Usability Evaluation Of Website Computer Science Essay

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This project work is the usability evaluation of a chosen website for gathering information about it, under "Project Management for e - commerce" given by tutor Chris McCarthy, due on 6th Nov. 2009.

Information for this assignment is collected by using notebook and broadband internet connection. I used usability tests like Human factors checklist, Style checklist and defect log on the website.

www.nz.com is chosen because it is one of the 5 most popular New Zealand tours and travels sites and among many regular users and provides various solutions and problems.

There was not any approval for evaluation test of www.nz.com

The website www.nz.com has four options in left side column of home page about New Zealand, Tourism and Travel, nz.com places and About nz.com under their more different options have information related New Zealand tourism. Its right side column has two options for accommodation search and tour packages and activities and two options of Google's business and one is its search link. Below of the homepage there is map of New Zealand and it's down world's main news. Mainly this website provides information for tour and travel, accommodation search, tour packages, study and business etc.

Homepage provides easy and proper information in all section of tourism. To navigate this website's webpage's do not require any registration. Any user can open it direct by entering address and can collect needed information. The linked texts of homepage are in blue color and underlined for specifying the other links. Its design is very simple and clear for new users, is not complicated in kind.

Essential use case

There is provision for casual users, need not to login to find the needed information. There is restriction for creating new listings, change text and pictures to implement our ideas. Only nz.com client can logon by entering their password for business purpose those are registered with the website forum. Client logon address is http://www.nz.com/client/logon.aspx . Users can save and print out easily its selected portions and even they can send email of its copied pages. Website supports all web browsers and it loads very quickly. Users seem interested in finding new schemes of tours and travels in New Zealand in business ads.

Website is programmed in html and Java script. Users are allowed for only saving images and set cookies and restricted for open the pop up windows, extensions installation or themes and share locations.

The used pictures are in .gif, .jpg, .png formats. It was modified on January 01, 1988. The used keywords are new zealand, accommodation, travel, tourism, virtual, tour, activities, tours, guide etc. The client privacy is kept under privacy act. It also offers Google's third party search for web and www.nz.com.

Inventory of User Roles

The two users are there who deals with this website are regular user and casual user. Regular user is familiar with the various links and controls of the website. Therefore spend short time to find out the various desired solutions of their problems, can gently use the website. But casual user find some difficulty to find out desired results in spite of website's simplicity. Casual user is prohibited for some links like cannot change text, images and create new listings needs registration to do it.

Constantine & Lockwood's Web User Role Checklist for 2 different but typical user roles

Orientation: - Regular user feels easy to open all links because he is familiar and used it for more time. Casual user impressed by website's simplicity thereafter he gets irritated when he does not get the result. Casual user thinks the valance can be positive or negative depending on him and he can change role while there is less chance for regular user. Regular user is satisfied with the site because he use his network to increase his business. Casual user thoughts may vary depending on the impression from the site. Regular user has less chance for not using the site. Casual use has more chances fro abandoning the site. He feels difficult to fulfill his purpose from the site.

Incumbents: - Regular user has worth knowledge about the domain. He became familiar with domain by using it regularly. Casual user is not familiar with domain knowledge because he can be a new user or a child. Comparatively regular user has more knowledge than the casual user of site specific. Regular user can move easily from one link to another. But casual user has less knowledge about site links and keywords. The casual user may be intelligent than the regular user. He may be regular user of another website.

Information: - Casual user cannot send his FAQ's because he has to register on the site. On second hand regular user can easily participate in FAQ's.

Role Support: - Casual user is in the learning stage about the site always try to interacting with site because he is unregistered and has no power. Whereas regular user is a registered member of site and he has the powers. Regular user because of he is familiar. With the site and helps in maintaining the side by giving regular feedback.

Persona of a Casual user visiting a website

Persona of a casual user who is unfamiliar with the web, feels difficulties in getting interaction with website. He finds difficult to use links to get familiarize on site. Casual user can access search box easily if he has knowledge of keywords. Casual user has no need to register on site to open links. But he can not change the text, images and create new listings.

Persona of a Regular user visiting a website

Persona of regular user is different from a casual user. Regular user is friendlier with the website. He has knowledge of keywords and links of solution of his problems. Regular user is registered with website can access the links to display the business on the web pages. He uses his tools to attract the customer of tour and travels by business techniques. He displays his contacts i.e Telephone no's, Fax, E mail etc.

Human Factors Checklist

1. Do homepage provide the essential information about the forum?

2. Does the website loads quickly?

3. Does the Search option is efficient and quick?

4. Does each web page have navigation link back to homepage?

5. Can users send a feedback?

6. Can users contact with the site admin easily?

7. Does the website runs smoothly on most of the browsers?

8. Users able to comment and review?

9. Personal information kept private?

10. Clear exit point is provided at every point?

11. Can visitors bookmark individual pages?

12. Does site provides easy sign up and password retrieval?

13. Does site supports categorized browsing?

14. Does site supports RSS?

15. Does site provides notifications?

16. Does site provide upload and storage?

17. Does it support multiple languages?

18. Doest it provides storage for private notes and contacts?

19. Does it provide blogs?

20. Are users able to communicate with each other?

Applying human checklist to evaluate the website and providing source for each item on checklist.

1. Home page shows different links for History, Other important dates, Weather, Food, Languages, Music, National anthem, Facts of NZ, General profile, Bank, Business Hrs, Travel details etc. Search box to search in web and about www.nz.com supported by Google. So it make me to mark correct this option.

www.nz.com is tested it loads very quickly on broadband connection. Fewer pictures make the site quicker to load. Logo of the site is quite attractive also shows the National flag of New Zealand.

Search option is located in left column of the home page. Search option enables the users to search in particular section of a site. Google has also provided web search and website search. The search option is very efficient in its work. I checked this item, its very forwarding.

4. While opening links I did not find any link which takes back user to home page. Therefore, i unchecked this option.

5. Contact us option I find for sending their enquiries on website. The address is http://www.nz.com/about/advertising.aspx .

More than 1.2 million people annually visit NZ.com

In a month above 13,000 people visit for accommodation. on nz.com

In a month above 12,000 people visit activities.nz.com

Therefore, I checked this option.

6. I found there user can contact to send messages to administration. It is a part of website's features. Address is

http://www.nz.com/about/advertising.aspx . Therefore, i checked this option.

7. Website was operated over Internet explorer and Mozilla firefox. On these web browsers website runs quickly and loads pages easily. That's why I checked this option.

8. Users can comment and send their reviews to service provider. User have to fill the form for advertise the business with nz.com. Therefore, I unchecked this option.

9. Only the information of business purpose registered users is kept private.

Therefore, I checked this option.

10. There is not any exit point available on any page. It creates difficulty for users to navigate between web pages. Therefore, I unchecked this option.

11. Users can bookmark their important or special pages when broadband connection is in use. Therefore this field is also checked.

12. Registration Form is very simple it is only for google clients for their business advertisements. Fill the details which are needed. It make easy to service provider to contact the user. User can easily logon after registering.

Therefore, I checked this option.

13. On Homepage there are sections to get different types of in formations.

The links act as threads of the information. That's why I checked this option.

14. RSS is a Rich Site Summary, enables user to stay informed retrieving the latest content from the site. Website lacks RSS feature which is quite popular these days. So this option is not checked.

15. Whenever a message is received the site provides a notification both in site and through email. Thus helping user to know about the new message or updation received. This option is unchecked.

16. Updation and storage is popular features these days. Users can upload, store and share their files with other users. Website has html tags to display external images via putting links in tags. This feature is not available in the website. Therefore this field is unchecked.

17. Website doesn't support Multilanguage feature. Website is available in English version. Users with other language as first language find it difficult to interface with the website. This feature is also not available in the website. Thus, this feature is also unchecked

18. This field is not checked because the website has not this storage feature

19. Website has not blog feature. Blog is a kind of webpage maintained by a user by posting regular contents. This field is also missing on website

20. Website does not allow the users to send private messages to each other. This field is unchecked in human factor checklist.

Style factor checklist

Web Page Issue

Strength of recommendation

Recommended design

UNP

1. Frames

***

No

2. Logo

***

Upper left

3. Search

***

Provide a box on homepage

4. Search placement

***

Upper right or left

5. Search box colour

***

White

6. About the website

***

Always included

7. Privacy Policy

***

Included one or the link to another page

8. Auto play music

***

No

9. Search button

**

Call it search or go

10. Width of the search box

***

At least 25 characters

11. Type of search

***

Simple search

12. Contact information

**

Contact us link

13. Name of the privacy link

**

" Privacy Policy"

14. Help placement

**

Upper right

15. Animation

**

No

16. Body text colour

**

Black

17. Help

*

Avoid until necessary

18. Graphics Illustration

*

No more then 15%

19. Body text size

*

12 points

20. Body text type face

*

12 san serif

Applying human checklist to evaluate the website and providing source for each item on checklist.

Website doesn't contain frames. Frames make the website design little bit complicated and lays bad impression on users. This style checklist is checked.

Logo of the website is small and attractive. It's placed on the upper left corner of the homepage. Thus this style checklist is also checked. The large logo does not appeal user.

Search option is present on the homepage in left column. For every search users have to navigate back to the homepage to find search.

Search box is placed in the below of right corner of the homepage it is

supported by Google. So this checklist is also checked.

Search box's color is white. It attracts more to the users.

Website homepage doesn't have About Us link. This is a necessary part of the every website. Therefore this checklist is crossed

Website includes a Privacy policy link located at the centre. This contains all the privacy issues. Therefore this field is also checked.

Website has not any auto play music option that irritates the users.

Search button on below of right side of homepage. New users can search

anything in web and website related in www.nz.com option. Thus this style is checked.

Search box of home page has limit of 15 characters, which is not standard limit for any search box.

But another page has more than 25 characters limit. Address is http://www.nz.com/search/ . So this field is also checked.

Simple search is available on website. User can search anything in a

particular field. This field is also checked.

Contact us link is provided at another webpage of the website. It make difficult to user find it. This adds one more check in the style check list.

There is no privacy link under the name of Privacy. So this is unchecked.

Help feature is unavailable on the website. It is normally placed at the upper right corner. This adds another cross in the style checklist.

Website has not any animation is present on the site. Animation slow down the process of website loading and dial up users find difficulty in loading a site. Absence of animation adds another check in the style checklist.

Body text is in black color. It makes the user comfortable to read. It adds one another check in the style checklist.

Help is not present in the website. But if needed users can contact admin or team members. I found this field acceptable to users so it is checked.

Graphic illustration on the website is more then 15 % . So it is unchecked.

Body text size on the website is 12. It adds another check in style checklist.

Font type on website is not san serif. So it is not checked.

Defect Log

Location id

Interface feature

Type of problem

Description

Severity

1

Button

no

visibility

Search button

3

2

Navigation

missing

layout

Help button

3

3

Label

missing

workflow

About Us

4

4

Label

Inconsistent

feedback

Privacy

4

5

Menu

Not present

visibility

Drop down menu

2

6

Form

nonstandard

layout

Scrolling

2

Website has Search button. It makes the user comfortable for searching. So I gave it 3 nos.

Help button is missing on the website. It is normally located on the upper right side. New users may be confused about the features available on site. So help feature provide them information. Thus I gave it 3 nos..

Every website should have an About Us link which shows description of what site is all about. This website is missing this essential part. Therefore I gave it 3 nos.

Privacy link is not present on any name in the website. It should be there.

Drop down menus are not on the website which create problems in user's search concentration. I gave it 2 nos.

The Scrolling up and down should not be there. But website only show us half page so users have to scroll it many times up and down. So I have given it 2 nos.

Executive Summary

. The main purpose of this usability evolution was to test the level of usability of the website and find the positive and negative aspects. This report documents the findings of Usability evolution of website www.nz.com .

Positive aspects about www.nz.com :

Navigation: Navigation is quick, smooth and convenient. Searching information of different desired fields is accurate. It is provided by Google search on the homepage.

Design: Website design is hassle free. Links are in blue color and with proper spacing between them. WebPages background is white which makes it appealing and more user-friendly.

Improvement areas for www.nz.com :

URL Name: URL doesn't give the importance of the site.

More support for inexperienced new users: Site lacked navigation and downloading information for new inexperienced users.

Recommendations:

Site Map for new users.

Website name should be cleared and more dedicated server for dial up users.

Report On The Usability Evaluation Of Website

The website which I have chosen is a www.nz.com which is a popular New Zealand website of tourism. Users can visit the website and navigate through different sections available according to their needs.

Human factors checklist, style checklist and defect log were conducted to find the level of usability. Result shows some strengths and weaknesses of the site. Human and social checklist help me in finding these features and categories them in good and bad category. Defect log helps to point out the major or minor defects that may effect the website layout.

Human factor checklist shows that the users find it easy to

navigate and find information easily on the website. Homepage has all the necessary information and links to different web pages. Though, web site doesn't provide features like uploading, storage, Blogs and RSS which may disappoint some users. Style checklist shows website's layout is good but there are certain areas that need change e.g. missing help button, text color, privacy, about us etc.

New users to the web may find it difficult to interact with the website they do not know search keywords of the website. While the logo, background color and many other features attract traffic to the sites. Website loads faster because it is without any animation and large size images. Therefore the style checklist was overall good. The defects found on the website were listed under the defect log. Constantine & Lockwood's Web User Role Checklist provides the behaviors to two users about the site. This can be used as feedback to improve the site.

Conclusion:

The output shows the website has efficient and reliable features but website needs changes and improvements in few areas. The site name does nt clear the website description. That required areas are site map, privacy policy, about us, help etc. Website functioning is well and will do well in future.

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