A comparative study of redesigned web site based on complexity metrics

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  • 1. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 353 A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF REDESIGNED WEB SITE BASED ON COMPLEXITY METRICS Nagaraju Mamillapally1* , Trivikram Mulukutla2 , Anitha Bojja3 1 Asst.Professor, Department of Informatics, Adarsh PG College of Computer Sciences, Mahabubnagar, Andhra Pradesh, India 2 Associate Professor, Department of Informatics, Adarsh PG College of Computer Sciences, Mahabubnagar-509001, Andhra Pradesh, India 3 Assistant Professor, Department of CSE, Jaya Prakash Narayan College of Engineering, Mahabubnagar-509001, Andhra Pradesh, India ABSTRACT Web usability is a broad concept which includes with many aspects of design and especially important in making a site usable. Organizations concentrate on user making them to spend much more time on their Web sites and access their most relevant needed information. Keeping this in view evaluation of Web sites became necessary. Certain design principles can be used by experts to judge usability. This paper investigates the use of website design complexity and usability metrics against four frequently visiting web pages of Osmania University in two available versions and made a comparison to identify whether the redesigned version meets the usability metrics and how far the usability complexity has been reduced. Keywords: Design Complexity, Evaluation, Usability Metrices, Usability Complexity, Web Usability. 1. INTRODUCTION The primary notion of usability is that an object designed with a generalized users psychology and physiology in mind is, for example: • More efficient to use—takes less time to accomplish a particular task • Easier to learn—operation can be learned by observing the object • More satisfying to use INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTER ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY (IJCET) ISSN 0976 – 6367(Print) ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May-June (2013), pp. 353-358 © IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijcet.asp Journal Impact Factor (2013): 6.1302 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com IJCET © I A E M E
  • 2. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 354 Complex computer systems find their way into everyday life, and at the same time the market is saturated with competing brands. This has made usability more popular and widely recognized in recent years, as companies see the benefits of researching and developing their products with user-oriented methods instead of technology-oriented methods. By understanding and researching the interaction between product and user, the usability expert can also provide insight that is unattainable by traditional company-oriented market research. For example, after observing and interviewing users, the usability expert may identify needed functionality or design flaws that were not anticipated. A method called contextual inquiry does this in the naturally occurring context of the users own environment. In the user-centered design paradigm, the product is designed with its intended users in mind at all times. In the user-driven or participatory design paradigm, some of the users become actual or de facto members of the design team. The term user friendly is often used as a synonym for usable, though it may also refer to accessibility. Usability describes the quality of user experience across websites, software, products, and environments. There is no consensus about the relation of the terms ergonomics (or human factors) and usability. Some think of usability as the software specialization of the larger topic of ergonomics. Others view these topics as tangential, with ergonomics focusing on physiological matters (e.g., turning a door handle) and usability focusing on psychological matters (e.g., recognizing that a door can be opened by turning its handle). Usability is also important in website development (web usability). According to Jakob Nielsen, "Studies of user behavior on the Web find a low tolerance for difficult designs or slow sites. People don't want to wait. And they don't want to learn how to use a home page. There's no such thing as a training class or a manual for a Web site. People have to be able to grasp the functioning of the site immediately after scanning the home page—for a few seconds at most. Otherwise, most casual users simply leave the site and browse or shop elsewhere. 2. BACKGROUND This section reviews some of the previous work in the area of Web site usability evaluation, including several studies that looked specifically at academic Web sites. Corry et.al.(1997) conducted a usability evaluation of an existing university Web site. After a need analysis was used to restructure the information contained in the current Web site, a prototype was developed and tested against the existing site. Usability was based on the ability of subjects (such as students, parents, and faculty) to quickly and accurately locates answers to a set of questions. While the study worked well, the metrics used to measure usability were limited to task completion time and the number of user errors. Borges et al. (1996) formed general Web pages design guidelines through a study of university and college Web sites. To evaluate these guidelines, they tested the original home page of three sites against a version of the home page revised according to their proposed guidelines. Usability was measured by task times on the original and revised home pages. A set of heuristics (usability principles) was created by user interface experts and systems developers to evaluate a Web site prototype for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a study by Levi and Conrad (1996). The heuristics included consistency of pages, aesthetic design, and navigational feedback. Kantner and Rosenbaum (1997) gave brief descriptions of several usability studies that they have conducted. They used combination of heuristics evaluation and laboratory usability
  • 3. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 355 testing. When possible, they recommended an iterative sequence of heuristics evaluation to find obvious problems, followed by user testing to uncover deeper ones. Their testing seemed to focus on collecting data on task time, user errors, subjective satisfaction, preferences, and the path taken through the Web site. Two versions of a given Web site that differed in terms of their conciseness, scan ability, and objectivity were evaluated Morkes and Nielsen (1998). The second Web site consisted of the pages from the first site, except that the pages were rewritten to be shorted, more readable, and free of buzzwords and extraneous information. The usability of the two sites were compared based on task time, errors, memory recognition and recall, and subjective satisfaction. Misic and Johnson (1999) applied functional benchmarking to the evaluation of a university Web site against similar sites. The other sites in the study included not only schools but organizations that were linked to the school through advisory or other supporting roles. The sites were evaluated based on absolute metrics such as speed and the need for browser plug-ins, and relative metrics which included the perceived ease of finding information. The sites were evaluated by a graduate student according to functional, navigational issues, content and style, and content information metrics. 3. DESIGN PROCESS AND EVALUATION There are several usability-related issues methods, and procedures that require careful consideration when designing and developing Web sites. The most important of these are presented in this chapter, including ’up-front’ issues such as setting clear and concise goals for a Web site, determining a correct and exhaustive set of user requirements, ensuring that the Web site meets user’s expectations, setting usability goals, and providing useful content. To ensure the best possible outcome, designers should consider a full range of user- interface issues, and work to create a Web site that enables the best possible human performance. The current research suggests that the best way to begin the construction of a Web site is to have many different people propose design solutions (i.e., parallel design), and then to follow up using an iterative design approach. This requires conducting the appropriate usability tests and using the findings to make changes to the Web site. This section we identified some of the guidelines to be followed for designing a web site and to perform its evaluation. 1. Provide the useful content to the audience. 2. Perform the design activity based on the user requirements. 3. Ensure that the web site format meet the user expectations especially navigation, content and its organization. 4. Make the users to involve in design activity to improve completeness and accuracy of user requirements. 5. Clearly identify the primary goals of the web site design. 6. Focus on achieving a higher range of user performance based on the appearance of the web site. 7. Consider as many user interfaces as possible. 8. Set usability goals that include success rate and the time taken to complete in finding specific information and how far the content is satisfied by the user.
  • 4. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 356 4. COMPARISON OF FREQUENTLY VISITING WEB PAGES In this section we are going to look at the two different sites most frequently visiting web pages in terms of complexity metrics. All the metrics shown improvement when going from the current site to the redesigned site. In this paper we have been considered four frequently visiting web pages of Osmania University and examine the complexity metrics on two available versions and such web pages are Examination Time Tables, Syllabus, Almanac and Distance Education. Table 1: Examination Time Tables Web Page Complexity Metrics Complexity Metric Redesigned site Current site Number of graphics 161 6 Graphics size total (in bytes) 164251 153617 Number of words 321 264 Internal links 114 28 External links 0 0 Same page links 01 0 Page height 768 768 Page width 1024 1024 Table 2: Syllabus Web Page Complexity Metrics Complexity Metric Redesigned site Current site Number of graphics 161 18 Graphics size total (in bytes) 315249 268614 Number of words 208 138 Internal links 117 20 External links 0 0 Same page links 01 0 Page height 768 768 Page width 1024 1024
  • 5. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 357 Table 3: University Library Web Page Complexity Metrics Complexity Metric Redesigned site Current site Number of graphics 161 56 Graphics size total (in bytes) 273434 43617 Number of words 377 398 Internal links 106 15 External links 01 0 Same page links 01 01 Page height 768 768 Page width 1024 1024 Table 4: Distance Education Web Page Complexity Metrics Complexity Metric Redesigned site Current site Number of graphics 161 01 Graphics size total (in bytes) 296106 215210 Number of words 423 135 Internal links 118 33 External links 0 01 Same page links 01 0 Page height 768 768 Page width 1024 1024 However these metrics are considered for further experiments, and a better balance of two versions. 5. FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS Usability testing includes a range of test and evaluation methods that include automated evaluations, inspection evaluations, operational evaluations and human performance testing. In a typical performance test, we assign the users to perform a variety of tasks with a prototype (or an operational system) while observers note what each user does and says while performance data are recorded. One of the main purposes of usability testing is to identify issues that keep users from meeting the usability goals of a Web site. Based on the Table 3 values we will find the efficiency and effectiveness of two different versions of the web site. Ample size of people belonging to various work grounds is selected.
  • 6. International Journal of Computer Engineering and Technology (IJCET), ISSN 0976- 6367(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6375(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, May – June (2013), © IAEME 358 6. CONCLUSION No document is perfect or complete, especially a guidelines document in a fast changing field like information technology. This typically includes guidelines for how the organization presents its information. Finally, it is important to remember that as helpful as this paper are, that they do not guarantee that every website will be effective. Individual designers make thousands of decisions in crafting websites. They have to be knowledgeable about the content, informed about the user community, in touch with the organizational goals, and aware of the technology implications of design decisions. Design is difficult, but these new research-based guidelines are an important step forward in providing assistance to those who are dedicated to quality. This paper has made contributions in the areas of Web site design and usability testing. It has taken steps to improve Web usability by illustrating how design complexity metrics might be used early on to engineer a more usable Web site, and how an extended set of metrics might better measure the overall usability of a site once it is created. Creating a Web site that all people can use effectively is the ultimate goal. REFERENCES [1]. Nagaraju Mamillapally. (2013). A Preliminary Investigation into Complexity and Usability Metrices of a Website. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Competency Building Strategies in Business and Technology for Sustainable Development 22nd February 2013. [2]. Peter Tarasewich- “An Investigation into Web Site Design Complexity and Usability Metrices” Quarterly Journal of Electronic Commerce. [3]. Amitay, E. (1998). Using common hypertext links to identify the best phrasal description of target Web documents. Proceedings of the ACM SIGIR’98 Post- Conference Workshop on Hypertext Information Retrieval for the Web. Retrieved February 20, 2003, from Mq.edu.au/-einatlpublicat ... sigir-98.ps [4]. Arasu, A., Cho, J., Garcia-Molina, H., Paepcke, A., & Raghavan, S. (2001). Searching the Web. ACM Pansactions on Internet Technology, 1(1), 2-43. [5]. Armstrong, R., Freitag, D., Joachims, T., & Mitchell, T. (1995). Webwatcher: A learning apprentice for the World Wide Web. Proceedings of the AAAI-95 Spring Symposium on Information Gathering from Heterogeneous, Distributed Environments, 6-12. [6]. Borges, J. A., Morales, I. & Rodriguez, N. J. (1996). Guidelines for Designing Usable World Wide Web Pages. Proceedings of the CHI ’96 Conference Companion on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Common Ground, 277-278. [7]. Chi, E. H., Pirolli, P. & Pitkow, J. (2000). The Scent of a Site: A System For Analyzing and Predicting Information Scent, Usage, and Usability of a Web Site. Proceedings of the CHI 2000 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 161-168. [8]. Comber, T. & Maltby, J. (1996). Investigating Layout Complexity, in J. Vanderdonckt (Ed.), Computer-Aided Design of User Interfaces (pp. 209-227). Namur, Belgium: Press Universitaires de Namur. [9]. L. Chandra Sekaran and Dr. S. Balasubramanian, “Website Based Patent Information Searching Mechanism”, International Journal of Computer Engineering & Technology (IJCET), Volume 1, Issue 2, 2010, pp. 180 - 191, ISSN Print: 0976 – 6367, ISSN Online: 0976 – 6375.