Civic and Community Engagement | Climate | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies

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Students in the Fall English 231C Honors Climate Change and Crisis Communication course worked with instructor Megan McKittrick and Dr. Richards to conduct a usability test of Climate Central’s Risk Finder tool. Using the qualitative data, general trends that indicate potential areas of improvement for the website were identified. Students’ tasks were to find volunteers for the usability test through systematic sampling, conduct the test and analyze the audio recordings, and finally to code the data for themes to see if any trends became apparent. Several things became noticeable after looking at the responses of the four research participants, particularly their reported inability to find the information they were looking for, even when such information was on the site. Through their reactions while using the information tool, key areas where website redesigns could improve usability were pinpointed. These areas included installing a loading cursor icon and adding color-coded areas on the interactive map to account for the differing severity of flood risk. Lastly, modifying the help menu to make it stand out may guide users to use the help tools right when they need them.