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“Vote early and often.” The sooner formative evaluation is conducted during development, the more likely that substantive improvements will be made and costly errors avoided. (Reeves & Hedberg, 2003, p. 142)
The most common user action on a Web site is to flee.” — Edward Tufte
“at least 90% of all commercial Web sites are overly difficult to use….the average outcome of Web usability studies is that test users fail when they try to perform a test task on the Web. Thus, when you try something new on the Web, the expected outcome is failure.” — Jakob Nielsen
Nielsen’s Web Usability Rules Visibility of system status Match between system and real world User control and freedom Consistency and standards Error prevention Recognition rather than recall Flexibility and efficiency of use Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors Help and documentation Aesthetic and minimalist design
Ease of learning - How fast can a user who has never seen the user interface before learn it sufficiently well to accomplish basic tasks? Efficiency of use - Once an experienced user has learned to use the system, how fast can he or she accomplish tasks? Memorability - If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything? Error frequency and severity - How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors? Subjective satisfaction - How much does the user like using the system?
Heuristic Evaluation Process Several experts individually compare a product to a set of usability heuristics Violations of the heuristics are evaluated for their severity and extent suggested solutions At a group meeting, violation reports are categorized and assigned average severity ratings, extents, heuristics violated, description of opportunity for improvement
Heuristic Evaluation Comparisons Advantages Quick: Do not need to find or schedule users Easy to review problem areas many times Inexpensive: No fancy equipment Disadvantages Validity: No users involved Finds fewer problems (40-60% less??) Getting good experts Building consensus with experts
User Testing People whose characteristics (or profiles) match those of the Web site’s target audience perform a sequence of typical tasks using the site. Examines: Ease of learning Speed of task performance Error rates User satisfaction User retention over time
Image from (nz)dave at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzdave/491411546/
Elements of User Testing Define target users Have users perform representative tasks Observe users Report results
Why Multiple Evaluators? Single evaluator achieves poor results Only finds about 35% of usability problems 5 evaluators find more than 75%
10 Second Usability Test Disable stylesheets Check for the following: Semantic markup Logical organization Only images related to content appear
Alpha, Beta & Field Testing Akin to prototyping
References & Acknolwedgements American Society for Training & Development. (2009). The value of evaluation: Making training evaluations more effective. Author. Follett, A. (2009, October 9). 10 qualitative tools to improve your web site. Instant Shift. Retrieved March 18, 2010 from http://www.instantshift.com/2009/10/08/10-qualitative-tools-to-improve-your-website/ Nielsen, J. (2000, March 19). Why you only need to test with 5 users. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox. Retrieved from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.html Reeves, T.C. (2004, December 9). Design research for advancing the integration of digital technologies into teaching and learning: Developing and evaluating educational interventions. Paper presented to the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, New York, NY. Available at http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/seminars/reeves/CCNMTLFormative.ppt Reeves, T.C. & Hedberg, J.C. (2003). Interactive learning systems evaluation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.