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This assignment addresses the Learning Outcomes from the module syllabus:

  1. Evaluate an interactive product and report findings in an appropriate way
  2. Select and defend appropriate evaluation methods for a particular situation

If you submit work late and unauthorised, a universal penalty will be applied in relation to your work:

  • If you submit work within 5 working days following the published submission date you will obtain the minimum pass mark for that element of assessment.
  • Work submitted later than 5 working days after the published submission date will be awarded a mark of 0% for that element of assessment.
  • Unauthorised late submission at resubmission will automatically be awarded a mark of 0% for that element of assessment.

Set Goals for the Evaluation

Heuristic Evaluation Method is a process that involves the evaluation of a website with the help of experienced and expert evaluators who goes through the website rigorously to check on the User Interface and reports on the standards of the website usability (Nascimento et al., 2016). This clarifies the issues in the usability of a website. In addition, this also helps in modifying the problems that the evaluators have experienced while using the website to help remodeling it according to proper standards. The proper method for this is to list all the findings acquired by the evaluation process by groups. It also means that there is more than one, in some cases numerous evaluators involved in the process that helps in bringing out the issues that may have been overlooked before. The following report would include the evaluation of the website for Gates N Fences that is https://www.gatesnfences.com/ by Heuristic Method. The process would include the user-end experiences in details with the requirement for further modifications. Any forms that have been used in this used in this purpose have also been listed. The evaluation would have the appendices documents of website with the important forms generated by the data collection processes of consent forms, data gathering, risk assessment, instructions for evaluators and full results. This would help in the proper UI evaluation of the website for Gates N Fences by Heuristic Method.

There are some specific set goals for the evaluation of the website for Gates N Fences by Heuristic Method. The first and foremost set procedure for the evaluation is the rigorous surfing through the User Interface of the website to check the smooth functionalities. This should be done many a number of times (Myers & Stylos, 2016). This experiences need to be recorded by the evaluators to list the issues or usability advantages throughout the entire website for all the web pages listed in the website altogether.

It is required that entire aspects of the website are checked thoroughly as the Heuristic Evaluation of any website depends on all the aspects of the website with respect to usability freedom and smoothness. For this, an evaluation panel comprising of 5 people have been chosen who would perform consistency for the images used in the websites with their placement and their border alignments including the fonts used for the website (Jaferian et al., 2014). In addition to this, the content and the images used in the website must be checked for their relevance in the specific places for the website. This must be done as consistency levels are a priority for any website under evaluation process. After this, redirection of one webpage to another in the website needs proper checking; otherwise the quality and standards of the website would not be properly justified (Fung et al., 2016). Unswerving user experience would also be a part of the process that would require thorough checking of the borders, padding and margins used. The ease of use of the website would be then made sure from the user end with these methods combined.

Methodology for Evaluation

The website for the organization Gates N Fences has been evaluated in this report as the product website. The website can be found at the URL https://www.gatesnfences.com/. The Heuristic evaluation method would have the following methodologies under inspection with the help of these 5 evaluators:

  • The System Status Visibility
  • Similarity with Real World
  • User Control and Freedom
  • Consistency and Standards
  • Prevention of Errors
  • Recognition before recall
  • User flexibility
  • Minimalist design and Aesthetic
  • Fast recovery from errors
  • Proper Documentation

As far as the findings have been confirmed, the website of Gates N Fences has a poor User Interface that should be revamped if the organization needs to be benefitted. The suggestion of the evaluators has been about the website remodelling with more subtlety and graphical use of icons and pictures (Paf et al., 2016). The website should have been primarily developed in a consistent form keeping all the aspects of proper website creation in mind including website image, colour coding and font. The website is recommended to be made more agile with the help of synchronizing of the backgrounds and the pictures. The website should have emergency exit options to exit the system while in use for adverse purposes (Geng & Tian, 2015). In addition, the agility of the website should be enlisted with flexibility of use. The contexts and contents of the website is advised to be kept at minimum and compact along with the addition of a section called FAQs that would allow the visitors to ask questions about the website, products, inconveniences or the organizations while surfing the website.

The findings have suggested that there are few risks associated with the Heuristic evaluation as described as below:

  • Connectivity problems of network might be faced.
  • Incompatibility of the website with that of the connecting devices may be found.
  • Biased perspectives of an evaluator can be seen (Hasan, 2014).

Evaluation Method: The data gathering method for the Heuristic Website Evaluation for Gates N Fences have been done following a set of stages. This can be depicted with the help of the stage cycle as below:

Figure 1: EVALUATION METHOD

(Source: Created by Author with SmartArt)

Proportion of Aggregation of problems found: There are presence of problems in the website as found by the evaluators. The charts that were presented to the evaluators followed a specific format, which contained the Heuristics evaluated in from the website. The following is the table that was presented to the evaluators:

Problem found (write a single problem in the space)

Heuristic(s) violated

How was it found:

Task

Website is poorly designed in terms of navigation, and content display

8

 

Website is easy to navigate

 

Content Understanding

 

Searching data

 

Entering data

There is no proper redirection process and the images are not clear. Website is not professional

10

 

Display of content

 

Understanding the content

 

Professionalism maintained

 

Error in navigation

Table 1: Heuristic Evaluation

(Source: Created by the Author)

The same Heuristic Evaluation paper containing the chart was given to all the participating evaluators and they were asked to fill out the form while going through the website for Gates N Fences.

The aggregated evaluation would be represented by the chart taken as a whole as below. The markings are given following the Nielsen Heuristic Evaluation scoring out of 0 to 4 with the evaluation process being conducted by five evaluators and with the severity ratings described for the ease of the participants:

Findings and Recommendations

Scores:

0 = No usability issues found

1 = Cosmetic issues in usability, no need of fixing unless the developers have time

2 = Minor issues in usability, may be avoided

3 = Major issues in usability, highest priority required

4 = Major catastrophe, without fixing the issues the website cannot be launched

Problems

Frequency

Severity rating

Navigation issues

8

3

Problem in understanding content

4

2

Problem in searching data

5

4

Problem in entering data

3

3

Issues in content display

7

4

Problem in consistency

10

4

Professionalism not maintained

6

3

Navigation errors

2

1

Table 2: Task Severity Ratings

(Source: Created by Author)

Evaluations merged: In the next stage of the Heuristic evaluation, the different evaluations of the participants were merged and an aggregated list was prepared for the problems found, heuristics evaluated and the severity ratings.

How was it found

Severity Rating

Task

Location

 

Website is easy to navigate

All pages

3

 

Content Understanding

https://www.gatesnfences.com/Aluminum_Driveway_Gates_3.html

2

 

Searching data

All pages

4

 

Entering data

All pages

3

 

Display of content

https://www.gatesnfences.com/Gate_Opener_RamSet_30_30-30_300_3000_3100_3200_50_100-1000_5000_5100_5200_5500.html

4

 

Professionalism maintained

All pages

3

 

Error in navigation

Pages displaying items

1

Table 3: Merged Evaluations

(Source: Created by Author)

The evaluators or the participants have been instructed through an Instruction sheet as below:

Instructions to the participants

Note: We gladly welcome out participants who are here to share their insights on the Heuristic Evaluation for the website of Gates N Fences. This is to check the Heuristics of the website to find out if the website is professional enough to grab the target market through their website or not.

Total Time taken for the evaluation process: 1 Hour

General Instruction:

The participants are to follow the steps as below:

1. The Heuristic Evaluation paper provided to you would have few tasks for you to perform with the website. Go through them and perform the tasks accordingly.

2. Repeat every task within the given time as much as possible.

3. Perform general browsing as well other than the tasks provided in the checklist.

4. Note down every issue found in the evaluation process and accordingly update the scores in the paper.

Disciplinary instructions:

1. The participants should not perform any irrelevant task during the process

2. Provide proper evaluator information

3. Use understandable language

4. Do not be biased while the evaluation process

5. Include version and date of each document

6. Report any problem during evaluation process immediately to the authorities

7. Fill out as many as forms while evaluation for proper testing

Form 1: Participant Instruction Sheet

(Source: created by Author)

After the Heuristic Assessment of the website for Gates N Fences it has been assessed as a whole that the website for Gates N Fences offers a poor User Interface for its visitors and has a complicated website from the user end (Paf et al., 2015). This result has been found on account of the various faults and inconsistencies found all over the website. The inconsistencies have been noticed all over the website with incompatible backgrounds, images, colours and fonts. There is lack of aesthetic design and minimalist approach in the website development as every content of the website is found to be too descriptive (Pant, 2015). The evaluators have also noticed while the Heuristic UI Evaluation of the website that the website contains many overlapping of contents and images and inconsistent redirections from one page to another (Díaz, Rusu & Collazos, 2017). While the evaluation process, it was found right at the first appearance that the website is too clustered with a lot of information (Paf et al., 2014). The webpage has the company name and contact information at the top-right corner. Right at this point of time as well the website looks uninteresting and overlapped since there is no proper alignment and the background gets overlapped in the text. The fonts in the website used are also inconsistent as they appear different in every other redirected page (Maguire & Isherwood, 2018). The overview of the company in the homepage is also inconsistent (Zahran et al., 2014). It would have been better if after that there had been a product overview and the services provided by them. The ideal product overview should end with contact information about the company authorities in case of any further assistance and reporting any inconveniences.

Risks Associated with Heuristic Evaluation

The evaluation also pointed out the fact that the font alignment, the padding, font and font colours are also inconsistent when compared with the total website. The information about the company appears twice in the webpage, once at the top-left and once on the extreme bottom of the screen, which is unnecessary. Any of the two could have been better but the presence of both the information is irrelevant. Along with this, the not only the product information images are irrelevant, but they are placed poorly in between the content. The homepage has the specification of absolute position with 1300px width and a height of 2263px (Huang & Benyoucef, 2014). The webpage are found to be unappealing to the user eye generally. Inconsistency can be noticed in the product specification boxes as well. The content of the redirections present a confusing appeal since there has been faulty content on the product specifications.

There has been a priority list created based on the evaluation of the participants in finding out the problems in Heuristics. Thus the priority lists for the things to be fixed in the website are listed as below:

  1. Consistency issues
  2. Navigation issues
  3. Data Searching issues
  4. Content issues
  5. Professionalism issues

According to this priority list, the website should be revamped.

The only positive point amongst all these inconsistency and negative feature is the loading of the page, which appears almost instantly, which indicates that the website has been created subtle coding. The loading time is nearly 0.06 seconds (Gates.itcstore.com, 2018). The website however, indicates that the balance between the reality and the website has been maintained. Nevertheless, the absence of images, icon and other attractiveness in the website has made it unappealing in front of the users and poor website designing is also depicted within the website given the clustering and overlapping of images and web content. In some cases, it has also been found that the tab names and the web page names do not synchronize with one another. For example, the product description ‘EMX Loop Detector Access Controls’ do not have the information just about the products of the specific kind. Instead it happens to include the products under the category of ‘EMX probe detectors’ and ‘EMX Photoeye Access Control Systems’ along with other products as well in the same page (Hussain, Mkpojiogu & Kamal, 2016).

In the same page as the EMX Loop Detector, it can be found that the box of a product margin has overlapped the name of a product description (Jimenez et al., 2016). The product thus cannot be detected clearly and the failing of understanding pictures a poor web development. The website offering difficulty in understanding to the users is considered to be of poor content, and so this website also can be considered the same (Bonastre & Granollers, 2014). The evaluators were found to lose interest on the website too soon for its poor aesthetic design and descriptive approach.

It can clearly be seen that the website needs a lot of improvement to fall into the standards of an appealing and top-notch website, which would be achievable by remodelling the website altogether.

Conclusion

Therefore, it can be concluded from the Heuristic evaluation of the website https://www.gatesnfences.com/ for the organization Gates N Fences that the website does not offer a pleasant User Interface experience to the person surfing through the website. The evaluation has been done with a group of specialist evaluators under complete control of the assessed risk with numerous surfing of the website. The results that have been created by the process involving The System Status Visibility, Similarity with Real World, User Control and Freedom, Consistency and Standards, Prevention of Errors, Recognition before recall, User flexibility, Minimalist design and Aesthetic, Fast recovery from errors and Proper Documentation. The evaluation had documents of website with the important forms generated by the data collection processes of consent forms, data gathering, risk assessment, instructions for evaluators and full results. This helped in the proper UI evaluation of the website for Gates N Fences by Heuristic Method. The marks that the evaluators have allotted through the rigorous checking of the entire website has resulted to the conclusion that the website is not at all up to the mark and should be remodeled and redeveloped again according to the standards of a proper appealing website.

References

Bonastre, L., & Granollers, T. (2014, March). A set of heuristics for user experience evaluation in e-commerce websites. In 7th International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, IARIA (pp. 27-34).

Díaz, J., Rusu, C., & Collazos, C. A. (2017). Experimental validation of a set of cultural-oriented usability heuristics: e-Commerce websites evaluation. Computer Standards & Interfaces, 50, 160-178.

Fung, R. H. Y., Chiu, D. K., Ko, E. H., Ho, K. K., & Lo, P. (2016). Heuristic usability evaluation of University of Hong Kong Libraries' mobile website. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(5), 581-594.

Gates.itcstore.com, J. (2018). Gate Openers Gate Operators Driveway Gates Wrought Iron Aluminum Gates. Gatesnfences.com. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from https://www.gatesnfences.com/

Geng, R., & Tian, J. (2015). Improving web navigation usability by comparing actual and anticipated usage. IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 45(1), 84-94.

Hasan, L. (2014). Evaluating the usability of educational websites based on students' preferences of design characteristics. International Arab Journal of e-Technology, 3(3), 179-193.

Huang, Z., & Benyoucef, M. (2014). Usability and credibility of e-government websites. Government Information Quarterly, 31(4), 584-595.

Hussain, A., Mkpojiogu, E. O., & Kamal, F. M. (2016). A systematic review on usability evaluation methods for m-commerce apps. Journal of Telecommunication, Electronic and Computer Engineering (JTEC), 8(10), 29-34.

Jaferian, P., Hawkey, K., Sotirakopoulos, A., Velez-Rojas, M., & Beznosov, K. (2014). Heuristics for evaluating IT security management tools. Human–Computer Interaction, 29(4), 311-350.

Jimenez, C., Lozada, P., & Rosas, P. (2016, September). Usability heuristics: A systematic review. In Computing Conference (CCC), 2016 IEEE 11th Colombian (pp. 1-8). IEEE.

Maguire, M., & Isherwood, P. (2018, July). A Comparison of User Testing and Heuristic Evaluation Methods for Identifying Website Usability Problems. In International Conference of Design, User Experience, and Usability (pp. 429-438). Springer, Cham.

Myers, B. A., & Stylos, J. (2016). Improving API usability. Communications of the ACM, 59(6), 62-69.

Nascimento, I., Silva, W., Lopes, A., Rivero, L., Gadelha, B., Oliveira, E., & Conte, T. (2016). An empirical study to evaluate the feasibility of a UX and usability inspection technique for mobile applications. In 28th International Conference on Software Engineering & Knowledge Engineering, California, USA.

Pant, A. (2015). Usability evaluation of an academic library website: Experience with the Central Science Library, University of Delhi. The Electronic Library, 33(5), 896-915.

Paz, F., & Pow-Sang, J. A. (2015, November). Usability evaluation methods for software development: a systematic mapping review. In Advanced Software Engineering & Its Applications (ASEA), 2015 8th International Conference on(pp. 1-4). IEEE.

Paz, F., & Pow-Sang, J. A. (2016). A systematic mapping review of usability evaluation methods for software development process. International Journal of Software Engineering and Its Applications, 10(1), 165-178.

Paz, F., Paz, F. A., & Pow-Sang, J. A. (2015, August). Experimental case study of new usability heuristics. In International Conference of Design, User Experience, and Usability (pp. 212-223). Springer, Cham.

Paz, F., Paz, F. A., Sánchez, M., Moquillaza, A., & Collantes, L. (2018, July). Quantifying the Usability Through a Variant of the Traditional Heuristic Evaluation Process. In International Conference of Design, User Experience, and Usability (pp. 496-508). Springer, Cham.

Swaid, S., Maat, M., Krishnan, H., Ghoshal, D., & Ramakrishnan, L. (2017, July). Usability Heuristic Evaluation of Scientific Data Analysis and Visualization Tools. In International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (pp. 471-482). Springer, Cham.

Toribio-Guzmán, J. M., García-Holgado, A., Pérez, F. S., García-Peñalvo, F. J., & Martín, M. A. F. (2016, September). Study of the Usability of the Private Social Network SocialNet using Heuristic Evaluation. In Proceedings of the XVII International Conference on Human Computer Interaction (p. 22). ACM.

Tsai, T. H., Chang, H. T., Yu, M. C., Chen, H. T., Kuo, C. Y., & Wu, W. H. (2016, July). Design of a Mobile Augmented Reality Application: An Example of Demonstrated Usability. In International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 198-205). Springer, Cham.

Yáñez Gómez, R., Cascado Caballero, D., & Sevillano, J. L. (2014). Heuristic evaluation on mobile interfaces: A new checklist. The Scientific World Journal, 2014.

Zahran, D. I., Al-Nuaim, H. A., Rutter, M. J., & Benyon, D. (2014). A comparative approach to web evaluation and website evaluation methods. International Journal of Public Information Systems, 10(1).

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