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Heuristic Evaluation of newschool.edu
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An expert evaluation of the newschool.edu website conducted in conjunction with Ryan Hines based on Jakob Nielsen's 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design.

An expert evaluation of the newschool.edu website conducted in conjunction with Ryan Hines based on Jakob Nielsen's 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design.

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Heuristic Evaluation of newschool.edu Document Transcript

  • 1. newschool.edu Heuristic EvaluationDesigning for UsabilityFall 2010Prepared by Obinna Izeogu and Ryan Hines
  • 2. Heuristic evaluation / introductionWe evaluated the New School’s website from the point of view of three types of users– current students, prospective students and staff – and based our analysis on thefollowing usability categories:Aesthetic and Minimalist Design NavigationHelp and Documentation ControlConsistency and standards Use Simple and natural languageProvide Feedback Error PreventionMinimize User’s Memory LoadAfter reviewing the site independently, we found that many of the issues identifiedwere the same for both evaluators. These issues are:1. Link behavior not well-defined2. Inconsistent navigation across sites3. Name and breadcrumb information inconsistent4. “Back” often fails to work as expected5. Inconsistent header, h1 and link naming6. Search function is not dependable7. No clear exit points on many deep links8. Too much presented on screen, discouraging getting the specific information the user needs9. System oriented words used. Words not based on task user is trying to accomplish10. Unnecessary use of FlashWe then assigned each set of issues a “rating” number based on criticality and ease ofcorrection. Violates a heuristic but doesn’t seem to be a usability 0 problem. Superficial usability problem: may be easily overcome by 1 user or occurs extremely infrequently. Minor usability problem: may occur more frequently or be 2 more difficult to overcome. Fixing this should be given low priority for next release. Major usability problem: occurs frequently and persistently 3 or users may be unable or unaware of how to fix the problem. Important to fix, so should be given high priority. Usability catastrophe: Seriously impairs use of product and 4 cannot be overcome by users. Imperative to fix this before product can be released.2 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 3. 1. Link behavior not well-definedFaculty profiles on Parsons main site has no submit button, forcing a reload Principles:every time a checkbox is selected. Consistency and standards Provide FeedbackPDF files are used throughout all New School sites. Standard internet Navigationprotocol is to indicate PDF links, but the New School sites don’t always Controlfollow the convention. Sometimes a long list of PDF links with PDF icons Error Preventionsits directly beside a main menu item that leads to a PDF but doesn’tindicate as much. No submit button; page reloads with every item checked. 23 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 4. 2. Inconsistent navigation across sitesThe “quick menu” (“Information for:”) is useful as a quick reference for Principles:many types of users, but doesn’t appear consistently across all New School Consistency and standardssites. Language, the three to four categories mentioned (e.g., Current Minimize User’s Memory LoadStudents, Prospective Students, and the depth of information available Navigationwhen clicked differs substantially from school to school. Control Use Simple and natural languageGeneral Studies: no quick menuSocial Research:Prospective Students, Current Students, Alumni and FriendsMilano:Prospective Students, Current Students, Alumni & Friends “Quick menu”Parsons:Prospective Students, Current Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni andFriendsEugene Lang:Prospective Students, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni andFriendsMannes:Prospective Students, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni & FriendsDrama:Prospective Students, Current Students, Alumni & Friends, SummerInformationJazz:Prospective Students, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni & Friends 44 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 5. 2. Inconsistent navigation across sitesVarying compliance with identity standards; many sites feel onlytangentially related to each other.5 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 6. 3. Name and breadcrumb information inconsistentProgression of links inconsistent, sometimes “jumps” from a long string Principles:to only the first in the list, even though user has moved further into the Consistency and standardshierarchy. Minimize User’s Memory Load NavigationName display conventions change in a seemingly arbitrary manner Last, First; short breadcrumb Last, First; long breadcrumb Last, First; no breadcrumb Short breadcrumb 46 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 7. 4. “Back” often fails to work as expectedWhen clicking on what is ostensibly a “normal” link, users are Principles:unknowingly submitting a form (which they’ll find out about only after Consistency and standardsthey hit back and are asked if they’d like to submit the form again). Provide Feedback Control Error Prevention When did I submit a form? 37 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 8. 5. Inconsistent header, h1 and link namingHeader/menu text, h1/page title text and link text rarely share the same Principles:names, usually only two or three are identical. Consistency and standards Minimize User’s Memory Load Navigation Use Simple and natural language 18 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 9. 6. Search function is not dependableSearch does not find part-time faculty within full-time faculty search, Principles:and sometimes doesn’t find them in part-time faculty search either; Consistency and standardsunnecessary division of information. Control Error PreventionSearch is repeated in what appears to be a secondary location. 29 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 10. 7. No clear exit points on many deep links.Near-dead ends exist on, e.g., credit requirement/pricing pages; only way Principles:“out” is a health fee page. Consistency and standards Navigation Control Error Prevention No navigation, no escape 210 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 11. 8. Too much information presented on screenToo much presented on screen, discouraging getting the specific Principles:information the user needs Aesthetic and Minimalist Design NavigationUnnecessarily lengthy list of options on Parsons site; clicking “unfolds” Use Simple and natural languagemenus, making the list more (instead of less) complex as the user navigates Error Preventionfurther into the hierarchy.Parsons “apply” page shows more references to Adobe Reader than to thetask of applying Too many options = no options Adobe, Adobe, Adobe, Adobe... 311 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 12. 9. System-oriented words usedDefault CMS words not based on task user is trying to accomplish. Principles: Provide Feedback Control Use Simple and natural language Error Prevention 212 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation
  • 13. 10. Unnecessary use of FlashSlideshows use Flash when a cross-platform alternative exists (JavaScript). Principles: Consistency and standards Flash slideshow where JavaScript would be more accessible 213 www.newschool.edu heuristic evaluation