After months of working closely with Tactica Interactive on designing the web portal, the research teams did what tech professionals are taught to do: to test it with some of the people it was designed for — citizens. Such testing is an ideal. However, in industry, ‘user testing’ can be difficult because of its cost or time it requires, or both.
University researchers usually manage to conduct such studies, but more often than not, they’re conducted in a laboratory because labs offer tightly controlled conditions. Studies done ‘in the wild’ — outside of research labs — aren’t as tightly controlled, but they can reach a larger cross section of future ‘users.’ Because the web portal is meant for all citizens of BC, the researchers insisted on testing the web portal in a mall in Surrey.