Usability & Community Testing

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Understanding your clients' health information needs

Usability & Community Testing

Our qualitative research with your consumers, right in their communities, helps you understand their perceptions and needs. Our field testing includes one-on-one interviews to test readability and focus groups to gather information about consumers’ opinions and reactions to materials, translations, and outreach strategies.

We identify the needs of consumers and determine how best to communicate with them, using:

  • Qualitative research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups and ethnography
  • Analysis of socio-cultural and linguistic influences on how consumers understand health messages

We test websites with real users to find out whether the design is user-friendly and appealing, accessible to people with disabilities, with clear messaging and intuitive navigation. We then provide a full report, including recommendations for improvements that will ensure that most people who use the site can find what they need.

Success Story: Enrollment Assistance Program

The Enrollment Assistance Program wanted to know if In Person Assisters (IPAs) were satisfied with their training, and if not, where improvements were needed. They also wanted recommendations for improvements and future training.


The Enrollment Assistance Program provides In Person Assisters (IPAs) to help consumers find a health care plan through the Marketplace.  IPAs must complete CMS-developed training for certification.

The Challenge

IPAs take a 20-hour online training. CMS wanted to know if they were satisfied with the amount and method of training, and if they had recommendations for improvements.

The Solution

CMS turned to the MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy for answers. Three MAXIMUS researchers conducted focus groups with IPAs and managers at eight enrollment offices across four states. Researchers and participants discussed the training format, delivery, content, and design and ways to improve the training.

The Outcome

The focus groups revealed that many IPAs enter the training with no prior knowledge of enrollment services. Even after training, they did not feel prepared to assist consumers in all situations. The majority wanted in-person and refresher training. The Center‘s report included recommendations for improving the current online training content and creating future training for new and veteran IPAs.