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The most important factors to consider in an ecommerce website are usability, simplicity, and accessibility. Accessibility is important. The more people that can access a site the greater the chance it will make business. There are a number of ecommerce site design standards that, when adhered to, ensure that a majority of people are able to access a site. This means that everyone from the visually impaired to mobile users will be able to purchase from an online store. Simplicity is also important (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.
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
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
Company and URL?
Who are the intended users?
Employees of company
What are the business goals for this site?
To sell IT products online
To entertain all of its users through appropriate interfaces
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.
Information workers may put news on it.
Government can view the companyââ‚¬â„¢s policies.
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 itââ‚¬â„¢s companyââ‚¬â„¢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.
Shop & Compare
Magazine Customer Service
PCWorld Content Works
Terms of Service Agreement
PCWorld Site Map
Android App Reviews
iPhone App Reviews
Cell Phones & PDAs
Macs & iPods
Spyware & Security
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
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.
The main goal of heuristic evaluations in this document is to identify any problems associated with the design of user interfaces. Usability consultant Jakob Nielsen developed this method on the basis of several years of experience in teaching and consulting about usability engineering.
Heuristic evaluations are one of the most informal methods of usability inspection in the field of human-computer interaction. There are many sets of usability design heuristics; they are not mutually exclusive and cover many of the same aspects of user interface design.
Nielsonââ‚¬â„¢s heuristics are as follows:
Visibility of the system status (Nielsen)
Through appropriate feedback within reasonable time, the system should always keep users informed about what is going on.
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.
Match 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.
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.
Consistency and standards
Users must not wonder whether different situations, words, or actions mean the same thing.
In stone Update
There is a good page title on every page of PC World website.
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.
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.
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.
Aesthetic and minimalist design
There should be only necessary information on the site.
In stone Update
There is massive information on the website.
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.
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 it 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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).