Baca and Cassidy at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico re-designed Sandia’s intranet home page. The website had been used for about five years with only minor modifications. Users were complaining that they were unable to find information.
The designers set a usability objective that after the re-design users would be able to locate desired information 80% of the time. After making several changes to the website, users were able to successfully complete only 73% of searches, with an average completion time of 113 seconds. They then made additional changes that finally improved the success rate up to 84%, with an average completion time of 57 seconds.
In another study at the Sandia National Laboratories, reported by Grose, Jean-Pierre, Miller and Goff, an intranet website was improved that was receiving little use. Before beginning the re- design, they set a usability goal of users being able to find information at least 80% of the time, and in less than an average of 120 seconds.
They tested typical users on an initial prototype, and found that users succeeded in finding the desired information only 75% of the time, and took an average of 90 seconds to find the information.
They revised and tested the prototype five more times. They reported that the time to complete the test items dropped over the several tests, but the success rate stayed at about 80%. This success rate seemed to be acceptable because it compared favorably with similar testing on commercial Internet sites.
Fath and Henneman at the NCR Human Interface Technology Center in Atlanta, Georgia evaluated four websites that are commonly used for online shopping. They noted that the four websites were typical of those currently being used for e-commerce. Participants performed several shopping tasks on the websites while being observed by usability specialists.
In three of the websites, participants were able to complete only about half of the standard shopping tasks, and about 1/3 of the tasks could not be completed at all - even with assistance. In the fourth website, participants completed 84% of the shopping tasks.
These success rates seem to be very low. Do they represent a lowering of usability standards? Or do they quantify the relatively mediocre usability level that is currently acceptable when designing and using websites? How do your websites compare?
efficiency. They found that users were less frustrated with the one-second delay, but their task success and efficiency were not affected by either the 30 or 60 second response times.
Intranet development and design that works, Baca, B. and Cassidy, A., Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society ‚Äď 1999, 777-790 (1999).
Applying usability methods to a large intranet site, Grose, E., Jean-Pierre, S., Miller, D. and Goff, R., Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society ‚Äď 1999, 762-766 (1999).
On the development of user interface design guidelines for electronic commerce, Fath J.L. and Henneman, R.L., Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society -- 1999, 192-198(1999).
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