Sunday, 30 June 2013

POSTool Software Test and User Assessment

During the development of the POSTool we have implemented two levels of testing. First a rigorous software testing protocol is implemented to make sure that all segments of the Tool and website are functioning properly. This is then followed with a ‘user assessment’ survey distributed to relevant stakeholders. In addition, we welcome comments through our POSTool website via email ( and through our Facebook page (http://www. The following text briefly outlines our software testing procedures followed by the results of our ‘user assessment’ as well as comments which we have received through email or on our Facebook page.   

Software Testing

Unit testing for the POS Tool was undertaken using the Django unit testing framework, which is in turn based on the Python unittest library.

Unit tests seek to automatically test small individual pieces of code, this allows for bugs to be located quickly as well as facilitating simplified code integration by ensuring that individual code modules continue to function correctly once integrated into the entire piece of software.

For the POS Tool unit testing were based around individual user functions, for example the statistics created for a region search are all generated by a python function and individual unit tests were created for this function to ensure that valid statistics are always produced.  

As issues were identified, they were addressed buy the GAIA software development team.  

User Assessment

The POSTool ‘user assessment’ was conducted through the deployment of a user assessment survey to a select number of relevant stakeholders. Each stakeholder received an assessment form asking participant to respond to the following questions:
  1. What is your understanding of the purpose of the POSTool?
  2. Based on the current version of the POSTool, how do you think you or your organisation      will use the resource?
  3. How do you find the general layout of the website’s pages?
  4. How do you find general navigation through the website?
  5. Were you able to easily search for park information based on an address, by park name, by LGA/suburb?
  6. How did you find the presentation of information about a single park and by LGA/suburb? 
  7. For an LGA, please download and comment on the park summary data provide as a   spread sheet which can be viewed in MicroSoft Excel.
  8. How did you find the spatial presentation of POS locations on the map interface?
  9. Were you able to easily navigate around the map interface to find the POS you were    interested in?
  10. Were you easily able to access help information through the FAQ pages?
  11. Do you have any further comments?

Stakeholders surveyed included:

User 1
Health researcher
User 2
Computer engineering researcher
User 3
Local government planning consultant

User 1 feedback:
What worked
  • “ I was pleasantly surprised and relieved about how user-friendly the website was to use – the tabs and options are presented in a way that makes intuitive sense – not having to keep going to  FAQ or help options to work out how to find your way around is the mark of good web-base tool design!”
  • User friendly searching and the back space arrow works as on some web pages this brings you back to the beginning.
  • Map is visually user friendly and easily navigable.
What didn't work
  • The about information may be better placed before the disclaimer acceptance page. People may not know how to use the tool without some further information.
  • I noticed that there was some missing information for my neighbourhood. Is there capacity for users to send in messages if they discover things like this or have a query?
  • The boundaries of suburbs within an LGA are not shown. It would be nice to click on a suburb within an LGA then providing search results for that suburb.
  • When people are on the ‘about’ page, it would be good if they could click on the words “address search” and go directly to the page where they can start doing just that… or else next to these is where there could be a let’s get started type button to click that takes the user to the appropriate option, rather than having to go back out of the ‘about’ page and back to main menu.
  • The text in coloured boxes on some of the graphics in the help documentation is difficult to read.
  • Some highlighted text remains on one of the help pages – I assume this is not meant be here.
  • I wasn't sure what the upload tab is about. People get curious on websites and click things like this. What does this actually do?   

User 2 feedback
What worked
  • “It is a great tool to spatially present the park information. Public will benefit from it to easily find the park information of the places that they are interested. For organisations, it is useful for better understanding and easily obtaining the park information for an area. People can use the information for planning or other community management purposes. The aggregated population data related to parks at the LGA level is also useful for related research.”
  • The colour looks comfortable and represents the subject well.
  • The website navigation is generally easy to use.
  • For a single park, the presentation is good.
  • The LGA summary data is good.
What didn't work
  • The presentation of the map and park information was bit congested, especially with so much blank space on the page – maybe it is because I am using a big screen. I think it would look better to me if the top and bottom margins are shrunk a bit, and in that way more park information can be presented on the page.
  • After clicking the ‘I Accept’ on the disclaimer page I was given the error ‘page not found’.
  • The disclaimer page seems to be the homepage, but is not the direct page one would see through a Google search. That means if someone searches for POSTool through Google, he/she will be directed to the search interface, without a chance to view the disclaimer. There is no navigation button leading to the disclaimer, which is the homepage, throughout the website.
  • I can search for suburbs and street addresses at the box for ‘address search’, but failed to search for suburbs at the box for ‘Suburb or Local Government Area’.
  • The address that I typed in has to be chosen from the drop down menu. I would like to be able to search with the address I typed in, although the drop down menus is quite comprehensive.
  • When I search for LGA, the map only demonstrates the LGA boundary and street map. I would like to see the park layer at least as an option to overlay on the map.
  • For a single park, there is a lack of suburb information.
  • When I entered the single park presentation mode, I cannot view the information of other parks. It will be more convenient if I still can click on any other park on the map as I navigate and view its information.
  • After I clicked on a single park, it would be useful to still demonstrate the legend so that I can find out what is adjacent to or what is in the area more easily.
  • Apply a darker green colour for the selected park, or use an outstanding border, just to better highlight my selection.
  • It would be nice to allow downloading of the spatial layer of park information so that people can do analysis within their own GIS environment.

User 3 feedback
What worked
  • Easily able to search for park information based on an address, by park name, by LGA/suburb but only after I went to the about page and realised what the differences between the 3 search options were.
What didn't work
  • The opening page is the search page and there is no explanation regarding what happens when you search in each category. I would like to go to the About page first, then go in logical order to find out about the categories (and how to interpret them)
  •  Instructions only given for top option (search for nearest green space).) - not sure the FAQ is the best heading here - need to understand what the user is looking at before hitting the search page. 
  • What is the Upload Tab – is it well placed? 
  • I found that you have to select an option every time a new search is conducted or the system reverts back to the previous selection. For example, I searched for Subiaco and selected "City of Subiaco" when it appeared below. When I went back to the search page, I then typed in Shire of Kalamunda and simply hit search (without selecting from list below) and it took me back to Subiaco.  Had to retype in Shire of Kalamunda and select from list before I could go there.
  • Map image needs to be larger.
  • On some address searches, once I expand the map (or zoomed out), I lost the marker.
  • The information provided under the METADATA tab could be better presented as a page (tab) in its own right.
  • The information provided concerning conversion information & statement regarding use (POS general summary) could be better presented as a page (tab) in its own right.
  • Facility summary would be better if listed vertically rather than horizontally - really hard to read on iPad.
  • - what does the 77.665% mean? (aligned with catchment distance in the table below) - The description contains this statement: For example, the table shown below indicates that 77.7% of the population of the City of Cockburn were resident within any park catchment area.
  • Does this mean that 23.3% of the population don't live within any park catchment?
  • It would also be useful to find out which parks are in which category.  For example, in City of Vincent, the count indicates there are 2 regional parks.  Is there any way to identify which parks are included in which category?
  • Can numbers be reported to 1 decimal point (2 at most ...)?
  • Can you use SMALL PARK (as per description contained in Livable Neighbourhood Guidelines) and SMALL OPEN SPACE (in reference to Department of Sport and Recreation classification). There is some considerable resistance to the use of POCKET PARK by planning and design professionals - it is considered pejorative and dismissive.
  • Can be POS CATCHMENT be relabelled LNG CATCHMENT as this is what it actually references - with explanation given on suggested "here's what it all means" page/tab.
  • The heading PARK QUALITY is misleading - you are assessing amenity, not quality.
  • Language in several explanations is jargonistic and needs to be simplified.
  • Town of Vincent is now CITY of Vincent.

Email and Facebook feedback
  • “When using the search function it would be common for people to simply type in their suburb, but typing just the suburb does not always work. I’m in Rivervale and no drop down comes up for that. A couple of ways to deal with this, remove the word suburb or let the LGA come up for all the suburbs in it.”
  • “...the POS tool would be even better if you could get a % POS for any suburb, and to identify the best and the worst suburbs. I live in South Hedland and POS is lousy, I’d love some evidence to give to Council!”

Addressing user feedback

The first phase of user testing has proved extremely useful. Issues such as a more informative entrance page providing background on the tool will now be followed by the disclaimer page and figures found in the about pages have been replaced by high resolution graphics to enhance viewability. Furthermore, comments concerning navigability of the website have been addressed by our development team and will be updated in the next build.

Search functions (including suburb search capabilities) will come online when the second stage of the POS Tool is released in early August addressing most concerns raised by users during the assessment process. Increasing the size of the map window, addition of suburb boundaries and map navigation issues are currently being discussed with our development team and we will endeavour to address these issues in due course.  

One user has raised some issue concerning the content of the about pages and terminology used. The definitions and terms used by various government agencies have been continually changing during the development of this tool. We will endeavour to work with the various government stakeholders to make sure that the terminology is correct and the information is presented in an understandable format and language. These issues will be addressed for the final release.

Finally, whilst we currently do not have an updating procedure in place, we do understand that this will be vital to keep the underlying data in the POS Tool current. Until we develop a formal process for crowd sourcing and verifying updates, we encourage users to email us with comments ( or logon to our Facebook page (  


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