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User Testing at Stockholm World Water Week

Published on: 11/10/2013

As we continue work on the WASHCost Calculator, feedback from users is continually shaping development of the tool. The Stockholm World Water Week provided a fantastic opportunity to gather comments and questions on the basic version of the water and sanitation calculator. Fifty individuals, representing local authorities (national to district level), international NGOs, universities and private sector, had an opportunity to try out the tool.

User Testing at Stockholm World Water Week


The general feedback on the calculator was positive; testers see the value of the tool for planning purposes, as it gives users an idea on the total costs for providing a service over a period of 10 years. They also indicated that the tool is useful as an educational platform, prompting users to actively think about the life-cycle cost approach and implications for their own programs.

Testers loved the simplicity of the tool: the overall user interface is very clear and easy to work with. In a brief video below, Tom Laari Chimbar and Joseph Abisa explain why the calculator is important to their work with districts in Ghana and Uganda.

So what were the main take aways from the testing?

We started each testing session with a video on the tool. This provided a clear and motivating introduction to the tool, but we found that it would be useful to add some more on what people can expect from the WASHCost calculator. For example, not every tester understood that tool allowed exploring the impact of different cost scenarios for a service area, rather than finding 'ideal' costs.

Feedback on the basic version of the calculator included:

  • People did not always have the cost numbers in mind before they started to engage with the tool. This may be addressed by adding an "I don't know" option and suggesting different numbers to start with. A few simple examples of how to calculate the costs are being integrated into the help text of the next version.
  • The use of the sliding bar wasn't that clear for everyone either and we will allow people to type in the numbers as well in the future.
  • The basic tool still needed a few visual modifications to ensure that the help information boxes are clearly identifiable.
  • People would like to receive more explanation on how the final report: what the costs mean and what is included?
  • People enjoy the overall interface and are interested in using the full version. The tool showcased at Stockholm was only a glimpse of the full advanced tool and testers were eager to dive into more robust and detailed calculator inputs and functionalities.
  • The advanced tool is currently under development.

If you are interested to be a user tester for the advanced version of the tool, please indicate this by sending an email to

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