Interactive system & its users
HCI (Human Computer Interface) has proved itself to be one of the most innovative technological advancement of the current era. HCI has adopted many different mode and one of them is the HWI (Human Website Interaction). The objective of the deemed report is to evaluate two e-commerce website. To attain the discussed objective, the paper has considered argos.co.uk & rakuten.com as its subject. Both of the subjects are e-commerce shopping websites however, there offerings are mostly similar to each other.
The reason for selecting websites with same offering lays on the fact that it will be a justifiable competition. While the first subject (Argos), has its focus on general requirements of day to day life such as clothing, home appliances & decorative for all age groups. On the contrary, the second subject is popular for its gaming & relevant offering, even though it offers all the needed services such as clothing, electronics and others. Argos is popular among a mass group of shoppers while Rakuten gains its most of the traffic from the game & electronics lovers. The report will evaluate & compare the usability, functionality, visibility, interface and other crucial factors of the websites.The use case diagram above has showed the process of signup to the order shipment of a general online e-commerce website. The process starts with the customer signing up to the online shopping which is verified and update in the database by the administrator. After which the customer scans & selects the item and on getting confirmed about the availability of the item (which is done by the inventory system) they proceed to the payment option where they select the mode of payment. After confirmation from accounts department the order is shipped and the customer gets the confirmation.
Outline : There are various methods for evaluating a website and one of them is Cognitive walkthrough (CW) method. It has emerged as one of the favourite evaluation methodology for the evaluators. The reason for the popularity that the user enjoys lays basis on the simplicity to complex tasks offered by the system. The evaluator in the discussed methodology evaluates the system from a user’s perspective by answering a set of questions that has been designed to understand the functionality, usability, visibility and interface of the system. The following sections and paragraphs offers an insight into the discussed methodology and how the evaluation method works.
The first step of the deemed evaluation process starts with the perception of the evaluator who explains his perspective on visiting the website for the first. As the evaluator is aware of the technical aspects of the website hence, he/she/they judges the website theoretically and explains their thought. The author perception is not part of the evaluation but it is done to develop a platform for the real evaluation process. The perception of the author is taken in consideration to develop the questions that need to be answered from the perspective of a first time user.
The questions that the user answers from the perspective of the user are associated with four factor. The four factors that formulates the base of the questions in the cognitive walkthrough evaluation method are visibility, usability, interface and functionality. The visibility factors discuss the answer to the question of whether or not the options are readily visible to the first time user. The usability discusses whether or not the evaluated system is offering the options that the user desires from the interactive system while the interface decides the comfort that the user enjoys. Finally, the functionality discusses the response from the available options, are they effective or random.
The question based on the above discussion and the purpose of the report would be as follows:
- Which system offers a clearer and precise visibility to its visitors?
- Which of the subject is more structured in the usability department?
- Which of the two websites offers more enjoyable interface to the users?
- Which of the two discussed system have a clearer and more precisely defined functionality?
The questions are designed as such because in the discussed report two system are being evaluated and hence the former are designed to take both the subjects in consideration by evaluating them individually on the cognitive factors and then compare them to summarise the results.
The discussed evaluation method is adopted because of the significant benefit offered by it. The most prominent benefit offered by the cognitive walkthrough evaluation method is that it offers very little chance of developing any ethical issue as the data from the evaluation cannot be manipulated. Additionally, the method not only evaluates the challenges but also offers remedial measures for it. Another significant benefit from the system is inexpensiveness and quick evaluation while taking explicit consideration of the user’s work. The selection of the evaluation method is based on the benefits offered by the methods as discussed above and on the fact that the discussed method is readily achievable for an evaluator which even offers reliable results.
Evaluator’s Perception: The first step of the evaluation process is the first perception of the evaluator after he/she/they visit the website for the first time. The subjects of the paper are argos.co.uk & rakuten.com and the first perception of the author has been produced in the following paragraphs.
NOTE: All the images attached in the assignment has been collected from the official websites of argos and rakuten.
Argos.co.uk is an online shopping website that offers multiple offerings from clothing to fooding and others. On reviewing the website over different online reviewing cites it was determined that the discussed website is one of the most preferred choice of shopping for the online shoppers. Discussing about the design the website is very well-decorated and the structured. The options available on the site are well placed and are responsive as well. However, the most vital part of the website as determined by the author is its search option and algorithm.
The search algorithm cites the most suitable results when a keyword is typed. Additionally, in case the keywords typed is wrong or have some grammatically error then also, the most similar results for the typed keyword are provided. The usability, visibility and functionality of the website are also good and one of another notable fact about the website is that it had options which drifts the user to their supply-chain or sister websites depending on the selection of the user. The website is even designed to be responsive & dynamic. The capability of the website to support keyboard makes it even suitable for the blind & low mobility users. The images below show the first screen of the website where the search option along with the visibility of other options can be witnesses and the option that shows the external stakeholders (supply chain associates) of the organisationRakuten.com just like its co-subject is an online shopping website which started as a games and magazines platform for the users. Play.com was one of the most popular gaming and entertainment websites in the country which was latter brought by rakuten.com of Japan and came to be known as rakuten. Latter, the rakuten stepped in commercial offering and in current scenario is emerging as one of the favourite destination for the users. It has a well-organised website which is following a library format where different sections are available to offer different options. The looks of the website are simple and catchy for most of the people. The usability and functionality of the website are also good, however, the library formatting makes its visibility very good. Though, the search algorithm of the website is not up to the standard of its co-subject. The website is also good for low-mobility & blind users because of it support keyboard. Additionally, the responsiveness & dynamicity of the website is also good because it responses according to the device. The image attached below cites the first screen, search error and the library formatting of the websites.A notable fact about the human perception is that whenever they meet a person, visit a place or operate a system, the first perception is formulated based on the look and visibility of their desired output and hence, the first question of evaluation is the visibility of options offered by the subjects.
argos.co.uk has followed a generalised slide down structure for the options. The core sections offered by the website are visible on screen while the moving the cursor over the option slides downwards to show the subsections. The search bar is also visible at the top of the first screen mitigating the effort invested by the user to identify the offerings of the organisation. The consumer attracting offerings also keeps flashing on the screen forcing the visitor to investigate more into the website. Another notable fact about the website is that it does not flashes any advertisement that generally causes interruption of visibility for the users. So, over all the website’s visibility can be considered of excellent quality.
rakuten.com, has maintained a library structured format to section its options. The library format is good for frequent users, however, the first time users may find it difficult. Additionally, the option sections are further divided in sub-sections which can prove to be frustrating for the first time users. Additionally, the website has few advertisements flashing on screen which can obstruct the view of the user and can play prominent role in formulating their perception. Hence, it can be stated that the visibility of the website is not good for the first time user’s perception. The image below shows the advertisement flashing in the website.The usability of an interactive system means how are the user gets the response to the input offered by them. It can be associated with the speed, visibility of options, responsiveness, update on the progress of the desired results keyboard support, payment process or directing the users to the links that are available on the website and others. It will formulate the response of the user and influence their use of the interactive system.
argos.co.uk has designed the website to be customer friendly and hence, have included all the essentials of a website from responsiveness to dynamic and keyboard support along with other much needed essentials. The update of the progress is also evident on the website through a motion emoji. The website also works adequately in a low connectivity mode and can satisfy the users from the results. As stated above the search algorithm of the website is also excellent which makes the usability of the website very suitable. Hence, in conclusion it can be stated that the usability of the website can be categorised in good category.
rakuten.com has its origin rooted to the Japan and took over play.com which was one of the most appreciated website and hence, the usability of the website is great. It supports all the essentials of a good interactive website. However, a drawback has been identified and it is associated with the low connectivity. The website demands high connectivity rate and can cite error response if the connectivity is not up to the standard of the website. Overall, the usability of the website is good though, a ‘basic html’ version of the site can be of great effectiveness.
Which of the two discussed system have a clearer and more precisely defined functionality?
The functionality of the interactive system in the deemed scenario will compare the response that the user gets and the response they desire, that is it will be evaluated that the available option avails suitable output to the input.
argos.co.uk did offers suitable response to the input when searched for an item. The evaluator even attempted to purchase a product and it seemed to be successful. Additionally, when searched for an item, in the search tab, the outputs were accurate and adequate. Though, it should be noted that the payment modes available at the bottom of the websites are attached for no use because when touched they do not offer any details or takes the user to the checkout step.
rakuten.com on the contrary to its counterpart has limited options available on the website but has attached only the options that are feasible. The library formatting of the sections may be time-consuming but offers suitable response to the input. The search options also offer suitable response to the input though its predictive nature is limited that is in case the user enters wrong keyword then the system cites no results. The system is capable of predicting but to a limited capacity.
Which of the two websites offers more enjoyable interface to the users?
The interface of an interactive system defines the comfort that the user enjoys while using the systems.
argos.co.uk has an interesting interface which offers comfort to the users. The chat and the search options enhances the interaction between the user and the system while adequately placed options also make it comfortable. However, the slide down nature of sections cites problem at times because whenever, the cursor is moved above a section it automatically slides down blocking the view of the options below.
rakuten.com unlike argos, have a library sectioning which would not appear unless touched manually and hence does not obstruct the view of the user. The responses of the options are also efficient. Another notable fact is that the purchase to payment process of the system is more comfortable than its co-subject. Hence, it can be stated that the interaction of rakuten is excellent.
Findings & summary:
The evaluation above has revealed that both the considered interactive systems have their share of strength and weaknesses while, argos is leading in the visibility and usability, rakuten has maintained the advantage in functionality and interaction. However, considering the overall factors together it can be stated that argos leads than rakuten. The reason for stating the above mentioned fact lays basis on the fact that the evaluation reveals that the errors identified in argos are much smaller as compared to that of rakuten.
The identified weaknesses that argos should improve are relevant to its automated slide down nature of the sectioning and use of not so useful onscreen options, however it cannot be considered as an obsolete weakness because the discussed feature is desirable for some users. On, the contrary, the availability of the unnecessary options like that of the payment mode details can be easily resolved by adding adequate details to those options. Hence, it can be stated that argos is in need of improvement but those changes can readily be managed to offer an appropriate & satisfactory result to the user.
On the contrary, rakuten has been identified with some significant challenges that are in dire need of attention and can cause some serious trouble for the user. The first and foremost of the challenges of the website is the limited predictive nature of the search algorithm. It can be enhanced to offer more reliable results for the wrong keyword entered by the user. Additionally, the discussed system also does not offer connectivity ease in a low connectivity mode which is cannot be considered as a problem, however, if the organisation devises a strategy to mitigate the challenge, it will offer more reliability to the website.
Hence, the report can be emphasised to state that both the subjects of the paper are adequate in their own perspective while argos leads in general, rakuten has its share of advantages. The strength of the rakuten are its library sectioning which is preferred by the frequent users and its fast processing of the purchase to payment process. Additionally, with improvement in the search option, rakuten can prove to be a more preferred website by the users. Additionally, the findings from above have enabled the evaluator to understand the concept of an interactive system and evaluate it depending upon the user’s perception. Hence, in conclusion it can be stated that the website or any interactive system should be developed by taking consideration of the comfort that the user will enjoy. Another notable consideration should be the fact that human tends to make errors and the system should be capable of auto-solving the problems.
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