Usability Evaluation of Design | Information Technology

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Usability evaluation of design

Usability is a scope to which system allows users in a given context of use to accomplish specific goals efficiently while promoting the feeling of satisfaction. Usability evaluation comprises of methodologies to measure the usability concept of interface and determine particular problems. This is a crucial part of complete interface design that contains iterative cycles of design, evaluation and prototyping.

Concept of usability

The usability concept is defined in different ways, based on the following considerations:

  • Semantics: This is the case where usability is compared with terms like user-friendliness and ease of use
  • Features: In this case, usability is compared to the presence or absence of specific attributes in a user interface like menus, icons or pointing devices.

Usability techniques

  • Cognitive walkthrough: To evaluating the usability level for an interface, one or more usability professionals walk across a set of typical user activities supported by an interface, one step at a specific time.
  • Focus groups: Focus groups are effectively used as an evaluative tool instead of generative one. Moderator facilitates a group of 4-8 participants by demonstrating a concept or product. Human factor engineers play the responsibility of moderate who requires preparing a list of issues to be summarised.
  • One to one interview: Structure and one-to-one interview assist researcher to learn about the beliefs and attitudes of users surrounding the application and particular tasks it supports.
  • Participatory design: Participatory design engages end users and stakeholders in the process of solving design issues.
  • Usability testing: Usability testing is an optimum technique for understanding how user experience on website or applications. A well-developed user test measures the actual performance of the mission-critical
  • Surveys: Survey is the best technique to gather qualitative data about opinions of users associated with the application.
  • Coaching method: In this method, participants are enabling to enquire any associated system questions of a professional coach who will answer best of his potential. The prime aim of this methodology is to discover the information requirements of users for providing better documentation and training.
  • Interviews: Human factor engineers develop questions regarding the product by type of concerns of interest. In this evaluation interview, interviewer reads the asks questions to user and interviewer saves that responses.
  • Thinking aloud protocol: Test users are enquired to verbalise the feelings, opinions and thoughts while interacting with the system. It is an essential technique for capturing a huge range of cognitive tasks. This specific technique involves when the task is complicated making it hard for the user to think aloud while undertaking tasks at same time.

Commonly used evaluation technique

Heuristic evaluation:

The common informal technique used is defined as beneath:

  • They monitor every dialogue component to determine if they follow usability principle or not
  • Evaluator goes through every dialogue component multiple times and compares it with several usability principles
  • In the end, different evaluators can interact and share the findings

Benefits of using this technique

  • Effective determination of major and minor issues
  • This technique can be involved throughout the complete development process
  • Usability early in the process of development

Limitations of this technique

  • Cannot determine or allow for unknown requirements of users
  • Disassociation from end users
  • HE does not evaluate the complete design because there is no technique to assure that complete design is being explored.

Heuristic rules and guidelines

Heuristic rules servers various objectives:

  • Guide designer in the designing process
  • Guide evaluators to identify issues in the user interface
  • Describe observed usability issues

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