Powermeeting Usability Evaluation – Group 2
Anastasia Tsoutsoumpi Billy Kwasi Yeboah Fatima Sabiu Baba
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
ABSTRACT (IJEOMA UDEJIOFOR) Financial such as personal finance and
It cannot be over emphasized that the usability of any accounting.
software system is a key factor that determines whether Travel, weather information and map searching.
the system is going to be adopted for use by its intended
users. PowerMeeting is a web-based synchronous system Books and articles searching.
built on Ajax technology and Google web Toolkit. Spreadsheet and word processing.
The aim of this paper is to measure the usability of
Amusement and fun sharing.
PowerMeeting. We have done this through evaluating the
user interface and the functionality of the PowerMeeting Start page modification.
framework. We also evaluated the functionalities of the
GroupCalendar, a tool in the system. Calendars and planning.
Through careful and result-oriented planning, we Question answering and searching.
developed user tests which were a combination of Information exchanging and opinions sharing.
standard methodologies effective for identifying and
measuring user errors, and main usability issues. Social networking and communication.
In this paper, we have also made recommendations for Employment, commerce and news.
improving the interface and functionality of the system.
These were deduced from a qualitative analysis of the
results obtained during the tests. Health and sports.
INTRODUCTION (ANASTASIA TSOUTSOUMPI) People searching.
Nowadays, web applications constitute an important
aspect of everyday life. The popularity of Yahoo mail, Web analytics.
Gmail and Facebook is a clear evidence of that. However, Three of the most famous Ajax web applications are
Web applications are not only related to communication Google Maps, Google Suggest and Gmail. Other
or social networking. In fact they can be classified in examples of Ajax applications are Google Groups, Yahoo
categories according to their functionality. FrontPage, Yahoo Instant Search, Windows Live, Orkut
Further to this classification, applications can also be (social networking), Zimbra (email), Writely, Zoho,
characterized by the technology upon which they are gOffice and AjaxOffice (on-line word processors), Kiko
built. Therefore, they are divided in three categories; the and Calendarhub (calendars). Also, PageFlakes, Netvibes,
conventional web applications, the rich internet and Photopage (free start pages), Travbuddy (for creating
applications (RIA) and the Ajax based web applications. travel journals and sharing travel experience), Digg (for
Many developers and web applications experts consider technology news), Meebo (instant messenger), Amazon’s
the latter to be synonym to RIAs. However, some others, A9.com (search engine), Yahoo Flickr (photo sharing).
argue that this is not entirely the case and believe that Finally, some examples of Ajax based business
Ajax is just one of the technologies used for the applications are Salesforce.com, Basecamp (project
development of rich applications. management), Backpack (organizer).
Types of Web Applications Positive User Experience
The basic advantage of the Ajax based web applications
As far as the functionality is concerned the following are the interactivity and richness of the web interface.
categories can be noted. Also, in contrast to traditional web applications they are
faster. The reason is that only small amounts of data are accessibility, which focuses on users with disabilities. For
being refreshed and there is no need for the whole page to instance, Ajax applications are not friendly for visually
be reloaded. All the above aspects had led users to impaired users due to the fact that screen readers are
consider Ajax based applications being similar to desktop absolutely incompatible with Ajax technology.
As far as the security of Ajax web applications is
However, it is not only the desktop ‘look and feel’ of concerned, experienced computer users argue that the
Ajax applications that makes them so popular. There are level of security is not enhanced when compared with
also many examples which reinforce the fact that such traditional web applications. In reality, security issues
applications vastly improve user experience. For instance, such as ‘cross-site scripting’ are common for all types of
for the completion of web forms with data (such as email web applications.
address or credit card number) users do not experience a
Finally, despite the fact that Ajax applications do not need
dead time during the validation of their data. Another
example is that user experience is not slowed down when
their browsers. However, this consist a daunting issue for
moving from their email inbox folder to the ‘compose
less experienced computer users. Also this category of
mail’ option, or when they perform a big number of clicks
users, cannot cope with network delay. They consider it to
while searching for books in the Amazon website. The
be a severe problem, unless it is clearly indicated to them
reason is that requests to the server for the sending and
- through a screen message - that what happens is a delay
retrieving of the various components of the graphical user
rather than an internal problem of the application.
interface are absolutely transparent to the users of the
application. METHODS (BILLY KWASI YEBOAH AND IJEOMA
Furthermore, animation such as fading text displayed on In the recent past all the content of a web page had to be
the screen which inform the user that an option has been reloaded for every HTTP client request made described as
just saved, add up to the user friendliness of Ajax synchronous communication Fig 1. This is unnecessary
applications. Moreover, along with friendliness, loyalty to since most pages of a web application contain common
an application is a clear evidence of Ajax success. That content and led to considerable delays while pages were
applies mostly to e-commerce. With the aid of Ajax loading resulting in a diminished user experience. A
technology user interfaces are presented in a way that stirs group of client-side technologies, Asynchronous
choose the option of online purchase instead of buying this effect resulting in more interactive and dynamic
goods in a shop. applications.
Negative User Experience
This is achieved by seemingly introducing an extra layer,
Traditional web applications support both the use of the Ajax engine, to the traditional communication model
‘Back’ button and the ‘Bookmarking’ functionality. On for web applications as shown in the diagram below. The
the contrary, these features have been discarded in Ajax Ajax engine is responsible for asynchronous
applications. Because of that, many users are either communication.
annoyed or confused. An additional source of confusion is
color blinking behind changes, which is frequently The Components of Ajax include:
mentioned by users of ‘Yahoo! Finance’ application.
XHTML, HTML and CSS used for creating the
Also, being accustomed to traditional web applications,
GUI and styling the web pages
people interacting with Ajax applications, rarely realize
how the updating and refreshing process based on Ajax The document Object Model (DOM) is used by
information is given about whether a box is draggable or a applications
text field is editable, could prevent them from confronting
usability problems. XMLHTTPRequest or XMLHTTP used to
retrieve the data from the server
Additional usability issues arise when users try to send
More specifically, the receivers by following the link can Power Meeting
only see the default content. Similar problems exist with
search engines, as the clicking of a link displays again the PowerMeeting is a framework that makes use of the
default content. This problem is widely known as SEO Google web Toolkit and provides a common foundation
(search engine optimization) issue, and usually stems for developing a synchronous groupware application
from the absence of a proper sitemap. Another issue of consisting of a set of plug-ins, i.e. groupware tools for
major importance in Ajax applications performance is specific collaborative activities.
PowerMeeting is a framework that makes use of the evaluators in finding usability problems in a user interface
Google web Toolkit and provides a common foundation (Nielsen and Molich, 1990; Nielsen 1994).
for developing a synchronous groupware application
The Usability Evaluation
consisting of a set of plug-ins, i.e. groupware tools for
specific collaborative activities. The usability evaluation was made up of three parts:
Wang, the author of PowerMeeting lists its key features as 1. The Background Information Sheet:
Uses standard Web browsers, including AJAX- We used this to collect the back ground information
enabled browsers running on mobile devices as of all the participants for both the user interface and
front end making the system widely available Group Calendar Test. The information collected
and eliminating the need for installation. includes the users’ computer literacy levels, computer
Supporting direct manipulation of shared programming experience especially with the
artifacts and direct textual and voice components of Ajax technology (Cascading Style
and coordination possible. opinions of web applications and possible
motivations to use or not use Ajax applications.
Supporting rich user experience through rich set
of graphical widgets, fast feedback, and nature 2. The User Tests:
interaction means, such as tele-pointing, drag- This was made up of quantitative and qualitative test
and-drop, and gesture. of the functionality of PowerMeeting and the
Maintaining view-data dependency and data Groupcalendar. We adapted it differently for the user
consistency across clients and server; and interface/functionality test and for the Group
maintaining data and collaborative session Calendar. A brief description of these tests is given
persistency essential for any document-based below:
real time collaboration and for a smooth moving a. The User Interface/PowerMeeting Functionality
between synchronous and asynchronous Test
We chose six functionalities randomly in other to
Making the development and integration of task- evaluate the user interface and functionality of
specific groupware tools into the system easier. PowerMeeting.
Its implementation technologies are: Login and Logout functions
GWT GUI library and GWT RPC for the front The Documentation
The Agenda creation function
The RemoteServiceServlet class and the
continuation technology provided by Jetty web The Tele-pointer
server for the back end components. The Group chat
SQL database – for making objects persistent. Two users were evaluated concurrently. One was
The general user interface layout of PowerMeeting asked to chair the meeting and the other was a
(Figure 1 in Appendix B) has two main parts separated by normal participant. Below are the tasks asked to test
a slide bar. The right side is a large working area for plug- the five chosen functions:
ins such as shared gadget objects while the left side has a Function 1: Log in to the PowerMeeting
menu bar which cannot be seen on the image captured
(Wang, 2008). This menu has tabs, Create, Edit, Pointer, Task: Create a new task.
Help and Logout. Beneath the tab “Create” is a list of Function 2: Test the documentation of
Agenda (Agenda items), Current users (participants) and PowerMeeting.
below this is the group chat which can be done be text or
by Skype. Task: Read the documentation in five minutes.
The PowerMeeting groupware tools include Pincard Function 3: Creating an Agenda
board, MindMap tool, Presetation slide, Calendar tool etc Task: Create new agenda item called
Heuristic evaluation was mainly used for the user CONTINENT
interface because it is quick, cheap and easy evaluation of Task: Add in “categories” EUROPE
user interface. It also effective and requires a small set of
Task: Add in “Idea”, country name France. Task 3 - Change the time for your event
Task: Put Ideas in their respective categories Task 4 - View the events on the calendar
through the day, week and month views
Task: Replace “Idea” Nigeria with Kenya
Task 5 - Delete your event
Function 4: Using the Telepointer.
Task: Show and hide telepointer On the questionnaire, they were to respond to
seven statements using the SUS scale type
Function 5: Log out from the session chair account response and to four other questions using a binary
and login as a user response – Yes or No. These set of questions
Task: Log in to an already existing session, by focused on assessing the following metrics
typing the Skype name. Ease of use
Function 6: Work on the group chat and on the Efficiency
voice conference with Skype
Main usability issues
Task: Exchanging written messages
For the next set of questions, users were to respond
Task: Have a 2 minutes voice conference on the Group Calendar as a whole. These questions
After the completion of the above mentioned tasks, were focused on obtaining user satisfaction
participants were asked to respond to the questionnaire experience of the tool by using four questions from
used for our assessment. the SUS. We included an extra question to test the
users’ satisfaction with using a browser-based
For assessing the Agenda, Telepointer, voice conference groupware. The responses were also an SUS scale
tool using Skype and the textual chat, questionnaires were type response.
design to respond to the usability heuristics discussed in
Molich and Nielsen (1990). Participants were asked to We then went on to obtain qualitative data of the
answer 14 questions using the SUS scale 1-5. user’s view of the usability issues they
encountered in carrying out the tasks, their
expectations from the tool and their
For the Login session, we used heuristics (Recognition recommendations.
rather than recall” and Flexibility and efficiency of use) 3. The Evaluators’ Guideline and Observation Form
and also measured performance and satisfaction.
According to Dumas and Redish (1999), there are two We understand that sometimes users’ comments
aspects of the documentation which can be tested: may not give a true or exact picture of their
whether users go to the documentation or how well the experience of the software while responding to a
documentation works for them when they go to it. We questionnaire. We therefore decided to also make
chose the latter because the former requires a large use of this form to record the observations we made
number of participants. as the users carried out the tests. We recorded
information such as the main usability issues faced
For the assessment of the log in, log out and the by users, usability errors made by users, user
documentation, another set of questions were asked to comments, facial expressions etc. This provided a
obtain the necessarily data needed for the evaluation. solid basis for correct analysis of results and
b. The Group Calendar User Test conclusion.
After briefly and orally introducing Group The Participants
Calendar as a group calendar tool to the users, we We chose to test students of the University of Manchester
logged into PowerMeeting and selected the Group because they are a true representative of the target
Calendar tool. We presented a type-written audience for PowerMeeting. They have varying levels of
questionnaire to the users. We then asked them to exposure to computers and web applications. They are
carry out the following tasks without providing assigned group tasks. They face the challenge of having to
any documentation, user guide or assistance. meet again outside of the normal class schedule because
Task 1 - Add a new event of the varying locations where they live or work. They
would therefore have to use web tools offering
Task 2 - View and modify the description of
synchronous collaboration for effective communication in
an event created by another user. (We order to achieve their goals.
created this event before the test)
A total of twelve participants performed the evaluation. He sees some games based on web application as being
We increased the number of users to improve the tiny and interactive. His top web applications include
reliability of the data, analysis and conclusions made in MSN, Tencent, Blackboard, and Moodles. He thinks web
the test as suggested by (Insert references for Observing applications are user friendly, fast, well designed and
the User Experience). Six users evaluated the user secured.
interface/functionality and six evaluated the Group
He has used groupware tools such as skype and tencent
before. Factors that might motivate him to use an Ajax
Users for Evaluation of PowerMeeting Framework based web application are its ease of use, speed, and
Functionality/User Interface adaptability with the user interface. What might
discourage him from using such an Ajax based web
application is if it allows pop-ups and if it is insecure.
Tim is a male MSc Informatics student. He describes both
his computer literacy level and computer programming
experiences as proficient. He has programming Abdullah is a male student in the HCI and User interface
(Style sheets) and Javax.Swing Package. experiences is intermediate. He has some computer
programming experience some experience with
In general the use of web applications has improved his
Javax.Swing Package technology.
life because they are useful for providing information and
social networking. His top five web applications include Web applications have affected his lifestyle by helping
Facebook, Email, Windows Live Messenger, Twitter and him to communicate with the rest of the world. His top
Web browsers which he uses for news and information. web applications are yahoo, google doc, facebook and
adobe share. He characterizes web applications as
He characterizes web applications as being user friendly,
generally being user friendly, fast, well designed and
fast, well designed and secured. Though he does work in
groups, he has never used any groupware tool before. He
would use Ajax web applications if they were useful, easy He sometimes works in groups and has used skype and
to use and if they did not have any faults and errors. He group documentation tools before. He might be motivated
would be discouraged from using them if they did not to use an Ajax web based application if he finds it easy to
improve his life. use, cope well with the user interface, similar to a desktop
application, and if refreshing function is easy and quick.
He might not use Ajax web based application if it has
Xiaokun is a female student studying Information security and privacy issues.
systems. She has an intermediate computer literacy level
and is a beginner in computer programming. She has
He describes his computer usage experience as
She sees a web application like skype as being useful
intermediate and his computer programming level as
because it makes it easier to contact people from a
beginner. He has no programming experience with Ajax
distance. Her top five web applications are MSN, Skype,
Google search, Emails, and Blackboard. She believes web
applications are user friendly, fast, well designed and Web applications have positively affected his lifestyle
secured. because they allow him to keep in touch with the rest of
the world. His top five web applications are facebook,
She has used some groupware tools like google groups
MSN, Email, twitter and Google. He characterizes web
and skype. She is motivated to use web applications if
applications as being user friendly, fast, well designed and
they are easy to use and cope well with the user interface.
She might be discouraged from using an Ajax application
if it is insecure and difficult to use. He works in groups but is yet to use an Ajax based web
application. He would be happy to use one if useful and
easy to use. He would be discouraged from using them if
Ji is a male Informatics student. He is proficient in they did not improve his life.
computer usage and intermediate in computer
programming. Like User 2, he has no experience in CSS
and Javax.Swing Package but has experience in Diwakar is a male student in MSc Healthcare
beginner in computer programming and has none with Skype, Twitter and e-mail applications such as yahoomail
Ajax technology. frequently and Skype for her group work.
He sees web applications as being effective positively For her, web applications are generally user friendly, fast,
because they allow him to communicate with friends and well-designed and secure. Ease of use, simplicity and
family around the world. His favorite web based speed are her possible motivations to use Ajax
applications are Google, Email, MSN Messenger, Skype, applications and a lack of these would demotivate her to
and Facebook. He believes web applications are user use them.
friendly, fast, well designed and secured.
He has never used any groupware tool before. He would
Bima is a 26-year-old male, Masters student of the
use Ajax web applications if they had a positive impact on
Construction Management Department. He is a proficient
his life and if they were not complicated to use. He would
computer user, has intermediate computer programming
be discouraged from using them if they had limited
experience but none with Ajax technology.
impact on his life.
Web applications have helped him in interacting with
Users for Evaluation of Group Calendar
common interest group members and in resolving and
User 1 working on programs or projects. He mainly interacts
with group members through the UoM Blackboard system
Sana is a 22 year-old female studying Informatics. She is
and Facebook Groups. He also uses YouTube, Facebook,
computer literate, is a beginner programmer and has no
Skype, Twitter, and MySpace.
programming experience with Ajax technology.
He thinks most web applications are user friendly and
She uses Facebook, MSN, Skype, Blackboard, LinkedIn
fast, not secure and that their designs could be improved.
frequently. Group wares have improved her studying and
His possible motivations to use Ajax applications would
ability to carry out group work. She would be motivated
be user friendliness and security while poor design and
to use an Ajax-based application if it is easy to use and
insecurity of the application would demotivate him to use
has minimal features displayed on the user interface and
discouraged from using it if it has a busy user interface.
Ibrahim is a 23 year-old male, postgraduate student of the
Deji is a 25 and is pursuing a Masters degree in
Public Health department. He is a proficient computer
Operations, Project and Supply Chain Management. He
user with intermediate programming experience but none
has intermediate computer literacy, is a beginner
with Ajax technology.
programmer with no experience with programming with
Ajax technology. He uses Skype, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and Google
Maps. Google groups daily because they help him to
He mostly uses web applications for sharing information,
organize his social networks and make his activities faster
social networking, and making job applications. He uses
and easier. He uses mainly Google Groups and Google
Facebook and recruitment web sites frequently and
Calendar for his group work.
mostly uses Google Groups for his group work.
He thinks web applications are generally user friendly,
He thinks most web applications are user-friendly, well
fast, well-designed and secure. These features would also
designed and fast but he is uncertain of their security. He
motivate him to use Ajax technology. He has no possible
would be motivated to use Ajax applications if they are
demotivations about the technology.
easy to use, offer real time communication, and secure
and would not be motivated to use them if they are User 6
Waheeda is a 22-year-old female studying Information
User 3 Security. She is computer literate, has intermediate
programming experience and has programmed with
Kerry is a 21-year-old female student of the Human
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), one of the components of
Resource Management and Industrial Relations
department. She is a proficient computer user, has
intermediate programming experience but none with Ajax She says web applications have made her life easier and
technology. more fun but have also increased the pace of living. She
uses Facebook, Google Groups, Windows Live
Web applications have made life easier for her through
Messenger, Gmail and Skype regularly for social
improved means of social networking, task management
networking, chatting and e-mail. For her group work, she
and access to information. She uses Facebook, Google,
uses Google wave, Skype, Google Groups, and Google The standard deviation is marginally over 73
She thinks that web applications are generally user The confidence level at 95% shows that the
friendly, fast, well-designed and secure. These are her average population completion time will be 91
possible motivations for her to use Ajax applications seconds.
while excessive display of information would discourage
her from using them. The following were observed for the Agenda:
RESULTS The average time taken for Agenda is 292
This section consists of the results obtained during the seconds with 33.33% of the participants
Powermeeting evaluation for the user interface and group completing the tasks before the average
calendar tool. completion time.
Results for User Interface (Vishal Dixit) The standard deviation is approximately 149
The results for the User Interface evaluation carried out seconds.
are based on three metrics task success, errors and issues.
The confidence level at 95% shows that the
Task Success: Table 1 in appendix B shows the average population completion time will be 156
percentage of participants who were successfully able to seconds.
complete the tasks given for the User Interface tools
The following were observed for the Tele-pointer:
(Login, Documentation, Agenda, Tele-pointer, Voice
Conference). To calculate the percentage of success the The average time taken for Tele-pointer is 51
binomial distribution method has been used where 1 seconds with 33.33% of the participants
indicates the task was a success and 0 indicates task completing the tasks before the average
failure. The table also shows the 95% confidence interval. completion time.
Graph 1 in the appendix shows the Tasks Success rates The standard deviation is over 27 seconds.
for all the tools in the User Interface:
The confidence level at 95% shows that the
All the participants were able to complete the average population completion time will be 28
tasks for login, documentation, agenda and tele- seconds
The following were observed for the Voice Conferencing:
The task success rate for Voice Conference is
66.66%. The average time taken for Voice Conference is
200 seconds with 83.33% of the participants
As part of the analysis of the Powermeeting features, the completing the tasks before the average
total completion time of all the tasks were measured for completion time.
each of the users. Tables 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in appendix B
show a summary of the tasks completion times for each The standard deviation is approximately 82
The following were observed for Login feature: The confidence level at 95% shows that the
The average time taken for Login is 75 seconds average population completion time will be 86
with 66.66% of the participants completing the seconds.
tasks before the average completion time. Further there was a Chi-Square test conducted to see if
The standard deviation is marginally over 35 there is any significant difference in the task success
seconds. between three different groups (novices, intermediate and
experts). The participants were categorized in three
The confidence level at 95% shows that the groups by asking them their computer usage experience.
average population completion time will be 37 Tables of the test results are displayed in appendix B as
seconds. Table 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The following were observed for the Documentation: The results show that there is no difference in the
The average time taken for Documentation is task success between the three groups for Login,
180 seconds with 50% of the participants Documentation, Agenda and Tele-pointer as the
completing the tasks before the average task success rate is 100% for all the four tools.
completion time. (Task success rate is shown in the bar graphs and
also in the Fig. Task completion rate above)
The result for Voice Conference however is The issues encountered are summarized in table 13 in
different; the task success between the three appendix B.
groups is shown with 0.6 distribution.
Graph 7 in appendix B shows the percentage of
Errors: This section concentrates on the errors participants who encountered issues in the user interface
encountered in the tasks performed by the participants. tools.
The aim here is to understand how the level of experience
In login 66.66% participants found the issues as
can affect the errors made by the participants.
high severity and 33.33% as medium.
Table 12 and graph 2 in appendix B shows the number of
errors encountered in the tasks performed for the user For documentation, Tele-pointer and voice
interface. conference the percentage of high severity was
100%, 83.33% and 50% respectively.
Graphs 3, 4, 5 and 6 in appendix B show the relationship
between the level of experience and the errors made by This indicates that the issues encountered for
the participants. The scatter plots indicate a negative slope documentation and Tele-pointer needs to be addressed for
between the two variables (months of experience and the next version of PowerMeeting.
average errors per day). To understand it better the Apart from the evaluation test the participants were asked
correlation coefficient was calculated. to make some comments about the user interface tools
which are summarized in table 14 in appendix B.
The correlation coefficient for login is -0.70
which shows that there is strong negative Results for Group Calendar Tool (Fatima Baba)
relationship between the two variables (as the The result from the evaluation of the tool focused mainly
level of experience increases the errors on efficiency of the system and the ease of completing the
decreases). It shows that the average expectancy tasks using the tool. The findings also identified some
of errors is -0.7 for the participants having a issues the users faced and the severity of those issues. A
month of experience with the tool. summary of the data gathered from the evaluation is given
The correlation coefficient for documentation is -
0.51. Efficiency: was measured in terms of the user’s success
in completing the evaluation tasks and how long it took
The correlation coefficient for agenda is -0.06. them to complete the tasks.
The correlation coefficient is not applicable for In measuring the success and failure of each task, the
Tele-pointer as there were no errors encountered. binary success rate was used where successful tasks were
The correlation coefficient for voice conference assigned 1’s and failed tasks were assigned 0’s. Table 15
= -0.06. in appendix B shows the averages and 95 percent
confidence intervals of the binary success data.
Issues: This section of the results concentrates on the
issues that the participants encountered while carrying out Graph 8 in appendix B shows that:
the tasks. The issues are categorized on individual tasks Tasks 1 and 2 were successfully completed by all the
done in tools (Login, Documentation, Agenda, Tele- users.
pointer, Voice Conference) and further being classified to
having high, medium and low severity. Task 3 has a sample mean completion of 50%. Hence
there is a 95 percent chance that the true mean will fall
High severity: Issues are classified as high between 6 and 94 percent.
severity if it has been faced by many participants
and also likely to make a major impact on the The confidence interval is rather large as a result of
usability. the small sample size used for the evaluation.
Medium severity: Issues are classified as For Tasks 4 and 5 there is a 95 percent chance that the
medium severity if it has been faced by many true mean will fall between 50 and 116 percent.
participants having a minor impact on the As part of the analysis of the efficiency of the calendar
usability or few participants but large impact on system, the total completion time of all the tasks was
the usability. measured for each of the users. Table 16 in appendix B
Low severity: Issues are classified as low shows a summary of the completion time for each user.
severity if it has been faced by few participants The average evaluation time was 144.5 seconds
and also has minor impact on the usability. with 50 percent of the users completing the tasks
(Tullis & Albert, 2008). before the average completion time.
The standard deviation is about 33 seconds. This Issues: with the tool were identified as the evaluation was
can be attributed to the small sample size. being carried out and a documentation of these issues is
Therefore estimating the true mean of the given in this section. The issues are categorized based on
individual tasks in addition to being classified as having
population will be less accurate if based on this
high, medium or low severity. The severity classifications
sample size. are the same as the ones given in the user interface issues.
The analysis also shows that with a 95 percent A summary of the issues identified are given in table 19
confidence, it can be inferred that the average in appendix B.
population completion time will be 144.5 35 Graph 11 in appendix B shows that three issues were
seconds. identified in Task 1 and 60 percent of the users
encountered problems in relation to the issue with the
The experience level of users was obtained during the test highest magnitude. It also shows that Task 3 had only one
and was measured by assigning numerical values to issue identified which all the users encountered. This
different levels of experience as shown in table 17 in indicates that the issue in Task 3 is the most sever and
appendix B. This was to enable us test for the relationship should be given priority when the issues are being
between the users’ previous experience with calendar addressed by the design team of the Calendar tool.
tools and the time it will take them to complete the tasks After the usability evaluation of the calendar tool, the
for the Powermeeting calendar tool. users were asked some questions on the tool in general
The scatter plot shown in graph 9 of appendix B indicates and were also asked to give general comments general.
a negative slope between the two variables. For each Table 20 in the appendix summarizes the responses of the
increase in level of experience there will be 0.65 seconds users.
decrease in the completion time. DISCUSSION
The correlation coefficient of -0.65 shows that there is a This section discusses the findings of the usability test for
strong negative relationship between the level of the user interface and calendar tool.
experience with other calendar systems and the time taken User Interface Discussion (Anastasia Tsoutsoumpi,
to complete the tasks in the usability test. Vishal Dixit and Billy Kwasi Yeboah)
Ease of Use: This was measured in terms of how easy it The user interface tool was evaluated on three metrics
was for the users to complete the tasks. The users were task success, errors and issues.
asked to rate the ease of use of the Calendar tool by
completing a questionnaire which was based on the The findings of the evaluation suggest that there is no
System Usability Scale (SUS) and has been presented in significant difference in errors among users with different
the Methods section. The users’ responses which are the level of computer experience. This could be as a result of
SUS scores (SUS scores are calculated by adding the time pressure the users where put under during the test
rating figures and multiplying by 2.5) are presented as and the fact that they were not familiar with
percentages in the table 18 and graph 10 in appendix B: PowerMeeting. For example, they had no reason to
assume they needed to login as administrators as they
have no prior knowledge of the fact that only
Easiest task - Task 4. (The task has an average administrators could create agenda items.
ease of use rating of 66 percent with only 33 Calendar Tool Discussion (Fatima Baba)
percent of the users rating below the average). Three main aspects of the calendar tool were measured
during the usability evaluation. They are efficiency, ease
The most difficult task - Task 3. (The average
of use and issues (problems).
ease of task rating of this task is 55 percent with
about 67 percent of the users rating below the
Overall the users did not find the tasks too easy
to complete thus the average ease of use for all
the tasks are 62 percent with the maximum
efficiency of 75 percent.
Efficiency: The five tasks were measured for success and recognized during the test as well as from the statistical
the means and confidence intervals were calculated in the results are outlined below.
previous section. The confidence interval allowed us to
estimate to what degree of accurateness the results from
the sample can be used to generalize how successful the Recommendations (Anastasia Tsoutsoumpi and
task completions will be when used in the real world. The Ijeoma Udejiofor)
first two tasks were successfully completed by the users
After analyzing the result of the usability test taking into
but that does not mean everyone who will use the system
consideration improvement ideas from the users the
will be able to successfully complete the tasks. The small
sample size has to be considered before any following recommendations are given in order to improve
generalizations can be made. On the other hand, task 3 the Powermeeting system:
had a really low average completion success and this Connection for the user conference should be
point out that there is a problem with the tool and if used made quicker
in the real world a lot of people may not be able to use it
to complete such a task. Tasks 4 and 5 only showed The login should also be made quicker and
moderate levels of difficulty in successful completion and should have a mechanism to remember
this should also be addressed when improving the passwords.
calendar tool. The logout button should be clearly indicated on
The negative slope of graph 9 shows that as the computer the screen.
literacy level of the user increases, the time spent in
completing the tasks decreases. To better understand the Search mechanism should be built in the
strength of the relationship of these variables, we documentation.
calculated the correlation coefficient which gave a value
of -0.71. This can be interpreted to mean that it is 71% The recycle bin used to delete the agenda items
probable that proficient computer users will find the should allow users retrieve deleted items
system more usable than beginner computer users.
Individuals, irrespective of their level computer literacy, The design of the group calendar tool should be
need to be to manage group events using a calendar tool.
enhanced so that it is possible to easily edit the
Hence, the general features of this tool should be
enhanced to encourage even beginners to adopt it as their time for an event by entering a new time using
group calendar tool. the blinking cursor in the pop-up dialogue box.
This was a high severity issue and the general
A standard deviation of 33 was obtained and this indicates
a large variance between the completion times of the low usability results for task 3 echo this problem.
different users. Although we can attribute this to the small
sample size used for the test, it could also be indicative Standard alternatives should be made for core or
that it will take some classes of users far more time to commonly used functions. For example users
complete tasks using the tool when compared to other should be able to select the “add”, ” edit” or
classes of users. This could be as a result of several other “delete” event button by right clicking on the
factors such as level of computer literacy as discussed mouse. Users should also be able to use simple
above. Again, this indicates that the design should be
key combinations on the keyboard, as an
improved on to reduce the use time for all classes of
Ease of use: from the results, it is clear again that there is The users should get a notification of when an
a problem with completing task 3. This confirms the event is added or edited by another group
findings in the efficiency that showed task 3 as the least
member and the identity of the person who
efficient. In general all the users did not rate the ease of
use of the calendar tool high, and this suggests that the added or edited the event.
tool is not easy to use.
Currently in the group calendar, a deleted event
Issues: with the calendar tool were identified during the cannot be restored. A means for restoring deleted
usability test. These issues are valuable insights for the
items should be added as a feature of the tool as
developers and in order to improve the tool, the issues
need to be resolved. Some recommendations for the this will greatly enhance its usability.
improvement of the tool gathered from the issues
When the mouse is placed on a clickable feature, As far as users attitudes towards web applications are
a brief textual description of its function should concerned two basic points can be noted. Firstly, people
be displayed to increase learnability and usability are always attracted by eye-catching user interfaces.
However, the motivation to be ‘loyal’ in a web
of the tool.
application is its functionality. An additional point is that
many users express their concerns about the security and
CONCLUSION (ANASTASIA TSOUTSOUMPI)
Firstly, the evaluation of the Power Meeting web the speed of web applications. That is a clear indication of
application, gave us the opportunity to gain a good their demand for high quality standards in contemporary
understanding of Ajax technology. Further to that, we had software products.
the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with very Finally, the success of an application in the ‘web market’
important human computer interaction concepts. The is based exclusively on users’ acceptance of it. But they
experience gained, through the preparation of the usability are the researchers and the professional software
test and through the analysis of users’ feedback, will developers, who lead the technology one step further into
improve our skills in the domain of software the future.
development. The main reason for that is that we will be
able to approach software design from the user’s point of
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Acronyms and Definitions
Asynchronous communication - the user’s interaction with the application happens independently of the application’s
communication with the server.
CSS – Cascading Style Sheets
GUI – Graphical User Interface
GWT – Google Web Tool Kit
HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol
RPC – Remote Procedure Call
SQL – Structured Query Language
XHTML – Extensible HyperText Markup Language
XML – Extensible Mark-up Language
Statements and Usability Metric Tested for Agenda and Tele-pointer
Statement Usability metric used
1 I have used similar tools before. Ease of use
2 It found it easy to create an agenda item. Ease of use
3 I found it easy to create a category. Ease of use
4 It was easy to create ideas. Ease of use
5 I found it easy to delete and replace ideas. Ease of use
6 The terms used were easy to understand. Ease of use
7 The various tabs were clearly visible and easy to find. Efficiency and ease of use
8 I found it easy to move from one task to another. Ease of use
9 The tasks were clearly different from each other. Efficiency
10 I made errors while navigating through the individual tasks. Ease of use
11 It was easy to find the telepointer. Ease of use
12 Telepointer navigation from one item to another was smooth. Efficiency and satisfaction
13 I find the telepointer an important tool to use. Satisfaction
14 There is a consistent icon design scheme and stylistic treatment across the system Satisfaction
Statements and Usability Metric Tested For Voice Conference and Chat
No. Questions Usability Metric used
1. The tool is easy to use for the tasks given. Ease of use
2. The tool is efficient for voice conference and chat. Efficiency
The tool needs to be used several times to get Ease of use
3. accustomed with.
In relation to other tools I have used, this tool is easy. Ease of use
The fields/buttons are well presented and organized. Satisfaction
It is easy to understand the functions of the Ease of use and satisfaction
The tools (PowerMeeting and Skype) are well integrated. Efficiency
I found the navigation around the tool easy. Ease of use
The following questions were then asked with expected binary response of YES/NO to gather qualitative data.
Did you encounter any problem while connecting with Skype? If you answer YES please briefly mention some of them.
Please make any comments on Power Meeting Voice conference (Skype) tool.
Would you recommend others to use this voice conference tool? Answer by (YES/NO).
Would you recommend others to use Power Meeting for group chat? Answer by (YES/NO).
Questions for Assessment of Documentation
1. Compared to other web applications that you use, how would you describe the registration process of the
PowerMeeting? Choose one of the following options and put it in a circle. You may consider selecting more than
a. It is really confusing for the average user
b. Very poorly designed mechanism
c. Rather straightforward
2. Did you encounter any difficulties to log on the system and create a new session? Answer by (YES/NO)
3. If your answer is NO describe in a short sentence the basic difficulty you encountered.
4. Would you prefer it if Power Meeting included a mechanism to remember passwords? (YES/NO)
5. Are you convinced of the security which is provided by the Power Meeting during the log in process? Please
consider mostly the case where you need to log in with your skype id. Answer by (YES/NO).
6. On any PC, it is impossible to log in on the Power Meeting by using the same Web Browser. How would you
comment on that? Answer with a short sentence.
7. How would you characterize the overall design of the user guide? Your options are the following and you should
put your answer in a circle.
a. very bad
b. neither bad/nor good
d. good but corrections are needed
8. Do you believe that the description of the sessions in the user guide was helpful to you?
9. Are you satisfied by the organization of the user guide? (YES/NO)
10. Do you believe that the content of the user guide is accurate and to the point? (YES/NO)
11. Could you manage to communicate via Skype through the Power Meeeting tool without reading the session of the
user guide describing the voice conference with Skype?
12. Do you believe that you would have been able to perform better in the agenda task if the user guide had included
an illustrated presentation of this function? Answer by (YES/NO).
13. Suggest any improvement in a new version of Power Meeting’s documentation.
Questions For Assessing the Group calendar and Corresponding Metrics Tested
No Questions On Individual Tasks Type Of Usability
1 I found the tool easy to use for this task Ease of Use
2 I found the tool efficient for this task Efficiency
3 I would need to use the tool several times before I get accustomed to performing this task. Ease of Use
4 The experience I have of previous tools increased my ability and speed of performing this task Ease of Use
in the Groupware calendar tool.
5 I understood the text descriptions of buttons on the user interface of the Group calendar. Ease of Use
6 The text description on the buttons aptly describe their functionality Ease of Use
7 The steps for each task followed a natural and logical order. Efficiency
8 I felt confident and very much in control of the tool while performing this task. Ease of Use
9 I made an error on this task Ease of Use
10 I found it easy to retrace my steps when I made an error while carrying out this task. Ease of Use
11 I felt I needed to check the online user documentation for this task Ease of Use
General Questions on the Group Calendar
No User Metric Tested
General Comments on Power Meeting Group Calendar For
13 I found certain features of the tool unnecessary and distracting. Ease of Use
14 I found the various functions in the Power meeting calendar tool well integrated. Ease of Use
15 I would prefer to use a browser-based groupware calendar. Ease of Use
16 I would likely use this tool frequently as my group calendar tool. Ease of use/
17 I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly Ease of Use
(Questions 1, 13, 14, 16 and 17 are adapted from the System Usability Scale listed by Brookes J. but developed at the Digital
18. Please briefly describe any problems you encountered in carrying out the tasks
19. List some ways you think the calendar tool would help you work better in groups
20. What other features did you expect to see in the group calendar tool?
21. Please give recommendations on the improvement of this tool.
The Group Calendar Evaluators’ Guideline and Observation Form
We used this form to get our own assessment of the main user metrics we set out to test. The data was recorded for each task
and for each user. The table below lists out the guidelines we followed in order to effectively record our observations.
No Guidelines Possible Data Values User Metric Tested For
1 Completion time for task Value in seconds Efficiency
2 Task success Yes or No Efficiency
3 No of unsuccessful attempts Maximum Number of Efficiency
Attempts was 3
4 Does user display signs of discomfort? Descriptive text of Ease of use
5 Identify User’s Errors While Carrying Type of error Issue-based
Out Tasks (In a measurable form)
6 Main Usability Issues Faced By this Measured description of Issue-based
User error faced by user
7 Please Record User’s Comments per Exact comments Efficiency/Ease of use/ Main Issues (They
Task confirm the other observations made above).
8 Please record any other observations Miscellaneous Efficiency/Ease of use/ Main Issues (They
made confirm the other observations made above).
APPENDIX B – Graphs and Tables
Figure 1 -The general user interface layout of PowerMeeting
Login tion Agenda Telepointer Conference
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 0
1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 0
100% 100% 100% 100% 67%
Interval 0% 0% 0% 0% 41%
Table 1 Showing percentage of users who completed tasks
Graph 1 showing percentage of users task completions
Time (Secs) Time (Secs)
User 1 User 1
User 2 User 2
User 3 User 3
User 4 User 4
User 5 User 5
User 6 User 6
Average 75 Average 51
Table 2 showing user completion times for login Table 5 showing user completion times for tele-pointer
Time (Secs) Time (Secs)
User 1 User 1
User 2 User 2
User 3 User 3
User 4 User 4
User 5 User 5
User 6 User 6
Average 180 Average 200
Table 3 showing user completion times for Table 6 showing user completion times for voice
Evaluation Group Observed Expected
Novice 2 2
User 1 Intermediate 2 2
336 Experts 2 2
TOTAL 6 6
540 Chi-test 1
Table 7 Login Chi-test
Group Observed Expected
User 5 Novice 2 2
147 Intermediate 2 2
Experts 2 2
Average 292 TOTAL 6 6
Table 4 showing user completion times for Agenda Chi-test 1
Table 8 Documentation Chi-test
Relationship between level of experience and errors
Group Observed Expected 1.2
Average Errors per Day
Novice 2 2 1
Intermediate 2 2 0.8
Experts 2 2 R2 = 0.5786
TOTAL 6 6
Chi-test 1 0
Table 9 Agenda Chi-test 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Months of Experience
Group Observed Expected
Novice 2 2
Intermediate 2 2 Relationship between level of experience and errors
Experts 2 2 made(Documentation)
TOTAL 6 6 1.2
Average Error per Day
Chi-test 1 1
Table 10 Tele-pointer Chi-test 0.8
R = 0.3223
Group Observed Expected
Novice 1 2 0
Intermediate 2 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Months of Experience
Experts 1 2
TOTAL 4 6
Table 11 Voice conference Chi-test Relationship between level of experience and errors made(Agenda)
Average Errors per Day
R2 = 0.0357
Agenda 1 0.4
Telepointer 0 0.2
Conference 1 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Table 12 Number of errors Months of Experience
Relationship between level of experience and errors made(Voice
Login, 43% Conference)
Average Errors per Day
Documentation, R2 = 0.0357
Login Documentation Agenda Telepointer Voice Conference
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Graph 2Percentage of Errors in User Interface tools Months of Experience
Tools High severity Medium severity Low severity
Login Takes long time to log in. Powermeeting does not
Documentation User guide does not illustrate
the tasks for agenda.
Agenda Cannot retrieve deleted items
from the trash.
Telepointer Cannot understand the use of
Voice Conference Takes too long to connect to
Table 13 Issues encountered with the User Interface tools
%participants encountered issues
Login Agenda Voice
High severity Medium severity Low severity
Graph 7 Percentage of participants who encountered issues
Login Documentation Agenda Telepointer Voice Conference
P1 Delays while logging in when Can’t Delays while sending
there are too many understand text messages.
participants logged in. how to
P2 Should be a System freezes when
search function there are too many
to find relevant people logged in
P3 Would prefer PowerMeeting Takes too much time
to remember passwords. to connect.
P4 More security consideration
and privilege rights assigned to
P5 The logout process should be
made easy perhaps making the
logout button more
P6 The administrator and client A bit more Should allow more
login should be explained information on than three
how to create participants to do the
Table 14 comments on the user interface tools
Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Task 5
User 1 1 1 1 1 1
User 2 1 1 0 0 0
User 3 1 1 1 1 1
User 4 1 1 1 1 1
User 5 1 1 0 1 1
User 6 1 1 0 1 1
Average 100% 100% 50% 83% 83%
Interval 0% 0% 44% 33% 33%
Table 15 showing success rate for calendar tasks
Graph 8 showing task success with confidence intervals
Evaluation Usage of Experience
User Time (Secs) calendar tool level
User 1 Daily 10
User 2 Twice a week 8
User 3 Weekly 6
User 4 Once in two 4
User 5 150 Monthly 2
User 6 126 Never 0
Average 144.5 Table 17 showing experience levels
Table 16 showing task completion times for each user