Usability Test & Evaluation of the Indianapolis Animal Care Services Website

Team: Reeti, Swapnil, Aishwarya, Bhavna, Echo Lu


About the organization

Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) is a community-based organization which works to promote the safety/health and wellbeing of pets and their owners in Marion County. IACS educates the public on issues like public safety and humane issues with regards to animal care. On an average 14,000 animals are housed and protected at IACS yearly.

IACS’s website (part of the City of Indianapolis’s government brand) is used by people who wish to adopt a pet, donate a pet, someone who would like to notify IACS about stray animals and find lost pets. The product serves as a guidebook/references book to its staff members. IACS’s site is expected to support volunteers to carry out their daily official activities as well. It also serves as a tool for new volunteers to sign up and work for the organization.



In this evaluation, we conduct cognitive walkthroughs, think aloud tests and heuristic evaluation in order to improve the overall usability of the IACS’s website and elevate its user experience.


My Role

I was a part of conducting Contextual Inquiries, Cognitive Walkthrough, Heuristic evaluation, Think aloud tests and proposing a solution for A/B testing.


Research Questions

We aimed to study the IACS website based out of three research questions:

RQ1: Are users able to find the Events page or are they frustrated upon not being able to search for events using the IACS’s website?

RQ2: Do the users find multiple links for adopting a pet confusing? How easy is it for them to perform this task?

RQ3: How convenient is it for users to make a particular type of donation to the organization through this site?


Evaluation Process

A flowchart of the evaluation process starting with interviews, cognitive walkthrough, think aloud test, heuristic evaluation and A/B Testing



Conducted interview sessions with the client at IACS, and the volunteers working at IACS who use the site on a regular basis. We also took to social media to inquire about the experiences of other people who have used the site to adopt a pet in the past. Following a script, we organized the data from interviews to enlist issues that frustrate the users.

  • Complex navigation
  • Functionality Issue
  • Unorganized links
  • Poor Visuals
  • Disorganized layout for images

Pie chart showing the UX concerns pertaining to the IACS website

Cognitive Walkthroughs

We then performed Cognitive walkthroughs to self-evaluate the website. We defined tasks to come up with pressing usability issues. This method enabled us to come up with appropriate suggestions and solutions.


Task 1: Find an Event

IACS hosts several events to promote animal safety and pet adoption.

find an event flowchart

Task 2: Adopt a Dog

One of the primary tasks is adopting a pet. Users can search for a specific pet through the website’s gallery and visit the campus or call them to book an appointment.

flowchart of adoption process

Task 3: Make a Donation

IACS provides another feature about donating funds. Organizations or users can donate pet toys or funds using one of the four options available on the website.

flowchart of making a donation process

Think Aloud Tests
  • Next step was to recruit potential users of the IACS website to conduct the Think Aloud Tests.
  • Participants performed these tasks of adopting a dog, finding an event and making a donation while thinking out loud and letting us know their pain points and frustrations when using the website.
  • I was the mediator of the session. I was involved in defining and explaining the tasks, while simultaneously recording the screen interactions made by the users with their prior consent.

Think Aloud Test Results

Think Aloud Test Results Continued


UX Issues Detected and their Proposed Solutions

Here is a graphic representing the major UX issues found (highlighted in blue) and their corresponding solutions (center circle)

Complete Evaluation process in a nutshell


Version A and Version B

Version A: Current IACS site

Version B: Proposed changes

Performance analysis between version A and B: System Usability Scale (SUS)


Proposed Future Work

We would consider studying and evaluating the responsive aspect of this project. Through a mobile platform, we intend to propose a promotional feature for the IACS event promotions and Staff-Volunteer intranet services. Setting up the analytics platform is also a direction we intend to take to track the number of visitors who use the IACS’s website.