overall usability. This led Chairman Jonathan Kirk to sign up for a usability test cycle with uTest and its own global community of software testers.
"We were very familiar with the crowdsourcing model, so we were delighted to identify a company in the test space with the same philosophy," said Kirk. "uTest is doing in software testing what we’re doing in translation."
This case study will demonstrate how uTest was able to provide Elanex with a streamlined process for conducting usability testing of their translation platform. It will include details on uTest’s dedicated UX experts, survey results, unique feedback and other aspects of uTest’s usability services.
Elanex: Testing Goals and Objectives
Jonathan explained that the Elanex platform is an integrated system with a variety of different users, including project managers, thousands of translators, editors, accounting, sales people, and others, with many different tasks to accomplish. As such, the usability of the platform varies greatly depending on the specific role of the individual using it.
"The platform has evolved tremendously this year, especially the user interface," said Jonathan. "The problem was that we were not entirely sure we were providing the optimal experience, so we started thinking of ways to make the platform more user-friendly for everyone that used it."
But how? Where to start? uTest has dedicated usability (UX) experts in its community that can be assigned to every customer account if need be. In this role, the UX expert manages every phase of the testing, including the usability audit, survey creation, focus group selection and detailed analysis of the results.
"Our UX expert was invaluable for this process," Jonathan explained. "Especially considering the fact that we have never managed a test cycle like this before. She really took the time to learn the different roles within our platform. She gave us a lot of useful information. She’s a true professional."
Test Cycle Execution
After an introductory session, in which Elanex explained the scope of the project, the test cycle was ready to begin. Over the next seventeen days, their dedicated UX expert examined the product from the perspective of multiple users, compiling notes, feedback and suggestions into a comprehensive report. The UX expert also conducted a user survey, soliciting and collating feedback from users provided by Elanex.
"The results were terrific, said Jonathan. "The presentation was incredibly well-organized. We could analyze feedback based on positive and negative reactions, but also according to which role was involved. This included some very high-level stuff regarding user interface and general design elements. We also received an array of usability recommendations, both big picture and very concrete, enabling us to make specific short term changes and define a ‘usability styleguide’ for future development. It was definitely in line with our expectations."
Summary and Next Steps
For Jonathan and his team at Elanex, leveraging uTest for their usability testing needs proved to be a much more productive experience than the status quo.
"We would always get feedback from our internal resources, but this doesn’t necessarily give you a sense of priority," said Jonathan. "We needed a more organized approach and that’s exactly what uTest offered."
In the future, Jonathan expects uTest to play a part in similar projects as the company evolves, including functional and exploratory testing of its web and mobile applications.
"We’re big believers in the approach," Jonathan said about crowdsourcing. "Both uTest and Elanex use technology to help people do what they do best. It was definitely a great opportunity to work together."
"We’re very happy with the quality of feedback we received. A third set of eyes is always useful and uTest makes it incredibly easy to streamline the entire usability testing process."
-- Jonathan Kirk, Chairman, Elanex