Testing Innovations in Menu Design

M&T Bank

M&T Bank Corporation operates 780 branches in the Northeastern United States.

Test overview

While I've completed a host of user research – from moderating remote international usability tests to building Brobdingnagian functional wireframes for lab research – the M&T Bank user test stands out as special. 

It was a traditional usability test of a high-fidelity prototype. I interviewed roughly sixteen participants in the lab, primarily investigating two responsive menu designs. The models were excitingly innovative: a primary, sticky, navigation positioned at the bottom of the screen, and a secondary hybrid breadcrumb navigation. 

Menu designs

Initial findings

Would the users see the primary navigation menu, particularly during scroll? (They did but the test motivated the team to add more substantial shading between the menu and active page for contrast.) Would the secondary breadcrumb navigation completely confound users? (It did not, but as we came to learn by testing it over the years, users fall into two basic groups: those who understand that a website is grounded by an underlying architecture which can be represented with breadcrumb "signage," so to speak, and those who don't). 

Impact of research

It was satisfying to watch the users toy with the two models. In particular, it was our first scientific analysis of the hybrid secondary model, which we continued to innovate on over the years after this initial test returned positive findings (see a third or fourth generation of the menu on the Nationwide Children's website). 

Overall, the test was a hallmark in my career doing user research, teaching me its nuance, the tremendous cognitive intensity of test moderation and the exciting value of creating (and testing) innovations.    

See it live at: www.mtb.com

My Role

UX Researcher

My Contributions

Recruitment Script (Co-Author)

Research Plan and Script (Co-Author)

Session Moderator (In-Person, Lab)

Findings Report (Co-Author)

© 2018 Joan Jasak