Chapter 13: Introducing Evaluation

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The websites associated with chapters 13-15 provide additional examples of HCI evaluations to help introduce you to the topic, techniques and overviews developed by practitioners and educators. Some contain examples, others provide descriptions of methods or links to case studies, and some contain discussions about topical issues. Reading them will help you to gain an appreciation of what experts in the field are thinking about. For example, http://www.hcibib.org/ Gary Perlman’s HCI Bibliography provides an excellent selection of links to journal and conference publications, weblogs, developer resources and a variety of new and other articles that discuss HCI evaluation. One of the links on this site is http://www.usabilityfirst.com/glossary/ which you will find useful for checking definitions when you read articles about evaluation.

Several of the sites mentioned below have been active for a number of years, so as well as reading reports about the usability of new devices and applications such as the latest smartphones and apps that run on them, virtual reality devices such as Occulus VR headsets, Microsoft’s hololens Twitter, Vine, Instagram and other social networking sites, and pros and cons of cloud computing, you can also check back to see what was hot 10 or 15 years ago. Jakob Nielsen’s site, Bruce Tognazzini’s site and those of some of the Universities, e.g., HCIL at the University of Maryland - http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/, and the HCII at Carnegie Mellon University - http://www.hcii.cmu.edu/ - provide interesting versions of developments in HCI and interaction design and the technology trends that helped to encourage these developments.

http://www.nngroup.com is the Nielsen Norman group's site, which contains FAQs and discussions of many topical issues which are updated frequently. The Nielsen Norman Group also reports about usability issues for specific populations and other topics. For example, http://www.nngroup.com/reports/kids/ discusses usability for kids; http://www.nngroup.com/reports/teens/ is for teens; and http://www.nngroup.com/reports/seniors/ deals with the needs of older adults. There are also articles that are designed to be fun and provoke you such as http://www.nngroup.com/articles/movies-usability-top-10-bloopers/, in which they present an analysis of the top 10 bloopers that appear in movies in which technology is used. Take a look and see if you agree with him?

http://www.humanfactors.com is a site that contains articles and general information about usability that shows how professionals think and talk about usability testing. You will also find specific material that is relevant to the chapters that follow. A nice feature of this site is that it is international – checkout some of the recent events in Europe and Asia. This site contains examples that are particularly relevant to professionals and those aspiring to work in software development and other companies such as how to make complex systems easy and compelling: http://www.humanfactors.com/project/index.asp

http://www.asktog.com/ Bruce Tognazzini's site provides thoughtful commentary on an eclectic range of topics. Read it to broaden your understanding of key issues. There is a particularly useful section on first principles for interaction design that has recently been expanded: http://asktog.com/atc/principles-of-interaction-design/ Take a look and see if you agree?

http://usableweb.com This site was created by Keith Instone. It provides many links to sites that deal with different aspects of web usability. There are links to guidelines, examples of poor design and other information that will help you to select which methods to use in your own evaluations. http://usableweb.com/topics/000862-0-0.html provides an alternative way of classifying evaluation methods, so is particularly relevant to this chapter.

http://www.usabilitysciences.com/ This company’s website provides some different ways of classifying usability methods: according to when they are used in the product development life-cycle; according to whether they are lab-based, focus groups or in the field etc.; and according to the type of product being tested.

To gain a perspective of usability issues across the world see the work of the following researchers and their colleagues. As you look at these sites examine the designs, and look for explanations about the decisions that they made. Also look for their evaluation reports.

http://www.universalusability.com/index.html Sarah Horton’s website is a valuable resource for everyone, particularly those who are eager to make computer products universally usable. She even generously provides her whole book online http://www.universalusability.com/access_by_design/index.html. Think about the issues she raises and think about how you would evaluate designs that follow her guidelines. http://ron.taglab.ca provides the home page for Professor Ron Baecker, University of Toronto, with several links to technology that supports aging and other interesting topics.

These are just a few of the many interesting websites that you can find to supplement the discussion in our book.

In addition to these topics there are some tools for analyzing web activities that have become more well known since we wrote the third edition of our book. One of the best known examples for doing web analytics is provided by Google – Google analytics - http://www.google.com/analytics/

We also discuss techniques for crowdsourcing usability testing using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome http://www.webperformancematters.com/journal/2005/10/17/web-usability-a-simple-framework.html Web Performance Matters focuses on four main issues:
  • Availability: A site that's unreachable, for any reason, is useless.
  • Responsiveness: Having reached the site, pages that download slowly are likely to drive customers to try an alternate site.
  • Clarity: If the site is sufficiently responsive to keep the customer's attention, other design qualities come into play. It must be simple and natural to use – easy to learn, predictable, and consistent.
  • Utility: Last comes utility -- does the site actually deliver the information or service the customer was looking for in the first place?