In today’s times, the World Wide Web has far reaching effects then ever before. So any information that is available is read, analysed and used for varied purposes. The medium of internet is far wider and encompasses barriers of demography, age, colour and opinions. So it is a very strong tool if anyone wants to send a message across. It is always important to know if the website developed is reaching the intended purpose and for this reason a usability analysis gives the required feedback. This helps in improving the website so that its purpose is achieved.
A usability analysis is used to analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of the website. The main aim of the analysis is to check whether the website designed is being accessed by users regularly, if the information on the website has the expected outcome. If these issues are not being met then the website will have to be changed accordingly to meet the requirements stipulated. The objective of the dissertation is to do an overall analysis of how websites are being used, the reasons behind their popularity and most importantly what is that in a website that a user looks for which makes them want to visit it often.
The direction of future work and also some recommendations are explained in great details.
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This method was chosen among all other methods is because this method is far more practical and research-oriented. These results give a very good idea of the success factor of the website. Once a website is designed the designers tries their best to keep in mind the customers needs. But sometimes it does happen that the customers are not satisfied with what he sees and the information that is available. Usability analysis therefore takes their opinion, measures and analyses the results.
This gives the designer the areas in the webpage that have to be fine tuned. There have been other areas that could have been studied about website development and design is one of the latest of technologies available. The number of people that use it on a day to day basis is phenomenal. There are many people that use the website from the homes, offices or even while being mobile. Finding the people to help in analysis is very easy and everyone is always willing to help improve the bigger community that is the internet.
The methods used to judge the suitability of the website and to analyse are questionnaires, surveys and direct interviews. The information collected is then consolidated and analysed. The results received will be used to improve the website. The sample questions are present in the Appendix of this paper. The main objective of usability analysis is to study the network traffic to the website. To study what the users like and dislike in the website and what they would like to see changed.
Each person who visits the website is a customer and the see the customer satisfied so that they visit again is what needs to be known. There are many reasons why people visit a web page or why they don’t. There are many advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires, interviews, and surveys. So the best option was to do all instead of just choosing one option as the method of analysis. This study needs to take into all the parameters to get the best result, therefore the initiative for an extensive methodology.
In this method a set of questions were prepared.
The questions varied from being dichotomous, contingency and levels of measurement. Questionnaires are objective in approach. It is an easy process and not that expensive if simple. If there are large groups then this would be the best method. The users when replying can take their time reflect and answer the questions. All the questions will be uniform throughout so the data collected can be easily interpreted. There were two kinds of methods used to get these filled.
• Email questionnaire. 10 questionnaires were emailed to people and the number of received emails was 9. The time taken to fill the questionnaire was 10-15 minutes.
• Mail questionnaire. 10 questionnaires were printed out and distributed to friends and family out of which 8 were filled and received. The time taken to fill the questionnaire was 10-15 minutes.
There were 7 direct one to one interviews conducted, the website was shown to the people on the laptop and questions based on the questionnaire were asked directly. All the seven interviews took around 20-25 minutes. Direct interviews gave an opportunity to talk to the person who used the website.
It was easy for them to express their feelings about the website and the theme. It is easy to get their opinions on the subject, the benefits, this likes and dislikes. A one-to-one interview gives us a deeper understanding of the social systems and cultural differences. This method is more honest and reveals sensitive details that the user might hesitate to pen down. The only cautionary issue being that a lot of effort needs to be maintained in providing confidentiality in information. Some of the other advantages are that it is cost-saving and not that much equipment is needed.
The interview venue time and duration can be easily discussed and decided as per the convenience of both the parties the interviewer and the interviewee. This method is a lot faster compared to the other methods. They also spent time talking about the ways the website can be improved and what would be the things that they would like to read about often.
Surveys are not that expensive either when there are many people to take into account. They can be administered anywhere and the data gathered can be used very effectively for analysis.
There is a lot of flexibility in the method as standardized questions can be effectively formed. This is an easy way there is no additional overheads involved. Two kinds of surveys were conducted namely,
- Online surveys. The survey was available online for the duration of a week. There were 10 answers received after the duration of the study.
- Flyer distributions. 10 flyers were distributed among the possible internet users. Out of which 8 of them filled and submitted the forms.
The website is judged by the users and only then they recommend the website to other users and they themselves visit the website often.
These are the areas that will be looked into will making their decision,
- Design of the website. The overall design of the website needs to be appropriate for the purpose, like if it is educational, entertainment, news, leisure and other areas.
- Layout of the website. The website layout needs to be suitable for the objective it is intended for.
- Navigation. There are always many pages that are contained in a website, different categories are present, it is always good to have the user navigate between these pages easily.
- Time taken to load. There might be graphics in the websites and these might take a long time to load. All this can be reduced by efficient programming.
- Download. Downloading files/images should be convenient for the user.
- Browser compatibility. There are many browsers that are available such as Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, Opera, and many others. Users may use any of the browsers to view the webpage, so the website designed should be able to open in any browser.
- Shopping cart. If the website does online sales then the shopping cart should facility should be implemented.
- Online monetary transactions. Any online exchanges should have the option for safe monetary transactions.
- User-friendliness. The website should be user-friendly; this makes the user want to visit the website again.
- Broken Links. Broken links are very inconvenient when the user wants to click and it goes no where or it opens another different page altogether.
- Writing style. The written style should be simple and easy to understand.
- Content overview. The contents should be meaningful and the message should be put forth easily.
- Accessibility. This finds out where the website is being used and for how long is the surfing time. Sometimes when the website is designed it is not easy to identify if the user will appreciate it. The analysis therefore helps the website developer identify with the user. The analysis results can help the website to be better developed. It will throw problems pertaining to
- Design. The design and formatting of text may be unsuitable or may cause reading difficulties.
- Layout. The users cannot find what they are looking for in the website.
- Content. The information is not related to the subject of the website. There may also be too many spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- Privacy. The personal available online may not all that be private.
- Security. The information available and shared online may not be safe and secure.
- Flow of Pages. The user gets lost in the website as there are too many pages and links. These take the users into different directions but it is difficult to move back and forth and between categories.
- Loading. The pages are very slow while uploading and downloading maybe because of the size of images or files in it.
- Lack of Updating. The information available might be old or out-dated. • Ordering Online. Transactions online may not be efficient and accurate enough.
- Not effectively searched. The website should have Meta Tags, so that the key phrases can be searched by the search engines. Websites are used for many reasons and the same implies to users who surf. Each users need is different and the web designer and developer needs to meet all their demands as well as the client who the website is being developed for.
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