As a Windows based institution, UWS offers little in the way of support for users of Apple products. The aim of the University of Western Sydney Mac Users Group which will be referred to as (UWSMUG) from here on, is to correct this situation by providing support to all staff & students using Apple products on campus.
UWSMUG is not just about providing great support, UWSMUG has a lot more to offer its members. Why not make new friends online, or better still in person at either special events or regular social meet-ups. You can even meet people with similar interests from other UWS campus’s. Maybe you are looking for training, information on available scholarships or just discount offers for members. Whatever your needs, UWSMUG is there for you.
Create your own personal profile when you join UWSMUG. Link your profile to Google Maps and make it easy for friends to find you. If you don’t want to make it public then don’t. If you do want to make friends however, you can. Your profile is fully integrated throughout the UWSMUG site, be it the Forums, in articles you write or using our internal personal messaging system. At UWSMUG everyone is treated as an individual.
As a member, if you do want to contribute an article, a how-to piece or even a review, it couldn’t be easier. With an embedded WYSIWYG editor integrated into the site it is easy for members to write articles, post pictures & videos, all without any need for knowledge of HTML and for those that do prefer raw HTML, you can insert your own custom code at a click of a button.
The main area for members to ask questions, get support or find out about special offers etc is the UWSMUG members forum. For those members with a slightly higher level of knowledge and a bit of spare time, why not consider becoming a Moderator in the forums. It is a great way to give a little back.
UWSMUG makes it easy to find out about the latest events both on and off campus. Be it our online Calendar, our selection of important RSS Feeds or our UWSMUG Widget, we try and make it easy for you to know what is going on, so you don’t miss out.
Putting everything together has not been easy and its quite possible the odd bug may have slipped through development and found its way onto the UWSMUG site. However, a great way to mitigate this risk is to implement continual Usability Testing of the site. The remainder of this presentation shall be devoted to this topic.
When it comes to Usability Testing there are a number of steps you must go through and unlike other forms of testing the aim is not to use experts as participants but instead people who most closely resemble your target audience. Just because you like things a certain way doesn’t mean everybody else has to feel the same.
Knowing your audience and how they use your site is critical to any serious web developer, but while observation and interviews are useful tools, formal Usability Testing gives you much more precise information that can make it easier to analyze statistically. This is due to there being a controlled environment and a set of standardized testing procedures.
After carrying out the UWSMUG site Usability Tests and analyzing the results, I was happy to see that the site met all the benchmarks that had been set prior to testing. However, a couple of minor speed issues were found with two pages. After making a few changes to the structure and layout of the site these speed issues disappeared. As can be seen from the chart, we actually achieved up to a 300% speed increase.
While a 300% speed increase is a good thing for the end user, it is also a good thing for the server. Less clicks means less server load (better for the environment) and happier members.
It was noted during the Usability Testing that the Animoto promo video on our site slows down the loading of the page on which it is embedded slightly, a few graphics in the slideshow have not been resized to a standard dimension and that we currently have no Acceptable Use or Privacy Policies as. As a result a number of future changes are planned and an official Style Guide will be developed as well.
All up, designing a successful web site means you have to rely on a bit of Zen when it comes to maintaining a balance between what looks good and what works. Making these decisions shouldn’t be left totally to chance and that is why Usability Testing is so important in helping you as a developer to understand your end users and what they like and what they don’t. As a professional, Usability Testing should be an integral part of the development life-cycle.
ZEN, USABILITY TESTING &
THE UWSMUG PROJECT
Finally, free support for all staff
or students using Apple
products on campus
FULFILLING ALL YOUR NEEDS
• Free Apple Support at UWS
• Make New Friends
• Member Discount Offers
• Special Events
• Training & Scholarships
Create your own member
proﬁle, make new friends and
control who can and who
cannot see your personal
The embedded WYSIWYG
text editor allows you to
upload pictures, video and
post articles with just a few
clicks through a simple
Post your questions in the
forums and if you can help
others give a little bit back
The latest news & events in
the Apple world at the click of
a button, either on our site, via
our RSS Feeds or using our
1. Develop a Usability Testing
2. Carry out testing
3. Analyze results
4. Make changes based on
USABILITY TESTING PLAN
1. Determine key functions required on UWSMUG site
2. Create questionnaires and organize testing environment
3. Carry out controlled testing
4. Analyze Results
5. Take required actions