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Types of issues the designer might consider:

1. What happens if someone does not return the book they borrowed?
2. How can people be trusted as a borrower or a lender? 
3. How can this mobile application help to enhance the education in the ACT?
4. What if something happens to the borrowed book?

Types of issues the designer might consider

Benyon et al (2005) have defined PACT (People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies) as a framework that proves to be extremely useful while analysing the design of an interactive system. I felt that PACT analysis would prove to be useful in analysing the web site and understanding the design details along with the existing situation. Also, with it, the analysis would also highlight the areas of improvements and would bring up the steps to take in future. I was able to analyse the web site from the perspective of the target audience and also gained an understanding of the site from the usability aspect and technical components associated with several technologies and contexts. I was able to come up with a non-ambiguous and to the point strategy on the interaction of the users with the e-tourist website. The results that were obtained from the PACT analysis are summarized below.

People that are the users differ from each other in a number of ways and attributes which may include personality, behaviour, psychology and many other factors as well. The website shall have the ability to be usable for every user type. Also, the technical abilities of the users also vary and I believe that the website shall have high degree of usability for every user group. Cognitive ability of the users shall also be fulfilled with the aid of the website. My website is a heterogeneous website since the users all across the globe will access it. Users will vary in terms of their cognitive abilities, personalities, psychosocial and technical aspects.

The website that I have created will be accessed by the users who may be experts in terms of technical knowledge or may have zero computer literacy as well. The range is broad and it is required for the website to fulfil the needs of all the user types. The website primarily focuses upon the tourism details of Edinburgh so it will be usable for the users who are planning a trip to Edinburgh. It is therefore probable that even the highly computer literate people may turn out to be beginners on my site.

It is a known fact that people remember and find it easy to connect with things that they see instead of the ones that they listen. My website will have ‘See & Click’ feature to enhance the interactivity level between the user and the site.

There are several users that will be differently able in terms of their physical abilities. I have created the website in such a manner that differently-able users will also find it easy to use the site. The website includes the mechanisms to provide the ease of usability to the visually impaired users at different levels. There may be users who may find it difficult to read small things and therefore magnifying of the content will be made available on the site as an option. There may also be users who may be suffering from colour-blindness who may find it troublesome to distinguish between the colours used on the site. Inter-mixing of the colours will therefore be avoided on the site.  

PACT Analysis

It is required for the designers to understand the attributes of the activities that are involved. Activities may be simple or complex in nature. Before the analysis on the activities is made, it is important that the overall goals and objectives are considered. The characteristics and parameters of the activities that would be required to be considered are:

  • Frequency of the execution of the activity such as daily, weekly, monthly and likewise
  • System response time such as download time, response to the queries etc.
  • Use of colours on the website such as inter-mixing and over-use of colours is avoided
  • Information around the text such as its font, size and likewise

One of the major activities that will be made available to the users will be the inclusion of a navigation map. It will allow the users to view the hotspots and access the related information. Forums and blogs will also be included for enhancing the interaction levels along with the ability to upload pictures. The information around the type and nature of the available tours will also be included. Search capability will also be included in the website.

Activities and context are closely related to each other and the section analyses the relationship between the two. The context type that will have an impact on my website would be physical environment. Users will access the website from several different locations such as their homes, offices, institutes, while travelling from one place to the other and likewise. These locations will vary in terms of the network capability which might lead to the enhancement of response time in terms of upload or download. It will therefore be required to design the website in such a manner that the components may be used in the low network connectivity or offline modes as well.

Technology will also play a significant role in the interactivity level associated with the website along with its performance. The users may access the site on several different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac X and likewise. Also, the browsers that may be used by the users may also be different such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and likewise. The site shall be designed in such a manner that the compatibility with all of these technical components is ensured.

The purpose of the website is to provide the users with an online portal to view the travel and tourism details of the city of Edinburgh. The evaluation of the website is extremely important to make sure that the design and development is done as per the specifications and there is absence of any major defects and bugs in the site. The audience that will be evaluating the website will include the technical and system experts along with the group of end users such as the customers that will be using the website for their use.

Peerce [1994:602] defines evaluation in terms of HCI principles as Evaluation is associated with data gathering around the usability of a particular design or a product that is carried out by a user or a group of users in association with a specific activity in context of an environment.  

The need to carry out evaluation is often questioned. The answer that is associated with this particular question is to highlight the user preferences and issues. Absence of the evaluation will only include the perspective of the design team without the presence of connection between the end system design and the expectations of the user. [Peerce, 1994] It would be essential to consider the characteristics of the system users, activities that they will perform along with the nature of the product during the evaluation process. There were four narrower categories of evaluation that were presented by [Nielsen, 1994] as formal, informal, empirical and automatic. Review based evaluation comes under formal category while heuristic evaluation is an informal method.

People

The heuristic based evaluation is defined as a method in which small group of experts in involved and is asked to evaluate a system or a product on the basis of the usability principles that are termed as heuristics. Also, the evaluators shall independently carry out the process without any interaction in between and the combining if the results shall be done later. 10 heuristic principles provided by [Nielsen, 2005] are as listed below.

  • Ability to view the system status
  • Mapping between the real-world and the system that is developed
  • Ease of usage, freedom and control  
  • Level of consistency and standards
  • Error handling and control
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of the system  
  • Aesthetic design of the system
  • Recognition and recovery from the errors
  • Documentation and Help

Evaluators carry out the evaluation by gaining an understanding of the system in the beginning; however, it shall be made sure that a re-visit is performed at least once to understand the components, interface along with the functionality. Heuristic evaluation is a method that is easy to carry out and is also cheap. There can however be business and domain specific issues that may not be highlighted with this method. The 10 principles are required to be evaluated and scored at the severity level of 1 to 5.

0 = Do not agree that it is a usability issue

1 = Cosmetic issue with low severity: Shall be fixed only if there is an extra time available
2 = Minor usability problem: Low priority shall be given to fix this one
3 = Major usability problem: It would be important to fix and a high priority shall be given
4 = Usability catastrophe: Mandatory to be fixed before release  

Empirical (Task-based) Evaluation [Levi and Conrad, 1997] stated that empirical tests are carried out by inviting the users to perform them and major functionalities and involved with these. The observers in this case shall document the findings in terms of the tasks that are completed, time involved and likewise. The observers shall also be open to provide help to the users in case if it is demanded. There may also be a track of the discussions that are carried out between the users afterwards that may be performed to understand the areas that require improvements. The measurements that are recorded during the added that measurements taken during the test shall vary from quantitative to objective ones such as level of user satisfaction. Observers may also ask the participants questions around the steps they will take and its necessity. 85% issues associated with usability may be revealed by the number of evaluators as 5. The following are the requirements to carry out a good usability task:

  1. Setting up of the testing goals
  2. Characteristics associated with the participating sample shall be set up  
  3. Scenarios and tasks required to be performed shall be done  
  4. Measurement criteria shall be set,
  5. Testing environment and material required shall be set up

User shall carry out the tasks that are listed below.  

  1. a) PCI DSS solution shall be searched with the aid of a search engine
  2. b) Company shall be contacted with a form available
  3. c) Subscription shall be made to the official newsletter

Review-based evaluation is an evaluation method that is based on the experts and the facts that are recorded in the literature such as HCI, psychology and likewise. The review that is carried out shall compare and contrast the design considerations and the experimental results that are provided. Literature detailed in Theo Mandel’s book Golden Rules of Interface Design and Wilbert O Galitz book, The essential guide to interface design would be used.

This is the evaluation method that makes use of the logs that are recorded by the web servers. The real value that is associated with this particular method is that it makes use of the real user data. However, it has a drawback also as it can be used only when the application is launched. Once the application is launched, then the information can be collected around the user behaviour and choices. For instance, patterns may be recorded for the users that spend higher amount of time on the site rather than the ones that leave early. Navigation paths can likewise be discovered to highlight the preferred areas that are navigated the most and so on. It would also be essential to discover the association rules that are applied along with the sequential patterns. If there is a mismatch found between the patterns that were estimated and the ones that are present, then there may be a revision of the content browsing parameters that may be performed. There is one drawback that is associated with the mining technique in web usage as it requires a considerable amount of pre-processing in order to clean the logs and to extract the user navigation sessions along with the formatting of data. There shall also be grouping of the pages in the web logs that must be performed to highlight the navigation paths of the single users. However, there may be issues with the proxy servers that may come up with this method which can be prevented with several measures. Popular website analytics system such as Google Analytics and Hotjar helps user analyse the website user interface in terms of how people use the site in real-time. Given that this mean, one should have root access to the website on the web-server, this evaluation is out of the purview of this report.

There are four different evaluation methods detailed in the Evaluation instrument that was created earlier. One of the evaluation methods is not feasible owing to the fact that the we don’t have the backend administrator access to the website. Hence the focus would be on the other three evaluation methods.

  • Consistency: The website needs to improve consistency for different pages. There should be familiarity across different pages.
  • Breadcrumbs: The website needs to incorporate breadcrumbs in the header area or just above the footer area of the website.
  • Sitemap: Along with Breadcrumbs, the website should also incorporate a sitemap for a detailed overview of the site.
  • Fonts: The fonts should be customizable and should use better contrasting colours in order to make the site in order to make the site compatible with people with disability.
  • Better visual cues and hints: The site should better make use of iconography and real world hints such as contact us should have a better ‘email’ icon, LinkedIn icon is not accurate at all and simultaneously the phone number is not represented by the phone icon among others.

References

Beemer, B. (2010). Dynamic interaction. 1st ed.

Benyon, D., Turner, P. and Turner, S. (2005). Designing interactive systems. 1st ed. Addison-Wesley Longman.

Hertzum, M. and Jacobsen (2016). A usability test is not an interview. interactions, 23(2), pp.82-84.

Levi, M. and Conrad, F. (1997). A heuristic evaluation of a World Wide Web prototype. interactions, 3(4), pp.50-61.

Martin, B. and Hanington, B. (n.d.). Universal methods of design. 1st ed.

Nielsen, J. and Hansen, V. (1994). Jakob Nielsen. 1st ed. Boston: Birkhau?ser.

Nielsen, J. and Marck, R. (1994). Usability inspection methods. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: John Wiley & Sons.

Preece, J., Sharp, H. and Rogers, Y. (2015). nteraction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons.

Shneiderman, B. and Badre, A. (1984). Directions in human-computer interaction. 1st ed. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Wilson, C. (2014). User interface inspection methods. 1st ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier Science.

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