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Creating User Interfaces

This article discusses the process of creating user interfaces and provides an overview of various usability evaluation methods. It includes information on focus groups, prototyping, task analysis, usability inspection, and user testing. The article also covers the importance of defaults in online privacy and provides examples of government websites for evaluation.

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Creating User Interfaces

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  1. Creating User Interfaces (Catch-up XML?) CMS, Usability checklist reports Preparation for user observation studies Blogs, Social Spaces, etc. Homework: try government site

  2. Usability and CMS Reports • Discussion

  3. Usability Methods: http://www.usabilityfirst.com/methods/index.txl • Cognitive Walkthrough is an approach to evaluating an interface based on breaking down and analyzing actions that a user must perform in order to use the system or perform a task. • Focus Groups gather groups of users to get their feedback, initial reactions to a design, and discuss their preferences. Focus groups can be useful for raising issues that may not come out during interviews. • GOMS is a family of techniques for modeling and describing human task performance. GOMS is an acronym that stands for Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection Rules.

  4. Methods, cont. • Prototyping involves developing representations of a system for testing purposes and can range from simple sketches to almost fully functional systems. • Task Analysis evaluates how the end-user actually uses software or websites. An analyst determines the user goals and tasks, then makes recommendations aimed at increasing efficiency and user-friendliness. • Usability Inspection reviews a system based on a set of usability guidelines. Experts familiar with issues of usability in design perform the usability inspection. • User Testing observes actual users interacting with software or websites. Users are asked to perform tasks while usability experts observe and take note of their actions.

  5. Comment • Usability can't be 'tested in'. • That is, you don't build something and then do a check and sprinkle in usability…. • Vocabulary check and organizational knowledge check can be done (and re-done)

  6. Usability evaluation Effective, efficient, satisfactory • What are the critical tasks to be done? • What is acceptable level of performance? • Measure satisfaction • Ask…ask what? • Return to site (may be easy to check) • In some cases, contribute money (easy to check) • Spread the word (may or may not be verifiable)

  7. Observation studies • Decide on application (site) • Select tasks (2-4) • Determine categories of users (e.g., novice and experienced) • Decide on metrics: time, clicks, asking for help,? Your observation plus • Ask subject how they would compare using this application to other similar ones • Compose short set of questions Refer to previous methods or other places for help

  8. Possible sites • Retail • Tasks: pricing (not quite buying) • Bank, Finance • Determining balance, status of bill payments, last contribution • Government • ?

  9. Survey question ideas • Was this easy, hard, or in the middle? • What was good about this application? • What was bad? • Name another site (application) that is better. • ???

  10. Families of applications • Blogs • Social networking • Facebook, MySpace, other • Twitter • barackobama.com • Youtube • ? Fixed structure providing spaces for individuality Complement to other applications

  11. Default settings … are important design point in many situations • Default vs model • For example, SS#: 999-99-9999 • Blog themes (colors and layout) • Privacy: access to profile

  12. Online Privacy Defaults study • Compared Facebook, MySpace and StudiVZ • Different defaults and practices • Facebook: open to all in networks • MySpace, StudiVZ: open to everyone • StudiVZ leads new users through settings • Most users keep defaults and most of those admit/claim they may not be using settings appropriately.

  13. Expectations • Legal concept (my words) • A business / organization has the right to manage resources how ever they want, e.g., phone, computers, email, network, but employees have expectation of privacy UNLESS organization actively publicizes other policies. • You can and must be told if your email/computer can be examined.

  14. Class exercise recovery.gov • Continues web based practices of Obama campaign (and also Obama's first legislation as senator) • What are objectives? • Who are users? • Still early, but what is your assessment?

  15. Classwork/Homework Government sites • Find the site of an elected representative • Evaluate how easy it is to determine • Position on specific issue • When he/she will be speaking • General services • ? • Caution: find official site not campaign sitejohnhall.house.gov NOTwww.johnhallforcongress.com

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