Appendix 2: Methodology for user testing

Inland Revenue Department: Making it easy to comply.

We contracted a research firm to carry out user testing of materials produced by Inland Revenue. The objectives of the testing were to:

  • assess Inland Revenue's website and supporting pamphlets and publications for individual taxpayers trying to understand their tax obligations when starting a business or working out rental income;
  • identify where improvements in finding and understanding information can be made to the tested materials and make recommendations to improve taxpayers' experiences;
  • identify the areas of strengths and provide positive usability findings; and
  • offer an overall assessment of how easily taxpayers could find and understand the information they were asked to locate.

The research firm carried out user testing with 10 people – five tradespeople and five rental property owners. The tradespeople had to be in the building industry and normally paid a salary or wage. They also needed to be considering doing work directly for customers or actually doing work directly for customers but not paying tax on that work. The property owners had to either have recently purchased or be considering purchasing a rental property and not have previously owned a rental property. All of the participants needed to use the internet at least twice a week.

The tests were carried out in Auckland on 13 and 14 December 2010. Each session lasted 60 minutes, beginning with an introduction where the moderator collected background information about each participant. After that, participants were asked to find tax information on Inland Revenue's website.

The tasks were designed to resemble realistic situations relevant to the participants. For example, rental property owners were asked to find out about their tax obligations on their rental income. Tradespeople looked for tax information about jobs that they were directly paid for.

By observing the participant's performance during the tasks, the research firm identified findability and comprehension issues.

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