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A Comparative Usability Evaluation of User Interfaces for Online Product Catalogs. Ewa Callahan Jürgen Koenemann Presented by: Xiaohong Bao. Introduction. A comparative study of the usability of hierarchical structure and Infozoom

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a comparative usability evaluation of user interfaces for online product catalogs
A Comparative Usability Evaluation of User Interfaces for Online Product Catalogs

Ewa Callahan Jürgen Koenemann

Presented by: Xiaohong Bao

ICS280 Information Visualization

introduction
Introduction
  • A comparative study of the usability of hierarchical structure and Infozoom
  • The increase in electronic commerce creates a need for Electronic Product Catalogs (EPC).
  • Navigation problems are the second most cited reason for not shopping online.

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introduction cont d
Introduction ---cont’d
  • The most common catalog interfaces on the web are hierarchically organized catalogs.
  • Problems:
  • Confusing
  • Items in dropdown menus are not visible
  • Lengthy result pages force users to scroll
  • Solutions:
  • Recommendation approach
  • Interaction approach

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evaluation of existing online catalogs
Evaluation of existing online catalogs

List of Websites Evaluated (Fall 1999)

1. www.autobytel.com 2. www.Auto.de

3. www.autoinfo.de 4. Automarkt

5. www.auto-shop.de 6. www.autosite.com

7. www.autotaal.nl 8. carpoint.msn.com

9. www.dadb.com 10. www.faircar.de

11. Lycos Decision Guide Cars 12. Mastercar.de

13. www.mobile.de 14. www.whatcar.co.uk

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evaluation results
Evaluation results

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result analysis
Result analysis
  • Database size
  • Searching mode
  • Attribute
  • Specifying ranges
  • Searching history
  • Result pages
  • Sorting search results
  • Item comparison

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infozoom introduction
Infozoom introduction
  • Based on dynamic queries and fisheye techniques
  • Attributes as rows and objects as columns
  • Compressed mode and overview mode
  • Many ways of searching
  • Easy to compare, sort and re-order the results

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overview mode
Overview Mode

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compressed mode
Compressed mode

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usability study
Usability study
  • From the feature comparison of Infozoom and the hierarchical interface, Infozoom should be more efficient
  • A comparative usability study to confirm it

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materials
Materials
  • A database contains 1690 cars with over 20 attributes.
  • The hierarchical interface was implemented with forms in MS Access.

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hierarchical interface 1
Hierarchical interface-1

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hierarchical interface 2
Hierarchical interface-2

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hierarchical interface 3
Hierarchical interface-3

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participants
Participants
  • Totally 26 participants
  • 15 male and 11 female
  • 13 aged 21~30; 9 aged 31~40; one teenager and one over 51
  • 16 use computers over 10h/week; 6 3~9 h/week; 4 less than 2h/week

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tasks
Tasks
  • Find Attribute value for given Object

T1: Does the Jaguar XJR have side airbags?

  • Find Database SubSet Attribute Value

T2: How many different models does the Peugeot class 106 have?

T4: How many cars have the following characteristics:

convertible, 100-150 HP, front drive, and cost 40.000 DM or

less?

  • For given Attribute(s) value(s) Find Object(s)

T3: Which middle class car is the cheapest one in the database?

T6: Which Funcar has the quickest acceleration?

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tasks cont d
Tasks-cont’d
  • Compare Attribute Values for 2 Objects

T5: Which car has better fuel consumption: the Audi A6 1.8 or the Volvo S70 2.0?

  • Find Database Attribute Value

T7: How many cars are in this catalog?

  • Compare Attribute Values for Subset

T8: What is the price range (from the cheapest to the most expensive model) for the Alfa Romeo 145 series?

T9: Is the acceleration of the Mercedes-Benz S430 Automatic slow, normal, or quick for a car of its class?

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procedure
Procedure
  • Introduce the purpose and upcoming tasks briefly
  • 5 minutes demo about Infozoom
  • Introduce 9 tasks. After each task, they answer 3 questions about the satisfaction, perception of the time needed, perceived efficiency
  • Summarizing their experience

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results
Results
  • Accuracy
  • Completion time

AVGIZ = 19.4 min / AVGHI = 27.7 min

  • Navigation

Ease of use: IZ 5.5 / HI 4.9 over 7

Efficiency: IZ 5.0 / HI 4.8

  • Satisfaction

Comfortable: IZ 5.15 / HI 5.23

Fun: IZ 6.3 / HI 5.0

Overall satisfaction: IZ 6.38 / HI 5.38

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completion rate and accuracy
Completion rate and accuracy

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observations
Observations
  • Users’ strategies
  • Critical incidents --- breakdown and things that went especially well
  • Users’ comments

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hierarchical interface
Hierarchical interface
  • Dislike look for desired information from main menu
  • Be lost on pages that looked like
  • Be annoyed by the long pull-down menus and lengthy result pages
  • Be confused about the default values and attributes visible
  • Be inpatient about no car matched

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infozoom interface
Infozoom Interface
  • Feel overload at the first glance
  • Hard to choose appropriate search strategy at the beginning
  • Difficult to double-click on the small sectors if selecting objects on the screen

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conclusion
Conclusion
  • Both EPC’s interfaces were rated highly, but Infozoom was rated higher in overall performance
  • Infozoom supports choice by attribute searching strategy better
  • Infozoom interface has easy learnability

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