Using an empirical study to evaluate the feasibility of a new usability inspection technique for paper based prototypes of web applications
Keywords:Usability Evaluation, Usability Problem, Cooperative Evaluation, Inspection Process, Heuristic Evaluation
Usability is one of the most important factors that determine the quality of Web applications, which can be verified performing usability inspection. This paper presents the Web Design Usability Evaluation (Web DUE) technique, which allows the identification of usability problems in low-fidelity prototypes (or mockups) of Web applications during the design phases of the development. We have also proposed the Mockup Design Usability Evaluation (Mockup DUE) tool which is able to assist inspectors using the Web DUE technique.Method
In order to verify the feasibility of these technologies, we have performed two empirical studies. During the first study, we compared the effectiveness and efficiency indicators of the Web DUE technique with the ones of its predecessor, the Web Design Perspective (WDP) based usability inspection technique. Also, during the second study, experienced inspectors used the Mockup DUE tool and answered a questionnaire aiming at identifying improvement opportunities in its design.Results
The analysis of the quantitative data showed that the Web DUE technique allowed the identification of more usability problems in lesser time when compared to the WDP technique. Moreover, the qualitative data from the second empirical study provided information on the tool’s perceived ease of use, indicating that inspectors were satisfied and that they would use it to perform a usability inspection with the Web DUE technique.Conclusions
These results showed that the DUE technologies could be applied in the identification of usability problems early in the design of Web applications. Thus, their use could enable the correction of such problems before the source code of the application is written.