Sometimes all you need is one test [Long Island Aquarium]

A single product test of the Long Island Aquarium's membership page reveals two opportunities for improvement.

Since our son was born, the Long Island Aquarium has become more of a destination for our family. We celebrated Jasper’s first birthday there — which was awesome — and we visited again just a few weeks ago. (If we didn’t live an hour away, they’d probably get tired of seeing us.)

This last time, I visited the aquarium’s website to buy tickets and thought it would be interesting to run some product tests to see how others might interact with the content.

I ran eight tests, but today I’ll focus on just one of those tests to show how the membership page may be preventing some visitors from purchasing through the website.

The task was pretty open-ended:

"Find out more about what this organization can offer you and your family by exploring the website. How would you go about deciding whether to visit or become a member of the organization? Narrate your experience as you go."

I found one test participant’s interaction with the site especially interesting. This video shows how she comes to the (incorrect) conclusion that the only way to become a member is by visiting the aquarium, and then goes further to uncover some accessibility challenges with the page's design.


One test can uncover low-hanging fruit, as well as deeper challenges that speak to an organization’s values. Who are we designing for? Who are we inadvertently excluding in our design choices? A single user test can raise vital questions, and you don’t always need a large sample to uncover those questions.

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