You have recently gained employment with a computer consultancy company. Due to your specialist knowledge in the areas of Human Factors and usability, your manager considers that you are the ideal person to undertake an evaluation of a potential client's on-line retail web site and to provide a set of recommendations on how to make the site more efficient, effective and profitable.
- Before commissioning the project the client needs to be persuaded that he should agree to the project as the cost of using your consultancy services has to be considered. (Your company would be charging you out at a daily rate of £650/day.) Your first task is to provide a justification to the client for the costs that would be incurred. Clearly you need to undertake a cost/benefit analysis that will demonstrate to the client that there will be significant benefits and that these will outweigh the costs. This will be approximately 1 - 2 sides of A4
- Having successfully obtained the contract, you should now undertake a critical analysis and evaluation of the following internet site
To undertake the evaluation you will need to provide a usability specification. This will enable you to evaluate the design against a range of criteria. Some particular aspects of the design which you might like to evaluate may include the following:-
The attractiveness of the design
Ease of use and the efficiency and clarity of the interface measured through The time to learn or the time to complete a task
The attractiveness of the interface etc..
The overall utility of the site
You must provide, as a minimum, 10 clear usability goals and a full set of evaluation criteria which you would use in order to check whether the interface met the stated usability goals. The specification must include for each usability goal:-
- the measuring attribute
- the now level
- the planned and minimum levels of acceptance
- a statement of any other conditions which need to be taken into account. (Eg The user groups knowledge of the internet and or expected level of computer skills.)
Having set your usability specification you must then undertake the evaluation of the site and document the results. You must clearly show which type of evaluation you have carried out. (Eg, Observe and record users carrying out specific tasks, questionnaire to survey users attitudes towards the system).
You must provide clear documentary evidence that demonstrates that an evaluation has been undertaken. This might include, for example, a set of heuristics which were used, details of the task scenarios that were set and the results you obtained re user performance against your usability specifications or a questionnaire and the results of the user survey. (NB For the purpose of this exercise, 5 users will be sufficient.)
3 Provide a critical evaluation of the site in the light of your evaluation. In this section you should focus specifically on the key human factors elements that the design has or has not addressed. For example, physical and psychological factors. When completing this task clearly identify which aspects of the interface were good and which were bad making clear reference to how the general principles of interface design, particularly with respect to the design of web based systems, were being or were not being applied in the design of this system.
4 Use an appropriate high or low fidelity prototyping technique, for example, storyboarding, to enable you to give an indication to the client how you plan to modify the design to improve the usability of the interface. You must clearly explain which Human Factor and interface design principles you are adopting to justify your design decisions. You can also justify the need for the proposed modifications by making references to the results that you obtained in the evaluation that you undertook. Finally, provide a summary of the key recommendations you would make on how the site could be improved.