Increasing Student Success with your Web Site Jerilyn Veldof University of Minnesota Twin Cities California Digital Library- 2001
My Background • Web Redesign Projects • U of AZ’s homepage - ‘96-97 • White Paper www.library.arizona.edu/users/jveldof/webdev.htm • U of AZ Library’s web gateway- ‘95, ‘97-’98 • U of MN’s web gateway - ‘99-00 • U of MN’s online tutorial - ‘98-? • FAQ, help pages, pathfinders, other pages... • Article & Presentations • Journal of Library Administration - vol 26, no. 3/4 (1999): 115-140 • Internet Reference Services Quarterly - pending
Day Overview • Morning • Overview Lecture • Demonstration of a Usability Test • Begin creating a usability test • Afternoon • Prepare to administer usability test • Conduct a trial mini-test • Analyze results
Poor design --> usually due to the designers / developers who didn’t know something they should have known. They needed more information about the user or the way the user interacts with the product.
“Know thy user, for they are not you.” Dick Miller IT Solutions Specialist Hewitt Packard
Goals for a User-Centered Design 1- Create a useful site that enables users to achieve their particular goals and that meets their needs. 2- Create an easy-to-use site that enables users to move quickly and with few errors. 3 -Create a site that users like. Users are more likely to perform well on a product that provides satisfaction.
User-Centered Design is an Iterative Process • Test… rebuild… test… rebuild… test… tweek….test….tweek…. • With 3-4 iterations most design problems can be identified
Pop Quiz! • 1- What characterizes a library-centered design? • a) it’s PACKED with information • b) the link to indexes just says “indexes” • c) WE like it just fine • d) Hey, it’s all we had time for! • e) All of the above
Pop Quiz! • 2- What characterizes a user-centered design? • a) It’s simple • b) The 15 year old next door could find if we owned Sports Illustrated on it. • c) You’ve tested it on your real users • d) Your real users have illustrated to you that it’s usable! • e) All of the above
Usability Methodshttp://www.infodesign.com.au/Usability/toolkit.htmlhttp://www.best.com/~jthom/usability/ • Higher $$ / • More Accurate • Usability testing • Focus groups • Group testing • Surveys • Lower $$ / • Less Accurate • Paper prototyping • Cognitive walk-throughs • Heuristic evaluation • Card-sorting • Matching test or icon intuitiveness evaluation • Field tests
Focus Groups • Know your users, their goals, and how they see their world…. • Understand their content requirements. • Understand their goals in using your site. • Feedback on projects and current products
Identifying User Goals • focus groups • surveys • your experience
Card Sorting • Used when trying to categorize and sort information • Also useful in determining terminology
Card Sorting 1- Provide users with 3x5 cards with one option you want to have on your web site 2- Ask users to sort into related piles and provide a label/explanation 3- Ask users to sort the piles into “super” piles and provide label
Heuristic Evaluations / Cognitive Walk-thrus • Each team member represents a user • what does this user want to accomplish today? • Why does this person come to school? • What motivates this person? • What’s important to this person? • What does this person value?
Heuristics Evaluations/ Cognitive Walk-thrus • Heuristic Evaluations • Rules of thumb - principles you will adhere to in your design • Do it individually, then discuss • Identify design changes • Fix them! • Cognitive Walk-thrus • Anticipate problems before bringing your users in • Envision the users’ route on their way to complete a task in your web site • Walk thru this route & ID potential problems • Fix them!
Methods to Achieve Usability • Higher $$ / • More Accurate • Formal usability testing • Low-fidelity testing (e.g. paper prototyping) • Focus groups • Group testing • Surveys • Lower $$ / • Less Accurate • Cognitive/design walk- throughs • Heuristic evaluation • Card-sorting • Matching test or icon intuitiveness evaluation • Field tests
Usability Testing • Observing a handful of users and seeing where they run into trouble. (Nielsen) • Don’t wait until you’re practically done! • Start usability testing at the front end. • Indispensable to our design.
Usability Testing 1- Identify tasks • create forms • test your test! 2- Build a post test questionnaire (optional) 3- Train your test monitors
Usability Testing 4- Recruit your users - 4-8 users - with 4 participants you can identify 75% of the major user interface problems (Nielsen) - law of diminishing returns 5- Guide users to think aloud 6- Administer post-test questionnaire
Usability Testing Who participates? • User (provide incentives) • Test Monitor / Path recorder • Recorder • Other observers * Get all your team members to participate in testing
Conducting Usability Tests See “Tips for Conducting Usability Tests” • Listen • Don’t lead the user • Ask neutral questions • Do not blame the user • Instead, feed back what the user did.
Usability Demo Roles in a usability test • Participant - need volunteer “Freshman” • Test Monitor - this is me • Path Recorder - this is YOU! • Recorder - we don’t have one • Observers - all of you Go to ARL
Usability Testing • Debrief right after tests -- Do not wait! • Try mini-tests • - including on other web sites (don’t recycle others’ errors!) • Try simultaneous testing
Usability Testing PROS • Determines exactly what problem is • Helps resolve disagreements about design by providing distance to product • Provides user-centered “data” for responding to outside requests • CONS • Small sample size • Risky - always put feedback in context of larger picture of what you know
Doing Your Own Testing • Cultural / institutional differences • Cultural / institutional work processes
Questions? Discussion? Time for a Break?