Testing, testing: Help make Idealist more usable

Want to help make Idealist better? We’d love for you to participate in our usability testing program!

What’s this all about?

There are lots of ways that we collect feedback from our users. One important one is to observe Idealist members “in the wild,” so to speak. Instead of asking your (undoubtedly valuable) opinion, we want to actually watch you use the site, and see what aspects of the site could be improved.

Sign up to participate here. We’ll be conducting in-person usability tests for those in the NYC area, and remote tests for people everywhere else (as long as you have access to a broadband internet connection and a telephone or computer microphone).


Photo via Alishba Zarmeen

What to expect

Whether you participate remotely or come visit us, you’ll sit down one-on-one with me (Hi! Nice to meet you.), so I can observe while you use basic features of the website and ask a few questions about your experience. Usability testing is the kind of test where you can’t get a wrong answer, so there’s no pressure on you, just the website.  The most challenging part for you? Probably remembering to think aloud as you use the site.

Who we’re looking for

Everyone! Seriously, whether you have very little experience using the web or are as tech savvy as they come, you’re welcome to participate. Also, we’ll be testing features for individuals and organizations, so we’re looking for people who use the site in different ways: you could be a job seeker, a potential volunteer, an HR professional, volunteer manager, or your organization’s social media expert, or really anyone else.

What’s next?

  • We conduct usability testing on an ongoing basis, so if you’re interested, sign up! We’ll ask you a few questions to get a sense of how you use the site, and then I’ll be in touch when it seems like you’re a good fit for an upcoming usability test.
  • Can’t participate in usability testing? You can still make your voice heard publicly on Get Satisfaction or by sending an email directly to our Community Support Team through the contact page.

Thank you!

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Support Organizations Half a World Away

If reading about our Global Volunteering Fairs next week (in Washington DC, New York, and Boston) inspired you to want to support organizations in another country, but you aren’t able to travel, you might consider virtual volunteering.

Virtual volunteering allows you to offer your time and skills to worthy organizations, without having to leave home. Keep in mind, though, virtual volunteering isn’t synonymous with a short term commitment. Volunteering from afar can be just as time consuming, intensive, and meaningful as on-the-ground activities.

Virtual volunteer opportunities can be ongoing (check out this telecommuting volunteer role with The Seasteading Institute) or one-time activities (can you translate from English to Kashmiri?). They may involve an advanced degree or skillset (any turtle-supporting lawyers out there?), or they may be teen-friendly (put your social networking skills to good use by becoming a Red Recruit with the British Red Cross).

The opportunities to volunteer virtually are just as diverse as on-the-ground opportunties. If it suits your lifestyle, go for it! You’ll notice that “Virtual” is one of the options in the Country pull-down menu on our Volunteer Opportunity Advanced Search. (You can even volunteer virtually with us!)

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]