A special kind of test

January 31, 2011

Every person, regardless of whatever different abilities they may have, can contribute, can be a source of joy, can beam with pride and love.”
Eunice Kennedy Shriverlogo special olympics


We were delighted that students of  Ph.D. in Technology Enhanced Learning worked with Special Olympics Ireland  to undertake user experience research on the Special Olympics website.  The aim of the research was to find out if the website encourages users to donate to Special Olympics and/or become volunteers with the association. 

Research involved a pre-test questionnaire, an ethnographical observation including eye-tracking and a post-test interview.   Testing was conducted here in the National E-Learning Laboratory and took place Nov to Dec 2010.

Banner Blindness:

We observed one very interesting pattern through data analysis. On the homepage of the website, there is a very prominent red ‘Donate Now’ Button, please see image below.   However, eye-tracking data shows us that this button appeared to be somewhat “invisible” to testers. This is an interesting take on what Jacob Neilson calls banner blindness; that is that users don’t like looking at anything they think might be an advertisement, no matter how obvious it is.

eye-track SO

All of us here in NCI congratulate the good folks at Special Olympics Ireland on the great job they are doing and wish them all best in the future! 

For more information on this research please contact:

Bernie O’Driscoll, eMarketing Manager, Special Olympics Ireland. Bernie.O’Driscoll@specialolympics.ie

Special Olympics Ireland are delighted with the user experience research undertaken by the students of the Ph.D in Technology Enhanced Learning at the NCI. The results of this research have provided us with valuable insights into how users navigate on www.specialolympics.ie and will guide future developments on the website, with a special focus on fundraising and volunteer recruitment. As a charitable organisation, we appreciate the invaluable support of NCI & its fantastic National eLearning Laboratory.
Bernie O’Driscoll at Special Olympics Ireland


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