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A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk UKOLN is supported by: Usability testing for the WWW Emma Tonkin UKOLN www.bath.ac.uk.

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Presentation on theme: "A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk UKOLN is supported by: Usability testing for the WWW Emma Tonkin UKOLN www.bath.ac.uk."— Presentation transcript:

1 A centre of expertise in digital information management UKOLN is supported by: Usability testing for the WWW Emma Tonkin UKOLN

2 A centre of expertise in digital information management Introduction UKOLN, the University of Bath Why this session?

3 A centre of expertise in digital information management Why do projects fail? Project Impaired Factors % of the Responses 1. Incomplete Requirements 13.1% 2. Lack of User Involvement 12.4% 3. Lack of Resources 10.6% 4. Unrealistic Expectations 9.9% 5. Lack of Executive Support 9.3% 6. Changing Requirements & Specifications 8.7% 7. Lack of Planning 8.1% 8. Didn't Need It Any Longer 7.5% 9. Lack of IT Management 6.2% 10. Technology Illiteracy 4.3% 11. Other 9.9%

4 A centre of expertise in digital information management Introducing usability Definition: the measure of a products potential to accomplish the goals of a user How easy a user interface is to understand and use Ability of a system to be used [easily? Efficiently? Quickly?] The people who use the project can accomplish their tasks quickly and easily

5 A centre of expertise in digital information management Assumptions There are several dimensions to usability –Focus on users –People use products to be productive –Users are busy people trying to accomplish tasks quickly –Users decide when a product is easy to use (Adapted from Redish & Dumas, A Practical Guide to User Testing)

6 A centre of expertise in digital information management However… Are users always busy? Does this imply that usability is only present in the workplace?! Effectiveness vs. efficiency vs. satisfaction Do users know when a product is ready? Do all users agree about usability? Is usability actually measurable? Is there one statistic that == % usability?

7 A centre of expertise in digital information management Elements of usability Nielsen refers to five elements or components of usability: –Learnability –Efficiency –Memorability –Errors –Satisfaction –Usability Engineering, 1993, p.26 These may not be of equal importance in all cases.

8 A centre of expertise in digital information management In other words… Usability depends on context –What does the user want to do? –Who is the user? Related to: –Internationalisation; cultural, social issues –Task analysis; working out what the user wants to do (what the goal is) and how he/she would expect to accomplish it

9 A centre of expertise in digital information management Science vs craft Formal approaches: –Research-driven –hard science –Laboratory-based Informal approaches: –Naturalistic, qualitative observations –Informal setting

10 A centre of expertise in digital information management User model vs user testing Either we apply our understanding of the way users act, and test the interface that way Or we simply observe users...

11 A centre of expertise in digital information management

12 A centre of expertise in digital information management A note about rule-based testing/validation Should be vs is – model vs reality Great handwriting does not guarantee a compellingly readable result

13 A centre of expertise in digital information management Scenario-based user testing Based around tasks Simple scenarios (hypothetical stories/abstract-level test cases): –For a company web page, locating and using contact details –Registration and login to a wiki Process: provide a task and ask the user to complete it –It is important to test the right tasks!

14 A centre of expertise in digital information management Cognitive walkthrough Works something like this: Task: Climb mountain and find the highest peak

15 A centre of expertise in digital information management Required for CW A description of the interface A task scenario Assumptions: What knowledge does the user already have? Functionality: What actions will accomplish the task with this interface?

16 A centre of expertise in digital information management Method: Look at each step that is required to accomplish the task: –Will the user try this step? –Will the user notice that this action (control, button, switch) is available? –Will the user associate this action with the effect that they are hoping for? –If this action is performed, does it appear that progress is being made? Can you 'tell a success story' for each step? If not, there is a usability problem.

17 A centre of expertise in digital information management Recording your test: Create a diary format: –Trying to achieve whatever: Looking for something that does whatever Found a button marked foo But clicking on foo took me to unrelated- looking screen blah Like the mountain-climbing line, you can go back and try another trajectory – document this in a similar way.

18 A centre of expertise in digital information management Developing appropriate task scenarios Probably the hardest thing about any usability testing On the one hand, you are not required to support very improbable scenarios. On the other hand, developing and supporting probable scenarios is key to a user-centred development process.

19 A centre of expertise in digital information management Trying out a CW Who's got a mobile phone? In groups: –Work out a couple of tasks. –Working from the perspective of a user with an appropriate level of knowledge (you will have to define what that means!), try the tasks. Document the result.

20 A centre of expertise in digital information management User testing (with real users!) The popular example is heuristic evaluation. Heuristics are rules of thumb. Heuristic evaluation requires about six people and a large amount of coffee. Provide them with a list of the ten (or twelve, or...) heuristics, and ask them to examine each page ('screen') for problems, according to the heuristics.

21 A centre of expertise in digital information management Ten heuristics Visibility of system status: Does the system give timely & appropriate feedback? Match between system and the real world: Is it speaking the users language? User control and freedom: How hard is it to undo unwanted actions? Consistency and standards: Does it follow conventions and expectations? Error prevention: Are potential errors recognised before becoming a problem? Recognition rather than recall: Does the system rely on the users memory? Aesthetic & minimalist design: Are dialogs cluttered with information? Help users recognise, diagnose & recover from errors: Are error messages useful? Help and documentation: Is there online help? Is it useful?

22 A centre of expertise in digital information management Evaluating the results Again, a diary form can be helpful: 'Screen 1 violates heuristic 10 because...' Merge these notes. List by frequency order to see most obvious bugs List by heuristic to see severity for your purposes

23 A centre of expertise in digital information management Applying the results Bug fixes Feature requests Major objections Misnamed element Confusing colours It would be much easier if… …this textbox autocompleted …the system remembered my preferences I dont like [type of application] I prefer [totally different type of application] …(Oh) Strange interaction flow Low- hanging fruit?

24 A centre of expertise in digital information management Testing layouts via greeked text Wasn't going to talk about this, but it's turned out to be useful Early stage of web site design often involves developing layouts/templates Because no real content exists yet, these may be hard to test using the above methods However, a layout should communicate something about page function. Does it?

25 A centre of expertise in digital information management Preparing a template Get greeked text from the Lorem Ipsum generator: –http://lorem-ipsum.perbang.dk/http://lorem-ipsum.perbang.dk/ Place it into template. Do not leave a single readable word! Make yourself a list of elements that should be visible on the page Find/bribe about six test subjects

26 A centre of expertise in digital information management Example list: Main page content Page title Person responsible for page Navigation elements Last updated date Logo How to get back to the front page? News items

27 A centre of expertise in digital information management Testing process One user at a time: On each layout 'greeked', ask the user to identify each element or group of elements. If they can't find it, invite them to mark where they think it ought to be. Asking the user to 'think aloud' can be helpful Also, ask the user to give a mark (out of ten, or from -3 to +3, or whatever...) on 'subjective appeal' Note: Randomising order reduces systematic error

28 A centre of expertise in digital information management Coming up with a preamble This is a strange thing to ask someone to do. Do not be surprised if you get some funny looks. Come up with a short, reassuring introduction to the test. Useful items to include: –Introducing the software (purpose, not detail) –Your participation will help us... –Remember, we are testing the software, not your performance... –Please think out loud... –This style of test helps us to...

29 A centre of expertise in digital information management Examining the results Build a table: As the layout is improved, the number of misidentified elements should reduce

30 A centre of expertise in digital information management Creating scenarios Must be: –Motivating –Credible –Complex –Provide easy-to-evaluate results An Introduction to Scenario Testing, Cem Kaner, Florida Tech, June 2003 –Can be gleaned from documented requirements?

31 A centre of expertise in digital information management The test process A facilitator with detailed knowledge about the site/software is chosen to oversee the test –They must take care not to influence the users behaviour! The tester (user) is briefed about the site/software They then go through each scenario –Think-aloud method – describing and explaining actions –Talk-aloud method – describing without explanation (considered more accurate) The facilitator keeps notes and prompts the user where necessary Alternatively/additionally, the session can be videoed


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