Launched in 1938, the Beano is the world’s longest-running weekly comic. In a time when the transition from digital to print has seen many publications falling by the wayside, the Beano sought to embrace the digital revolution, bringing together the best of the internet for children in a safe environment.
The Beano team enlisted Bunnyfoot to carry out some user testing with their target demographic (children of primary school age), to ensure the new site delivered a great online experience and provided them with engaging content.
The focus of the project was on finding and fixing any usability issues that were flagged as the children explored the site, as well as learning more about what they thought about the content.
This would be the first time that the new site had been shown to anyone outside of Beano’s project team (apart from friends and family!), so to make sure the site was thoroughly tested, Bunnyfoot delivered:
- 4 rounds of usability testing (two in London, two in Sheffield) over four weeks, with 32 children
- Recruitment of a group of participants aged between 7 and 10 years old. Sessions were conducted in pairs (friends or relatives) using an iPad Air, and the Bunnyfoot moderators went out of their way to make the children feel at ease – including age-appropriate clothing!
- Evidence-based recommendations in the form of a fully actionable report of all four sessions
Our consultants made sure to dress appropriately, to put the participants at ease
Overall, the results of the sessions were positive and confirmed that the Beano development roadmap was implementing the key features required to create a positive online experience for children.
Some other key findings included:
- Testing highlighted the importance of clear information architecture and navigation, with words and icons, to help children understand the different type of content available and easily move between pages.
- There was no one preferred device orientation on iPad, and interestingly, once a child started exploring the site, they didn’t rotate the device – even if their experience was hindered because of this
- The variance in reading ability between the participants was quite vast, so it was recommended to Beano that this should be kept in mind, and for them to use simple language whenever possible
- Younger children need a flexible predictive search option to assist them with their spelling (and save time in the process, avoiding the risk of them getting bored)
- The participants expressed a desire to share things they found interesting with others, yet had limited experience of how to do this using the internet – in fact, most children said they would share content by physically putting their device in front of a friend!
Implementing a user testing methodology for the Beano team was a great project for Bunnyfoot; trialling a product on children is never easy, but the Beano team had created an interesting, impactful project that it was great to be involved with, and it was great to see positive changes and new features rolled out each week as a response to user feedback.
The Beano website went on to win not only the ‘Best Entertainment / Leisure Experience’ award at the 2017 UXUK Awards, but also the ‘Best User Experience’ award – the most coveted award of the night – which is testament to how much care and consideration went into the project from both Beano and Bunnyfoot, and confirmation that following a research-led user-centred-design process can produce truly excellent outcomes!