Case Studies

User Research on the RAF Youth STEM Resources Website

The RAF’s Youth Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Team have a core group of ambassadors who travel throughout the UK, delivering STEM sessions to groups of young people. 

To support the delivery of this, RAF Youth STEM have a website containing dozens of STEM resources which are free to download, use and share with others who work with young people in or outside of mainstream education.

Project overview

The RAF Youth STEM’s resources website currently sits separately to the main RAF website. However, they are considering merging the two sites, and redesigning how users access the STEM resources. 

The team behind developing and publishing these resources tasked us with understanding who the current users of the site are, along with their priority needs. 

The team wished to better understand what content should be prioritised in the possible merger, and how to better govern the content moving forwards.

Project goals

The main goals for the research were for the client to:

  • Better understand who the RAF Youth STEM site users are
  • Better understand what users are visiting the site for – their user needs, both met and unmet
  • Understand what education resources users most value, to inform decisions around priority content to migrate
  • Understand the user needs that cannot readily be met by existing content types and functionality on the main RAF website

Project team

  • User researcher
  • Content strategist
  • Senior delivery manager

What we did

  • Conducted 4 ‘obser-views’ with website users
  • Analysed 98 responses to our experience survey
  • Conducted a site-wide content audit
  • Analysed 3.5 years of Google Analytics data
  • Developed a backlog of 35 user needs

Through the one-to-one ‘obser-views’, we engaged with four distinct user groups: both primary and secondary school teachers, a STEM ambassador and a youth group leader

We observed them interacting with the current RAF Youth STEM site to better understand the needs from different users’ perspectives.

The information we gathered from these ‘obser-views’ was supported by the wider qualitative and quantitative data analysed from our experience survey, completed by current users of the site from the same four primary user groups.

And we analysed the site’s Google Analytics data to underpin the insights gathered from the ‘obser-views’ and experience survey. 

That gave us a better global understanding of the current and historic use of the site, and which specific STEM resources have the strongest engagement rates. 

Finally, a content audit was conducted to review the level of consistency between the resources, their alignment with best practice categorisation on the site, and if they meet accessibility standards.

This helped to form actionable recommendations for the RAF Youth STEM team with the website merger in mind.

Project outcomes

We developed a backlog of 35 user needs from our research. We presented these with a set of supplementary findings in  a show and tell.

The RAF Youth STEM Team now have a clear understanding of their website’s users, and the content resources they most value to meet their needs.

They’ve taken our findings to improve the information architecture or their resources as they merge the sites.

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