Susan Walker uses a “30 Questions” method to test the accessibility and usability of the content they create at the Rutgers University Camden campus.
I first saw Susan talk about her “30 Questions” method at WordCamp US in Nashville in December 2017. We talked a bit about her talk there, but I still had more questions, so I invited her on the show.
Susan Walker is a web developer with OIT-Camden at Rutgers University, where she manages several WordPress multisite installations; researches solutions for common needs; and develops themes, plugins and maintenance scripts. Altogether OIT-Camden hosts more than 250 WP sites across several multisites as well as a number of standalone installations.
She joined Rutgers in 2011 following eight years with a Fortune 500 company providing IT and consulting services to universities. Prior to her tech career she was a the education reporter at the Port Arthur News in Port Arthur, Texas.
Susan holds a bachelor of science in Mass Communication from Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas) and a diploma in Computing from the University of Oxford. She is a native of New York City and currently lives in New Jersey.
She is a co-organizer of the Philly WordPress Meetup and WordCamp Philly. In her free time she is a supporter of the Philadelphia area arts community. Over the summer she performed as one of the Roman citizens in Shakespeare in Clark Park’s production of “Coriolanus.”
Here’s the video version of our conversation.
Here are my notes from my first listen to our conversation. Not a full transcript, but I hope it helps you find your way around the interview.
1:00 WordPress multi-site installations at OSI-Camden Rutgers University
3:30 WordPress “ninjas” on her campus
5:00 “30 Questions” methodology – origins – key tasks that testers try to get to from the home page – record how long it took to find, how long until you gave up, pathway/steps, accuracy/relevance/clarity once you find it –
6:50 simple methodology – spreadsheet – number of testers about 6 in this instance, plus Facebook friend volunteers who tested a smaller number
8:00 30 questions is diagnostic tool –
9:00 navigational vs usability of the content itself – findings biased toward the former
10:00 scale of the “site” – big, multi-dept. multi-site
11:20 – “taxonomy” would elicit blank stares from her users – only areas with direction are marketing via parent campus – no governance or comm pathways now for content (is for tech)
13:00 discovering/”emergent” content strategy – working on it – venn diagram of budget/personnel/content – no overlap now – hard to consolidate strategy across variety of departments and knowledge levels
16:20 her role in trying to pull venn diagram circles closer together – pitching administration for a role in pulling things together
18:00 how to approach CMS decision – likely to be one they’ve put most work in to – WordPress vs. Drupal “rivals” – she sees many of the Drupal sites at benefiting from a move to WordPress – multi-year process to make change – won’t push for one
20:40 back to 30 Questions methodology – findings? lessons? no single finding – like fingerprints – each task/content challenge unique – starts with bare content and work out from there
22:50 old-school DIY “webmaster” – inherits design from parent campus marketing folks – she fine tunes
24:30 her pathway – forwent EE for a less introverted workstyle – journalism and then public info at a college – put college catalog online – took HTML class –
26:50 final thoughts: “Walker’s Principle”” “Dysfunction in your organization will manifest as dysfunction on your website.” addressing issues at core can make other activities easier