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Fiction Electronic Books: a Usability Study Chrysanthi Malama, Monica Landoni & Ruth Wilson University of Strathclyde, UK ECDL - 13 September 2004 Outline Background The Visual Book The WEB Book EBONI Fiction Ebooks: Aims Methodology Results Analysis & Conclusions The Visual Book

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Fiction electronic books a usability study l.jpg

Fiction Electronic Books: a Usability Study

Chrysanthi Malama, Monica Landoni

& Ruth Wilson

University of Strathclyde, UK

ECDL - 13 September 2004


Outline l.jpg
Outline

  • Background

    • The Visual Book

    • The WEB Book

    • EBONI

  • Fiction Ebooks:

    • Aims

    • Methodology

    • Results

    • Analysis & Conclusions


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The Visual Book

  • 1993-1997

  • Importance of appearance in the design of electronic textbooks

  • The paper book metaphor is well-understood


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The WEB Book

  • What about books on the Web?

  • Applied Morkes and Nielsen’s general web design guidelines

  • Scannability found to be important for books on the Web


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EBONI

  • Electronic Books ON-screen Interface

  • Evaluations of:

    • Web textbooks

    • Textbooks in proprietary formats (Adobe Reader, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket Reader)

    • Electronic encyclopaedias

    • Portable electronic books

  • By: students & lecturers in UK Higher Education

  • Electronic textbook design guidelines:

    • http://ebooks.strath.ac.uk/eboni/guidelines


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Fiction Ebooks: Aims

  • To study whether the presentation of a fiction book in electronic format that shares the EBONI project’s guidelines in terms of visual components (such as size, quality and design) increases satisfaction and usability.

  • To compare the results of this study with the results of the EBONI project which focused on the design of learning and teaching material on the Internet.


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The Fiction Ebooks

  • Same book in three formats

  • Freely available on the Internet

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Gerard

    • Scrolling book

    • Adobe Reader (PDF)

    • Microsoft Reader


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Scrolling Book

  • From Project Gutenberg

    • http://gutenberg.net/

  • Simple, scrolling book

  • Everything displayed on one long page


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Adobe Reader

  • From Nalanda Digital Library (India)

    • http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/

  • PDF format

    • Look of a physical book

    • Single page on screen at a time

  • Functionality

    • Bookmarks

    • Find

    • Zoom in/out

    • Thumbnails…


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Microsoft Reader

  • Virginia Digital Library

    • http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ebooks/Plist.html

  • Greatest functionality:

    • Bookmarks

    • Find

    • Pan/zoom

    • Clear Type

    • “Riffle Control” for navigation

    • Alter font size

    • Annotations: notes, highlights, drawings


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Procedure

  • 25 participants:

    • Lecturers and postgraduates in Computer & Information Sciences

    • Wider public

  • Conducted over the Internet:

    • Contacted by email

    • Online instructions

    • Online questionnaire


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Procedure

  • Pre-questionnaire

    • Age, gender, occupation

    • Previous experience of ebooks

  • Invited to read the three versions of the book in any order

  • Subjective satisfaction questionnaire

    • How easy to learn, read, navigate…

    • Comments


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Measures

  • Subjective satisfaction comprised:

    • Ease of use

      • “Compared to what you expected, how quickly did you learn to use the ebook?”

      • “Was the text easy to read?”

      • “Was the book easy to navigate?”

      • “How frustrated did you feel?”

    • Quality

      • Rate how “annoying”, “engaging”, “helpful” & “unpleasant” each version was

      • Rate functionalities in terms of helpfulness



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Comments: Scrolling Ebook

  • Positive:

    • Easy to download

  • Negative:

    • User-unfriendly

    • Disliked scrolling

    • Boring font and layout

    • Difficult to navigate


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Comments: Adobe Reader

  • Positive:

    • More “book-like”

    • Attractive, clear & colourful

    • Easy navigation

  • Negative:

    • Took time to download

    • Can’t underline


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Comments: Microsoft Reader

  • Positive:

    • “book-like”

    • Functionality

      • “I could not believe that you could draw… make notes and highlight”

  • Negative:

    • Download problems

    • Navigation icons

    • Software failure


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Analysis

  • Importance of book metaphor, in particular:

    • Tables of contents

    • Pages

    • Navigation

    • Bookmarks

    • Highlight facility

  • And:

    • Customisation, e.g. font size

    • Search tools

    • Colour


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Conclusions

  • To provide practical and attractive ebooks, we need to understand user expectations

  • Focus on appearance as well as technology

  • Future work:

    • Analyse use in a library setting

    • Allow users to choose their own books


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