Case Study: Freeman on the path to improving their site visitor’s User Experience

Situation Overview

Freeman, a full-service provider of resources and logistics management for corporate events, exhibit programs, expositions and conventions of all sizes was looking to learn more about how exhibiting customers were using their online ordering site- Freeman OnLine. Over the last three years, usage of the site was increasing steadily, but online orders were only increasing incrementally. Additionally, more and more Show Management companies that worked with Freeman wanted to move their exhibitors to an online ordering-only process rather than produce a printed service manual for ordering via fax or mail.

With increasing importance being placed on Freeman OnLine to provide important show information and product and service information for online orders, Freeman wanted to learn more about how they could improve the experience for exhibitors and learn more about how exhibitors were using the site. Freeman also wanted to identify opportunities to increase online orders and overall customer satisfaction.

Freeman retained the services of Usability Sciences to perform a usability assessment of Freeman OnLine. The following goals were determined to be most important to Freeman:

  • Determine who was using the site
  • Establish visitor intent and level of success
  • Understand navigational behavior of visitors and attitudes toward the site
  • Identify key areas for improvement

Usability Science’s Solution

Usability Sciences recommended two methods of usability testing to be conducted on users of Freeman OnLine. The first was Attitudinal Analytics, a WebIQ-powered service, which deploys an online survey to capture meaningful user experience data from Freeman OnLine users. Data was captured over a two month period and 3,589 survey sessions were collected. At the completion of data collection, Usability Science’s analysis team performed a comprehensive examination of the data and provided Freeman with some key recommendations based on information obtained in the Web IQ sessions. Some of the key findings included:

  • Redesign the homepage of Freeman OnLine to be more specific about what can be accomplished on the site
  • Redesign the show search functionality within the site to allow exhibitors to more quickly and easily find the event for which they are searching
  • Redesign the show page and the ordering of Freeman services navigation to be more intuitive and simple to use
  • Redesign the login and registration process to be more user-friendly

Freeman wanted to delve deeper into the results to obtain additional actionable items to make the site easier to use. Further testing would be needed and Usability Sciences recommended a lab-based Usability Test to obtain this information. The lab-based testing took place over a two day period. Seven customers participated in one-on-one sessions to uncover specific usability challenges. A set of tasks focused around the key findings from the Attitudinal Analytics study results was developed. Additionally, questions and topics for the moderator to discuss with the users were developed to learn more about their feelings towards the site.


At the conclusion of the lab-based Usability Test, Usability Sciences was able to compile the results and provide very detailed documentation regarding specific challenges that users faced when using the site. Detailed information about how and why they used the site was also presented. Combined with the Attitudinal Analytics results, Usability Sciences was able to help Freeman prioritize the areas for improvement and identify what specific actions could be taken to directly improve a customer’s ability to order. Since they were able to learn more about what users came to the site to do, they were also able to recommend specific changes that would also enhance the user’s experience and affinity for the site and for Freeman as a company.

Armed with a comprehensive report and list of priorities, Freeman is now able to confidently move forward with enhancements to the site that will directly improve the user’s experience.


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