UKWAS 4 – Usability Survey – Results

July 2019 – The results of the UKWAS 4 Usability Survey are now available here UKWAS 4 survey results.

Thank you for contributing to our online survey about your experience using UKWAS. The survey was designed to gather feedback on the usability of the fourth edition, including the formats in which it is delivered.

As you can see from the results above we received a total of 65 responses over the period of the survey (1 April–24 May 2019). Over 90% of these were from respondents that are currently certified (each responsible for over 250 ha of forest and woodland); around three-quarters of whom are responsible for group schemes.

In general, respondents commented favourably on the ease of access to UKWAS information, in terms of the overall accessibility of the website, Google search listings, and the ability to interrogate/search for information on individual web pages. By far the greatest proportion of respondents (>80%) reported that they used the UKWAS Standard in the office, rather than in the field, so this was a key factor influencing format preference.

The most favoured formats were digital – either the PDF or the HTML webpages – very closely followed by hardcopy. Within these, users preferred ‘interactive’ PDFs and ‘bound’ hardcopies. Very few respondents used the PDF on a mobile/Smart device (although this may be influenced by the fact that PDF is not the easiest format to use on a mobile device). Additional free text responses suggest that users still value the availability of a hardcopy.

In terms of the overall usability of the fourth edition, around half of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that it was easier to use than earlier editions (most of the remaining users did not express a view either way).

When prompted for those aspects of V4 that were most liked, users highlighted the logical, structured flow of the document and ease of navigation. Users also commented upon the clear language and useful guidance notes, and that the clarity between requirements, guidance, and example verifiers was welcome.

Aspects that were less liked were the fact that UKWAS V4 is still a lengthy document, which some felt is still too ‘wordy’ and sub-divided (with some topics were covered in greater depth than others). Some respondents disliked some of the design and layout features of the PDF/printed copy – citing the small typeface and double-column as difficult to follow.

Preferences for the next edition included continued streamlining, simplification and fewer words, and an index as well as a glossary. Some respondents submitted ideas for additional supporting information, such as a list of permitted chemicals on the UKWAS website, visual tutorials, examples of best practice and ‘how you can demonstrate this’ in guidance notes.

The full results have been used to create a feedback report with recommendations to the UKWAS Steering Group and Board. These will be considered in detail in 2020, when the next revision cycle begins.

The UKWAS Board and Steering Group would like to thank you again for contributing your time and for your views.