A Web Interaction Design Computer Science Essay

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Abstract

The most important factors to consider in an ecommerce website are simplicity, usability, and accessibility. All factors are important but accessibility is more important. If more people access a site, it will do more business. There are a number of ecommerce website design standards ensure that a majority of people are able to access a website (B Albert, 2002). This report is based on analyzing in the context of use for an e-commerce website, and then develops an evaluation strategy for that website. In this document I have analyzed my chosen website and then develop an evaluation strategy. This report is based on three parts and websites analysis and evaluation by card sorting method.

Introduction

A good design always helps the customer to focus on goals and help to choose the right things in a easy way devoting less time. Its main focus is to analyze the business requirements and customer needs. A web interaction design is the area of work where the aim is to define the behaviour of products and systems that a user can interact with. It is applied in different product and services of the organization and even if the organizational itself. Interaction design is used in many areas which include psychology, programming, user testing, product design, and many other domains.

Website Name and URL

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The name of the company of my chosen website is PC World and the URL of the site is http://www.pcworld.com. This is an e-commerce website which I have to be analysed and developed and evaluation strategy for this site. The screen shot of Pc World home page is given below.

Figure 1: Domain Availability Confirmation Screen (Source: http://www.pcworld.com)

Rationale for the Website Choice

I have chosen this site because PC World is a big international company like many other companies. Now it is the computer age and the computer technology is growing up rapidly. With the advancement of technology this company also succeed to enhance its business worldwide with different best quality of product and services. It seems to me that there is huge scope to analyse the context of use of this sites. I have tried to discuss the pros and cons of the good as well as bad features of this site without any kind of biasness.

Understanding of the Context of Use

There are different types of stakeholders who use the website. In this document I have made a list of such kind of stakeholders and analysed them with different prospects. On the other hand I have established who and what the site should support and also what the owner wants from website? Using a card sorting technique I have identified the required information (content) for the website and organizing them in a structured way such that the information is easy, coherent, logical, entertaining and enjoyable to users. Finally, I have determined where and how the site structure does or does not fit its expected context of use.

Analysis of the Stakeholders, Activities, Environment and Domain

My chosen web site is: http://www.pcworld.com. I am making a list of the stakeholders of the chosen website in order to their priority and also importance as shown in the given table:

Context of Use Table

Web-site:

Company and URL?

PC World

http://www.pcworld.com

Users:

Who are the intended users?

Internal Users

Employees of company

Owners/ shareholders

Website Administrators

Webmasters

External Users

Information Workers

Competitors

Customers

Government

Suppliers

Unions

Other companies

The Business:

What are the business goals for this site?

To sell IT products online

To entertain all of its users through appropriate interfaces

Tasks:

What can users do on it?

Customers can look, compare and buy IT products online through this website.

Other users can extract their required information from the website.

Owners can view financial statements.

Webmasters can update delete and add new stock on it.

Other companies can place advertisements on it.

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Information workers may put news on it.

Government can view the company’s policies.

Information:

What can you find out from it?

Website is easy to use and designed specifically for its intended users. User may include its customers who wish to buy some IT related equipments or its administration to manage it or its owner who may want to look at it’s company’s financial statements etc.

Table 1: Context of Use

Structure for the Website

In this section of report I have described the information for the website and discussed the structure of the website using card sort technique. The aim of making the overall structure of the site is to navigate easily and it should be interesting for users, attracting more online visitors day by day.

My chosen website is: http://www.pcworld.com I have numbers of card in my hand. Each card has a card number, product name and a small description about the product. I have to sort the card that seems best to me and make grouping them and give level for each group such that the information is easy, coherent, logical, entertaining and enjoyable to users. I have some of my friends here with me. They are all IT literate. They often buy products online and some of them are student of IT. I think these people are ideal to make a good structure of PC World website using card sorting technique.

Closed card sorting: The concepts collection from PC World website is as follows.

Blogs

Forums

Podcasts

Videos

News

Reviews

How-To (Tutorials)

Downloads

Shop & Compare

Apps

Business Center

Newsletters

FAQ

Contact Us

RSS Feeds

Magazine Customer Service

Community Standards

About Us

Advertise

PCWorld Content Works

Terms of Service Agreement

Privacy Policy

PCWorld Site Map

Android App Reviews

iPhone App Reviews

Business Center

Cameras

Camcorders

Cell Phones & PDAs

Consumer Advice

Desktop PCs

E-Readers

Gadgets

Gaming

HDTV

Home Theater

Laptops

Macs & iPods

Monitors

Printers

Software

Spyware & Security

Storage

Tech Industry

Tech Events

Upgrading

Windows 7

I have taken 47 concepts from the website. When I gave these cards to the groups of people they divided the concepts under different categories. I gave them the labels after grouping them as follows.

G1 = 1, 2, 3, 4, 17

G2 = 44, 45, 46, 47, 19, 14, 15, 16, 17, 12, 13

G3 = 24, 25, 26, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

G4 = 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

G5 = 18, 20, 21, 22, 23

Group name

Label

G1

Community Services

G2

Accessibility

G3

Resources

G4

Products

G5

About

Table 2: Concepts Groups

New Site Structure

Figure 1 Compromised PC World website structure

Why Closed Card Sort Technique?

Card sorting is a pen-and-paper exercise which is used to find out how to organize information or to test existing organization schemes. The selection criterion of card sort technique depends upon the structure, complexity, and users needs and requirements of the website (B Albert, 2002). In this sorting technique, the participants were given cards with labels on them, told the objective of the website. The participants were told about the objective of the website, type of business as well. Each card provided a unique number and a unique concept. The branch of card was shuffled and the participants were to rearrange them into the group that best suited on them. After that they were told to give level to each group. The sorting technique was done among different participants and the results from the different participants were taken and analyzed. Closed card technique was used in an existing web site to increase its productivity and to make the web site better such that the chosen web site can be rearranged better.

Site structure according to context of use

As I mentioned in context of use that there are number of different users who use this website, First of all customers who are willing to buy the products can easily navigate to desired product by using products link. Government can access policies easily through about link. Information workers can access any information through accessibility. Administration can access the web interface using content link under about. Thus this structure is better than the old one.

Usability Evaluation

Heuristic Evaluation

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The main goal of heuristic evaluations in this document is to identify any problems related to interface designs. Usability consultant Jakob Nielsen developed this method on his several years of experience basis in consulting and teaching about usability engineering.

Nielson’s heuristics are as follows:

Heuristic 1

Visibility of the system status (Nielsen)

Within reasonable time, the system should keep users informed always about what is going on through appropriate feedback.

In stone

Two important things that users need to know at your site can be "Where can I go next?" and "Where am I?" and PC world website shows it through bread crumbs.

Heuristic 2

Resemblance between system and the real world

The system should say real world simple language (B David, 2005).

In stone update

Different national people might use the PC World website so the website must be available in different languages.

Heuristic 3

User control and freedom

There must be an emergency exit on every page.

In stone Update

To do this simple a "home" button on every page let users feel free in control of your site. PC World website has this control on it.

Heuristic 4

Consistency and standards

Users must not wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.

In stone Update

There is a good page title on every page of PC World website.

Heuristic 5

Error prevention

It will prevent a problem occurring from the first time with better error messages.

In stone Update

Forms are a common source of errors from web users and this website has good error prevention through error messages.

Heuristic 6

Recognition rather than recall

Make actions, objects, options and information visible (B David, 2005).

In stone Update

This website uses bread crumbs and good titles on every page so there is very miner chance that user will get lost.

Heuristic 7

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Accelerators - unseen by novices - may speed up interaction for experts so that systems can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Let users tailor frequent actions (B David, 2005).

In stone Update

This website should be easy to bookmark.

Heuristic 8

Aesthetic and minimalist design

There should be only necessary information on the site.

In stone Update

There is massive information on the website.

Heuristic 9

Language used for recovery from errors should be simple and easily understandable (B David, 2005).

In stone Update

Error messages show solution on the website error page.

Heuristic 10

Help and documentation

There should be some help given on the website e.g. how to use the website.

In stone Update

This website has no user manual on it. So it is a suggestion that it should include a user manual in it.

Usability Testing & Pilot Test

Usability testing is a technique for ensuring that the intended users of a system can carry out the Intended tasks effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily with minimal chance of error (B David, 2005).

When is Usability Testing appropriate?

Usability testing is carried out before release of website so that any significant issue identified can be addressed. Usability testing can be carried out at various stages of the design process. In the early stages, however, techniques such as walkthroughs are often more appropriate (W Helen, 2002).

Users attended the usability test for PC World website.

A usability testing session was attended by:

A representative user.

A test host.

One developer.

Due to some limitations this test is being performed by 3 intended users.

Preparing for a usability test

Identified representative tasks

Prepared test schedule.

Booked the required room.

Representative user was invited to attend. The following materials were used:

A list of tasks, together with criteria for measuring whether they have been successfully completed.

Logging sheets to record timing, events, participant actions, concerns and comments.

A post evaluation questionnaire to measure user satisfaction and understanding and to glean any additional information participants may want to provide.

An appropriate 'thank-you' gift.

Methodological Details and Evaluation Plan

Following is the detailed website evaluation plan based upon the selected evaluation approach. Following points can be taken into account after evaluating my chosen web site.

Speed

If simultaneous pages are open there should not be any problem.

Website will perform well under the major search engines and optimized for search engines ranking.

Usability Driven Pages

The web pages should be very attractive such that user want to use it regularly.

Website will be assessed to check whether it meets the W3C accessibility recommendations and confirms to Disability Discrimination Act.

The copyright information and also the last update date of the website should clearly be identified.

Website has to provide information such as contact, author and copyright information.

Navigation System

Navigation system should be well such as user can easily navigate and move through different pages.

Necessary help and direction should be provided.

All the links should work correctly and no link will be broken.

Multimedia Support

Multimedia content such as flash movies, pictures, sound clips, and animations etc should plays a significant contribution to the site. To get the overall usability multimedia content should be included wherever possible.

User Agent Compatibility

The website is compatible across different web browsers. It should support all known web browser.

Content Presentation

The content presentation should be up to date and the content should be in an organized way using labels, heading, sections and images etc.

Use of CSS help to give a attractive appearance of website..

Information is easy to search and locate (W Helen, 2002).

Useful and the related links are well organized.

Useful and Related Links

Links to other useful Web sites are provided.

Pilot Test Results:

Based upon the results from the evaluation the website can be marked as well designed and easy to use. The best approach to continuously improve the usability experience of the website, it is important to include a feedback form in the website. This feedback form can help the visitors of website to comment and suggest the ways in which the usability can be highly attained. In order to get the reasonable structure of the website and make the website user-centered, I would follow the guidelines presented in above section. This plan is based on the recommendations on usability experts.

Comments

As discussed above from the evaluation it can be stated that my chosen website were well designed and it is easy to use for any kind of user. Feedback form should be made to get the user feedback how they use this site and what is there opinion about the site. In order to get the reasonable structure of the website and make the website user-centered, I would follow the guidelines presented in above section. This plan is based on the recommendations on usability experts.

Conclusion

Web design and development merely just only not involve the coding; it involves the integration of ethical, social, legal and professional issues so that website meets some standard set by the website regulation authorities. These issues become even more crucial when designing the website for disabled people. Thus the selection of website usability evaluation technique is very important and essential to assess the acceptability level of the website (W Helen, 2002). Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses and based upon the complexity, number of users, number of developers and availability of usability experts the technique can be applied. The heuristic evaluation technique is the best technique in our case as it does not require any laboratory work, experiments and user training. Though, this technique is suitable in our case, but it is the obsolete technique and gives principles that can even be applied by a single IT professional. The expected structure of the website that is developed in the report is derived using card sort technique. The list of stakeholders, their activities, important attributes and associated motives are also based on the website that is under discussion in the report (W Helen, 2002).

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