Presentation on theme: "Websites Usability and User Interaction Effectiveness (Cultural Dimensions) Nassib Elkadri University of Ottawa."— Presentation transcript:
Websites Usability and User Interaction Effectiveness (Cultural Dimensions) Nassib Elkadri University of Ottawa
Outline Abstract Overview The 7 steps Approach for building a successful web presence User Interface Effectiveness Methodology User Experience Testing (Focus on the user, not the usability) Cultural Dimensions and its effects on User Interfaces Conclusion
Abstract Despite the advancement of the web technologies, finding the right information on websites is no longer an easy process and a consolidated evaluation methodology for websites does not yet exist. The goal of the websites is to offer its users the right information and to help them acquire knowledge on a subject matter. However, the growth of the number of websites over the Internet in ad hoc manner has increased the ambiguity and concerns for many users and made it difficult for them to browse, search, and navigate. The evaluation of websites must consider its effectiveness as well as its usability. The design of the interface should take into account the users behavior so that the users' interactions with the websites are as natural and intuitive as possible. In this paper, we present the results obtained from the observation and analysis of the interactions of a focused group of users with various websites. The paper also illustrates a methodology for evaluating websites' effectiveness.
Overview The growth of the number of websites over the Internet in ad hoc manner has increased the ambiguity and concerns for many users and made it difficult for them to browse, search, and navigate. How many pages exist on the web ? And how many Searches done ? Google announced that it has more than 8 billion pages indexed. While Yahoo says it has over 19,2 billion pages. In 2008, there was 31 billion searches every month on Google while this number was 2.7 billion in 2006 What does that mean ?? - the majority of the users are searching the web to find what they want among this huge number of existing websites. But there is no guarantees they are getting what they want
The 7 Steps Approach for building a Successful Web Presence Having a website among this huge number of existing websites is a real challenge. Whether the website is interactive or simply informational, there are steps you can take to ensure you're on the right track to creating a successful web presence. The steps are illustrated below: 1.Perform Requirements Analysis - What do you want to accomplish? How does your website fit into your overall business plan? The business plan will be a roadmap to success, so make sure the objective of your website fits into your overall business plan. 2.Include the research as a major phase. Research the competition and industry sites. See what kind of competition exists. Don't look to "reinvent the wheel", take a look at how the current market works; develop a list of pros and cons about your competition and then make your web presence work better.
The 7 Steps Approach for building a Successful Web Presence (Cont’d) 3. Develop a concept and a design. This involves the selection of specific content, the layout of the site structure and navigation and the overall "look and feel" of your website. The most important part will be the navigational structure!!! If visitors can't navigate your website or feel lost when doing so, your "pretty" site will have been a waste of time; keep the navigation simple and, for SEO purposes, make sure your navigation is text based. Although Flash driven websites look attractive, they are not Search Engine friendly and can create many problems 4. Develop your website. When considering which technology to develop your website, think cutting edge technology, not bleeding edge. Make sure the technology you use, such as ASP, PHP, HTML, CSS, will be useful for the next few years to come.
The 7 Steps Approach for building a Successful Web Presence (Cont’d) 5. Choose a host provider and implement your website. When deciding on a host provider, make sure the host is not only reputable, but has been long enough in business so that you can be sure the website will not get down. Otherwise, by having the website going down, it will not affect the users only but the search engines as well. If the search engines decide on a given day to spider your site and it is unavailable, it could cost you your rank. 6. Promote and market your website. Register your site with the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. and don't forget about a long term Search Engine Optimization campaign to drive targeted traffic to your site.
The 7 Steps Approach for building a Successful Web Presence (Cont’d) 7. Maintain your website. Probably the most important long term step is continuing to provide current and relevant information on your website. Keep your site content current to encourage return visitors and give them something to return for! Related to SEO, search engines just love sites which provide new content on a regular basis and rank these websites accordingly.
Watching the User Experience is what differentiates between different User Interfaces Effectiveness. We will be discussing in details an effective methodology to create powerful user Interfaces through user experience methods that depends on: 1.Usability studies that focus on the user, not on the usability 2.Considering the cultural dimensions of the users. What About User Experience ?
Web Analytics – It is the process of tracking the website visitors’ behaviour and their preferences. By doing so, we will be able to tell what are the user interests in our website and what annoys them and how they interact with the website. The information gathered will help in creating key performance indicators (KPIs) to help improve the usability and the interactivity of the website. The Users are Speaking, Can you hear them ?
User Interface Effectiveness Methodology Universal Design: It is defined as the skilful organization of all elements inherent in a project or plan in relation to the intention to make the outcome accessible to everyone. Universal design is the principle that guides the process to integrate all elements required to ensure facilities, technology, information, programs, products, and services meet the diverse requirements of today's society. Universal design of web sites has two major components: 1.The design is flexible enough to be usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities and communication preferences 2.The design can operate within the widest possible range of situations (environments, conditions and circumstances).
Focus on the User, Not the Usability Usability is related to the individual’s subjective experience. Usability as a discipline focuses on use not the user. Many usability professionals have now moved their core philosophy and appear to focus on “User Centered Design” (USD). Usability focuses on improving the tools we use and compensated users for participating in studies, thus providing the intrinsic motivation to help management create more efficient systems. Users evaluate the level of empathy you display for their wants, needs, and desires. Usability is based on the physiological and psychological principle that only an individual principle can explain. Next: “Don’t make me think” Usability Approach
Usability Factors Ease of UseLearnabilityMemorability Error Prevention HelpAccessibility Consistency Efficiency User Control
Is the Usability Evaluation Enough ? If users perceive you as empathetic they will continue to navigate your website despite the usability faults they experience. Am I saying we shouldn’t remove the faults ? Off course not !! However the website being usable can’t overcome an inability to meet the motivation and desire of users. Listen to the users and consider their cultural dimensions.
Cultural Dimensions & Global Web Design The Web enables global distribution of services through Internet Websites, intranets, and extranets. Professional analysts and designers generally agree that well-designed user interfaces improve the performance and appeal of the Web, helping to convert "tourists" or "browsers" to "residents" and "customers." The user- interface development process focuses attention on understanding users and acknowledging demographic diversity. But in a global economy, these differences may reflect world-wide cultures. Websites that are addressed to global visitors on the web should consider the impact of culture on the understanding and use of Web-based communication, content, and tools.
Cultural Dimensions & Global Web Design (Cont’d) A few simple questions illustrate the depth of the problem. Consider your favorite Website. How might this Website be understood and used in New York, Paris, London, Beijing, New Delhi, or Tokyo, assuming that adequate verbal translation were accomplished ? Might something in its metaphors, mental model, navigation, interaction, or appearance confuse, or even offend and alienate, a user? Edward T. Hall, David Victor, and Fons Trompenaars would have been equally valuable in illuminating the problems of cross- cultural communication on the Web, but our approach will demonstrate the value of this body of research for the Web User Interface Design.
Cultural Dimensions & Global Web Design (Cont’d) Hofstede identified five dimensions and rated 53 countries on indices for each dimension, normalized to values (usually) of 0 to 100. His five dimensions of culture are the following: 1.Power-distance 2.Collectivism vs. individualism 3.Femininity vs. masculinity 4.Uncertainty avoidance 5.Long- vs. short-term orientation Each of Hofstede's terms appears below with our explanation of implications for user-interface and Web design, and illustrations of characteristic Websites.
Cultural Dimensions - Power Distance (1) Power distance refers to the extent to which less powerful members expect and accept unequal power distribution within a culture. Hofstede claims that high PD countries tend to have centralized political power and exhibit tall hierarchies in organizations with large differences in salary and status. Subordinates may view the "boss" as a benevolent dictator and are expected to do as they are told. Parents teach obedience, and expect respect. Teachers possess wisdom and are automatically esteemed. Inequalities are expected. Low PD countries tend to view subordinates and supervisors as closer together and more interchangeable, with flatter hierarchies in organizations and less difference in salaries and status. Parents and children, and teachers and students, may view themselves more as equals (but not necessarily as identical.) Equality is expected and generally desired. There are some interesting correlations for power distance: low PD countries tend to have higher geographic latitude, smaller populations, and/or higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita than high PD countries.
Cultural Dimensions - Power Distance (2) Based on this definition, we believe power distance may influence the following aspects of user-interface and Web design: 1.Access to information: highly (high PD) vs. less-highly (low PD) structured. 2.Hierarchies in mental models: tall vs. shallow. 3.Emphasis on the social and moral order (e.g., nationalism or religion) and its symbols: significant/frequent vs. minor/infrequent use. 4.Focus on expertise, authority, experts, certifications, official stamps, or logos: strong vs. weak. 5.Prominence given to leaders vs. citizens, customers, or employees. 6.Importance of security and restrictions or barriers to access: explicit, enforced, frequent restrictions on users vs. transparent, integrated, implicit freedom to roam. 7.Social roles used to organize information (e.g., a managers’ section obvious to all but sealed off from non-managers): frequent vs.infrequent
Cultural Dimensions - Power Distance (3) Low power distance: Dutch Educational Website High power distance: Malaysian University Web site
Cultural Dimensions - Individualism vs. Collectivism (1) Individualistic cultures value personal time, freedom, challenge, and such extrinsic motivators as material rewards at work. Collectivist cultures value training, physical conditions, skills, and the intrinsic rewards of mastery. Based on this definition, we believe individualism and collectivism may influence the following aspects of user-interface and Web design:
Cultural Dimensions - Individualism vs. Collectivism (2) 1.Motivation based on personal achievement: maximized (expect the extra-ordinary) for individualist cultures vs. underplayed (in favor of group achievement) for collectivist cultures. 2.Images of success: demonstrated through materialism and consumerism vs. achievement of social-political agendas. 3.Rhetorical style: controversial/argumentative speech and tolerance or encouragement of extreme claims vs. official slogans and 4.subdued hyperbole and controversy 5.Prominence given youth and action vs. aged, experienced, wise leaders and states of being 6.Importance given individuals vs. products shown by themselves or with groups 7.Emphasis on change: what is new and unique vs. tradition and history
Cultural Dimensions - Individualism vs. Collectivism (3) Low individualist value: Costa Rican National Park website High individualist value: US National Park Website
Cultural Dimensions - Masculinity vs. Femininity (1) Masculinity and femininity refer to gender roles, not physical characteristics. In masculine cultures, the traditional distinctions are strongly maintained, while feminine cultures tend to collapse the distinctions and overlap gender roles (both men and women can exhibit modesty, tenderness, and a concern with both quality of life and material success.) The following list shows some typical MAS index values, where a high value implies a strongly masculine culture: 95 Japan 79 Austria 62 USA 53 Arab countries 43 France 14 Netherlands 05 Sweden
Cultural Dimensions - Masculinity vs. Femininity (2) Since Hofstede’s definition focuses on the balance between roles and relationships, we believe masculinity and femininity may be expressed on the Web through different emphases. High-masculinity cultures would focus on the following user-interface and design elements: 1. Traditional gender/family/age distinctions 2. Work tasks, roles, and mastery, with quick results for limited tasks 3. Navigation oriented to exploration and control 4. Attention gained through games and competitions 5. Graphics, sound, and animation used for utilitarian purposes 6. Feminine cultures would emphasize the following: 7. Blurring of gender roles 8. Mutual cooperation, exchange, and relational support Attention gained through visual aesthetics and appeals to unifying values
Cultural Dimensions - Masculinity vs. Femininity (3) High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website High masculinity Website: “Excite” website for women in Japan Low masculinity Website: Swedish “Excite” website
Cultural Dimensions - Uncertainty Avoidance (1) Cultures with high uncertainty tend to be expressive; people talk with their hands, raise their voices, and show emotions. People seem active, emotional, even aggressive; shun ambiguous situations. By contrast, low UA cultures tend to be less expressive and less openly anxious; people behave quietly without showing aggression or strong emotions. Based on this definition, we believe uncertainty avoidance may influence contrary aspects of user-interface and Web design.
Cultural Dimensions - Uncertainty Avoidance (2) High-UA cultures would emphasize the following: 1.Simplicity, with clear metaphors, limited choices, and restricted amounts of data 2.Attempts to reveal or forecast the results or implications of actions before users act 3.Navigation schemes intended to prevent users from becoming lost 4.Mental models and help systems that focus on reducing "user errors“ 5.Redundant cues (color, typography, sound, etc.) to reduce ambiguity.
Cultural Dimensions - Uncertainty Avoidance (3) Low UA cultures would emphasize the reverse: 1.Complexity with maximal content and choices 2.Acceptance (even encouragement) of wandering and risk, with a stigma on “over-protection” 3.Less control of navigation; for example, links might open new windows leading away from the original location. 4.Mental models and help systems might focus on understanding underlying concepts rather than narrow tasks 5.Coding of color, typography, and sound to maximize information (multiple links without redundant cueing.)
Cultural Dimensions - Uncertainty Avoidance (4) High uncertainty avoidance: Sabema Airlines Website from Belgium. Low uncertainty avoidance: British Airways Website from United Kingdom.
Cultural Dimensions - Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation (1) Long-Term Orientation seemed to play an important role in Asian countries that had been influenced by Confucian philosophy over many thousands of years. They concluded that Asian countries are oriented to practice and the search for virtuous behavior while Western countries are oriented to belief and the search for truth. Of the 23 countries compared, the following showed the most extreme values: 118 China (ranked 1) 80 Japan (4) 29 USA (17) 0 Pakistan (23)
Cultural Dimensions - Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation (2) Based on this definition, we believe high LTO countries would emphasize the following aspects of user-interface design: 1.Content focused on practice and practical value 2.Relationships as a source of information and credibility 3.Patience in achieving results and goals Low LTO countries would emphasize the contrary: 1.Content focused on truth and certainty of beliefs 2.Rules as a source of information and credibility 3.Desire for immediate results and achievement of goals
Cultural Dimensions - Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation (3) Low Long-term orientation: Website form Siemens Germany High Long-Term Orientation. Website from Siemens in China.
References The list of books, journals, and publications used in this research study are available in the notes sections or Upon Request.