GasBuddy Usability Study

Project components: User Research, Usability Testing

Tools: Validately, Zoom

Background

GasBuddy is a mobile application that allows users to search for gas prices at gas stations anywhere in the United States. The goal of this usability study was to understand how users interacted with key tasks in the app, and to identify areas for improvement within the interface. (I completed this project as part of my Usability II course at Kent State University.)

Approach

Nine participants were recruited for the study, ranging in age from early 20s to late 40s. The criteria used for screening participants were owning a car and owning a smartphone.

 

Participants were asked to download GasBuddy on their phones shortly before the session commenced, and were then asked to complete three asks in GasBuddy. All sessions were recorded and were moderated.

The study centered on the following research questions and tasks:

  • Are users more likely to click on the "Find Gas Near You" button or search by location?

    • Task: Your car is low on gas and you need to fill up the tank. Using the GasBuddy app, find gas stations near you.

  • Are users able to successfully apply a filter to find gas stations that sell specific types of fuel?

    • Task: Let's say you're visiting this area from out of town and you need to find a gas station close by that sells a specific type of fuel. Use GasBuddy to choose a gas station that sells mid-grade fuel.

  • Will users be able to locate advanced filter options?

    • Task: You need gas in your car and you would like to pick up some beer and wine while filling up. How would you find the lowest cost for gas at a location that has beer and wine?

Findings

Users completed two of the three tasks successfully; all of our users were able to locate a gas station near them without error, and users were able to locate filters for searching by fuel type. However, users had difficulty using advanced filters to find gas stations with low gas prices and certain amenities. Metrics captured as part of the studies were time on task, error rate, and success rate. The study concluded with questions for future exploration.