Usability of a system is one of the most significant system qualities. It is one of the prime user expectations and non-function requirement that shall be included in the site. The document covers the usability principles that shall be followed in association with web sites and web applications. Also, there are various heuristic principles that have been provided by the designers and technocrats all across the globe. Two of such user interface design principles have been analyzed, compared and contrasted in the report. A review of a web site as per these heuristic principles has also been carried out.
Usability of a website or an application is the ease of the usage of the same. There are usability principles that have been designed in order to improve the usability of the web sites. The usability of the web site shall target the learn-ability of the user to make sure that the users get an initial understanding on the usage of the site. Learn-ability shall include the elements of predictability and synthesizability to predict the next steps and evaluate the impact of previous step on the upcoming processes (Lewis, 1994). There shall also be a familiar feel from the real-world included in the site. Flexibility is another parameter that shall be included on the site to allow the users to perform various tasks at once with the involvement of multi-threading. Migrat-ability of the tasks shall also be ensures such that substitution and robustness are maintained. Users shall be able to recognize the errors and shall also understand the steps to recover from an erroneous situation. Ability to customize the options as per the liking and preferences shall also be provided on the site. As per the guidelines specified in the usability principle, unnecessary and over usage of the graphics must be avoided (Levi & Conrad, 2011). The practice will result in the reduction of the page load time. Also, the main options and choices that are offered by the website shall be clearly visible to the user at the first glance itself. Error messages shall also be included and shall be displayed if a user makes an incorrect selection or activity on the site. There shall also be no dead ends on the web site in the form of broken links or recurring loops and likewise. Content that is put up on the web site is the main asset of the site and shall be distributed correctly across the web pages. Also, formatting of the content the UI components must be done in a manner such that there are no overlaps and unnecessary whitespaces. If there are processes included on the site that require an enhanced response time, the users shall be provided with a feedback meanwhile to keep them engaged. Consistency is one of the prime necessities of the web sites and the web applications and shall be maintained across all the web pages in terms of layout, color scheme and likewise (Kandababu, 2011).
Jakob Nielsen and Ben Shneiderman have provided the principles for enhancing the user interface design of an application.
Consistency of the design is a common principle that has been included by both the authors. The design shall reflect consistency in terms of the layout, actions, and color schemes and likewise. Error handling is another parameter that has been included by Jakob as well as Shneiderman to make sure that the users understand the nature of errors and take measures for the prevention and control associated (Jacobsen, 2017) with the same. Flexibility is one of the major aspects of a site that has also been covered by both the authors in the form of ease of usage and reversal of actions. User control is another aspect of the site that has been suggested in both the heuristic principles to allow the users with the freedom and control to use the site. Minimization of the memory load to increase the response time as per the design of the user interface has been encouraged as per both the heuristic principles (Nielsen, 2017).
Jakob has given importance to the connection of the design with the real-world that goes missing in the other principle. Also, Jakob has laid focus upon the features such as assistance, help and support in the application in the form of documentation or use of plain and easy terms to allow the users to seek assistance in case of difficulty. Shneiderman has included the use of shortcuts for the frequent users as one of the required parameters that shall be provided to the users which is not included in the other set of principles. Another aspect that has been included is the design dialog in order to yield closure (Shneiderman's, 2017).
Both the heuristic principles include the basic aspect of usability which says that the users shall be allowed the ease of usage of the web application. The user interface design of the application shall make sure that the usability of the application is increased.
Review of the Site
The web site that has been reviewed according to the heuristic principles is of the Australian museum. The site allows the users to view the information that is associated with the museum and also allows the users to book the entry tickets for the museum. There are also options provided on the site to make donations and plan the visit.
As per the heuristic principles, consistency of the user interface design is one of the main aspects that shall be present on the site. The web site scores well on this aspect as the layout and the color scheme is kept consistent across all the web pages. Error handling and error prevention are also the parameters that are present on the site. For instance, if a user enters the search keywords for which there are no matching results found, then the user is prompted with a message informing about the same. There are also assistance and help options provided on the site on the Contact Us page.
Some of the areas that can be improved on the site are the options provided for help and support. There shall be a live chat option included on the site to allow the users to contact with the executive directly. Also, there are certain pages wherein there are excessive whitespaces present. There is too much scrolling that is involved in the site (Australianmuseum, 2017).
Australianmuseum,. (2017). Australian Museum. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from https://australianmuseum.net.au/
Kandababu, M. (2011). Analysis on Website Design Using Usability Principles. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from https://bada.hb.se/bitstream/2320/8143/1/2011MAGI10.pdf
Jacobsen, N. (2017). Two Case Studies in Using Cognitive Walkthrough for Interface Evaluation. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from https://reports-archive.adm.cs.cmu.edu/anon/2000/CMU-CS-00-132.pdf
Levi, M., & Conrad, F. (2011). Usability Testing of World Wide Web Sites. BLS.gov. Retrieved 22 December 2014, from https://www.bls.gov/ore/pdf/st960150.pdf
Lewis, C. (1994). Task-Centered User Interface Design : 4. Evaluating the Design Without Users. Hcibib.org. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from https://hcibib.org/tcuid/chap-4.html
Nielsen, J. (2017). 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design: Article by Jakob Nielsen. Nngroup.com. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/
Shneiderman, B. (2017). Shneiderman's "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design" | Design Principles FTW. Designprinciplesftw.com. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from https://www.designprinciplesftw.com/collections/shneidermans-eight-golden-rules-of-interface-design.