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Glynn Technologies, A Division of Glynn Interactive, Inc.2007 Small Business Leader Winner
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Website Usability Testing and Design - AHRQ

Glynn Handling Web Site Usability Testing & Design for
Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)

Glynn Interactive, Inc. (Glynn) was awarded a contract by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to conduct the Usability Testing; redesign the website home page following the Health and Human Services (HHS) web design and technical standards; and design to meet the specifications of Plumtree portal software. We are responsible for meeting all the e-government guidelines and section 508 standards.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a critical mission: to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. AHRQ recognizes that an integral part of achieving this mission is effective communication with its constituencies, including consumers, providers, insurers, lawmakers and others.

Of course, one of the keystones to any effective communications plan is a website which provides timely news and information on clinical tests, consumer health research and funding opportunities. And successful web development always involves asking users how they would like to interact with the site, what kinds of information are most important to them, and how the site can be most effectively organized to meet their needs.


AHRQ turned to Glynn Technologies to lead and execute the critical initiative of Usability Testing, during which user input and feedback are gathered before and after the web design process to ensure a highly successful user experience.

Glynn's role is to work with the Agency Governance Council, and interface directly with Dr. Carol Clancy and her senior level staff, to understand the mission and goals of each AHRQ Office and Center prior to conducting external studies. Glynn Technologies also works with the internal AHRQ WebDev council which establishes all technical specifications for the agency's public website, intranet, and extranet. The overall mission is to convert all the public websites and the extranets and intranets into a standardized software solution (known as Plumtree) following a standard design, layout, and content which is the direct responsibility of Glynn Technologies to develop over the course of this contract.


Glynn is currently in the planning stages of the focus groups/usability testing of the ten identified AHRQ constituent user groups. Glynn has prepared the list of Participants, Evaluation Protocols, Instructions, Directed Tasks, Session Evaluators Checklist, Focus Group Moderators Guide, and Questionnaire. We are currently recruiting participants for the focus groups.

Glynn is working with another contractor who is conducting the internal interviews with AHRQ staff. This contractor will provide Glynn with documentation setting out the overall desired approach based on the findings from these interviews. The focus group recruitment will target consumers, clinicians, librarians, college healthcare educators, intermediaries, healthcare researchers, and data users for the sessions.

The focus groups will take place at the National Cancer Institute User-Centered Informatics Research Laboratory, Glynn's Bethesda facilities and at the participant's place of business when travel is not an option. Glynn is dividing the sessions into four types: Focus Group Sessions; Usability Testing (one-on-one); and Beta Testing accessed remotely; and online surveys that are pre-approved by OMB. During the focus group sessions we will introduce the effort to the group, ask them to complete a questionnaire, allow them to review the website, and then participate in discussions surrounding the main topic and subtopics on the current website. We use the affinity diagram approach (similar to the card-sorting approach) to create a "brain storming" session about the site's layout and content. Discussions surrounding "search" techniques, publications, grants and other topics that are general to most users are discussed. We score the information from these sessions based on a numbering system we assign to consistent answers provided.

Select participants from the focus group sessions are invited to join additional recruits during one-on-one usability testing. Our facilitator sits with the participant to interact and observe their approach. We use scenarios during these sessions and record their movement throughout . At the conclusion of the test, we ask participants to complete an evaluation which solicits their thoughts about their experience during the scenarios.

Glynn Technologies will deploy the AHRQ OMB approved Online survey via Glynn's live web servers at our Bethesda, Maryland location. Our recruiter will contact all targeted participants to prompt the participants to take the survey and ensure the surveys are complete.

Following each session we will score the information into our system and provide these findings to AHRQ showing the most desired approach as a higher score and the least desired approach with a lower score. Glynn Technologies uses the SUS analysis approach for scoring. All information received from each of the sessions will be documented into a findings document for review and discussion with AHRQ. At the conclusion of the 8 month project, Glynn will develop and deliver recommendations on the design, layout, and content of

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