Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface

Category Web Design
Essay type Evaluation
Words 5979 (23 pages)
Table of contents


This report presents the results of a usability evaluation of the Web design interface for an instructional unit prototype on Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers. Usability is defined as the measure of a product’s potential to accomplish the goals of its users (Dumas, 1999). The unit and the Web interface were designed to deliver instruction to undergraduate dental hygiene students.

The three randomly selected users/subjects for this evaluation were from an undergraduate class of dental hygiene students. This report describes the usability evaluation planning, implementation, data analysis methods, and results. The results demonstrate that conducting usability evaluations help to determine the organization and ease of navigation of an interactive, Web-based, instructional unit. Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface Computers are used to educate, in many instances, with conventional interfaces that include those used to create documents and manipulate data.

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A Web interface, which was tested int his case, is very different from a conventional one. The Web is a domain that must be instantly usable and support many communication modalities. Web designers must focus on the computer user whose goal is to gather information rather than to create documents or manipulate data (Raj ani & Rosenberg, 1999). It is critical that the accomplishment of the users’ goals be the primary objective of a usability evaluation (UE) of Web site interface design.

Users will not be able to access correct pages unless the constructed site reflects their needs and contains a navigation scheme that allows s easy access to the desired information (Nielsen, 2000a). In Web interface designs the properties of color, sound, navigation, and placement must be considered from a different perspective than with conventional interfaces. Usability evaluation purposes. The faculty of the Department of Dental Hygiene, where this evaluation was conducted developed an oral pathology course for undergraduate student s in dental hygiene and wanted to deliver it via a Web design interface.

The instructional unit on Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers is the prototype for nine instructional units to follow. It was anticipated that conducting a UE, on the prototype instructional unit Web interface, would enable identification of any usability issues or problems relevant to this Web interface before the construction of subsequent instructional units. In keeping with Rajani and Rosenberg (1999), the primary purposes of this UE were agreed upon as:

  1. to determine if the Web-based Herpes Simplex and Apthous ulcer prototype is easy to navigate 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of Web Design Interface 2/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm and meets the goals of undergraduate dental hygiene students,
  2. to use any identified problems to revise this unit,
  3. to make recommendations on the construction of additional units based on this prototype,
  4. to save faculty time, and
  5. to ensure students’ goals will be met in the Web interface format.

The Literature Usability evaluations include a range of methods for identifying how users actually interact with a prototype or completed Web site. Planning of a UE egins with a statement of the overall purpose and objectives for the investigation and a clear identification of the problem (Hom, 1999; Instone, 1999). In a typical approach a UE is conducted while users perform tasks and a moderator watches, listens, and records for later data analyzes and reporting of results (Fichter, 2000) . The next steps are the identification of the subject/users and the design of the study. Graham (2000) describes many ways to get feedback about the usability of a Web site. Graham (2000) recommends that a moderator observe a user representing the site’s target audience as they navigate the site.

Graham (2000) cautions moderators against the interruption of the subject/user while conducting any observations. Nielsen (2000a) also recommends that the user/subjects be representative of the target audience and not colleagues or others who may know too much about the site. Nielsen (2000a) recommends that user/subjects perform specific tasks during a UE as opposed to asking them to just play on the test site. These test tasks need to be representative of the types of tasks that users will actually perform on the Web site within the Web interface being tested.

Nielsen (2000a) suggests that the moderator solicit comments from users as they progress through to task completion to help determine their thought process. Hom (2000) refers to this encouragement of user comments during the evaluation as the ‘think aloud protocol’. H om (2000) describes this technique as one in which the user verbalizes any thoughts, feelings, and/or opinions while interacting with the test site. The inclusion of the ‘think aloud protocol’ allows the moderator to qualitatively measure how the user approaches the Web interface and what considerations they keep in mind when using it.

For example, a user verbalizing that the sequence of steps, dictated by a task, is different from what was expected, could demonstrate an interface problem (Ho m, 2000). Hom (2000) recommends using the qualitative ‘think aloud method’ in conjunction with performance measures. The performance measures add to the data collected noting such things as:

  1. the time it takes for a user to complete a task,
  2. the number and type of errors per task,
  3. the number of users completing a task successfully, and
  4. the satisfaction of the user with the site (Nielsen, 2000a).

After determining the study design and identification of the users, Spool et al. (199 9) in agreement with Nielsen recommend development of specific tasks for users to perform during the UE. In addition to a task list, Hom (1999) advocates during the planning phase of UE that one specify materials needed and the site evaluation environment. Rubin (1994) agrees that the U E process needs test users from the target population to evaluate the degree to which a product meets specific 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface /12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm criteria. Rubin (1994) describes six basic elements of a UE:

  1. a clear statement of the problem and/or evaluation objectives,
  2. a sample of users, which may/may not be randomly chosen,
  3. a setting representative of the actual work environment,
  4. observation of users who either use or review a representation of the product,
  5. a collection of quantitative performance and qualitative preferences measures, and
  6. an analysis leading to recommendation for design of the product evaluated.

When analyzing data from having conducted a UE, rather than supporting hypotheses one is looking for patterns to identify common problems, in the remarks or observations, between users (Dumas, 1999; Hom, 1999). Performance data is statistically analyzed while qualitative data, collected by observing the user’s actions and opinions, is analyzed for trends. The data analysis results should lead to identification of strengths and recommendations for improving the site or product (Nielsen, 2000a; Spool, et al. 1999; Hom, 1999; Dumas, 1999). Usability Evaluation: The Case This UE was conducted because usability problems, within any prototype, are important to discover prior to the costly, time consuming, construction of a web interface for additional instructional units. The specific purpose of this UE was to determine if the Web interface presented the Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcer prototype interactive educational unit in a way that allowed undergraduate dental hygiene students to successfully achieve unit outcomes.

Specific objectives for this usability evaluation were to determine:

  1. navigational and/or organizational problems with the Web interface,
  2. the presence of any confusing terminology in the site,
  3. if the site meets the goals of the user,
  4. if the users can complete the assigned tasks, and
  5. user’s attitudes toward the Web site.

Methods A description of the UE environment, user selection criteria and profiles, usability evaluation process, the task list, and evaluation measures for this study follow. Usability evaluation environment. The UE took place in the moderator’s private campus office.

This is a quiet, well-lit room with a comfortable temperature, equipped with a Dell computer workstation, which was used for the evaluation. A sign reading “Usability Evaluation in Session. Please Do Not Disturb” was posted on the closed office door to prevent interruptions and distractions. The UEs were conducted on July 2, 2001, at 1:00 p. m. , 2:00 p. m. , and 3:00 p. m. Subject/users interacted with the Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers Web interface one at a time. Each subject /user had 20 minutes to complete the usability evaluation. Subjects selection and profile.

Three randomly selected undergraduate dental hygiene students, from a target population of 24 (class of 2002), became subject users. All 24 students will be required to take the oral pathology courses including the instructional units reflecting the results of this UE. Alphabetical order by user’s last name determined the order of subject user participation. In order to be selected the subject/users must have met the following criteria: 1) be an undergraduate 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 4/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm ental hygiene student, 2) have successfully completed one academic year of the Denta l Hygiene Program, 3) have previous experience with the Internet, and 4) have previous experien ce with Web browsers The demographic characteristics of the users for this evaluation were that: 1) they all were female, 2) ages 25, 22, and 43, 3) all had successfully completed on e academic year in the Dental Hygiene Program, 4) all had previous experience with the Internet, and 5) all had between 1 and 3 years experience with Web browsers. Administration protocol. Prior to the UE a training packet and session of 30 minutes were provided to each subjectuser.

The training session included a brief description of the UE process, purpose and objectives, and the UE protocol instructions. Each subject/user was given an opportunity to review the packet and ask any questions before agreeing, by signing a consent form, to be a voluntary participant. The UE packet included: 1) a user profile questionnaire, 2) a task list , 3) a statement of the purposes of the evaluation, 4) evaluation instructions, and 5) a consent form. Prior to each actual UE every subject user was again given a 10-minute review of the UE instructions and opportunity to ask questions.

Subjects/users were told it would take one hour to complete the entire UE process; 20 minutes to complete the task list. According to Nielsen (2000a) , a UE time of 30 minutes or less is adequate to conduct a UE. An additional 15 minutes allowed time for the user to verbalize about the Web interface and to complete a follow-up questionnaire to determine their attitude towards the Web interface. The remaining 15 minutes of the hour the moderator used to review notes of comments and observations and to make corrections so that no misunder standing would occur later in interpreting results.

Shneiderman (1998) suggests the moderator rewrite UE notes as soon as possible, reducing moderator errors in note interpretation later. The subjectusers were required to use the’ think aloud method’ (Hom, 2000) to provid e subjective data in conjunction with the collection of various performance measures. The performance measures included: 1) the time it took the user to complete the task list; 2) the number of er rors per task, 3) the number of users completing the task list successfully in the allotted time, and 4 ) the attitude of the user toward the Web interface.

In addition, the moderator collected qualitative data by observing each user during completion of each task and taking notes regarding their f acial expressions, opinions expressed, and verbalized thoughts while completing UE. The moderator made notes on the opinions and thoughts of the user following UE. Finally, the subjectusers completed a questionnaire to describe their attitudes about the Web interface. Implementation Piloting the UE administration protocol.

A Department of Dental Hygiene professor, familiar with the Internet, Web browsers, and oral pathology pilot tested the UE administration protoco l one week prior to testing subjectusers. The moderator provided the pilot test user with the same pre UE instructions and task list that would be given to subject/users. The pilot test resulted in no problems with the UE administration protocol. The moderator observed the pilot test subject/user and collected the same quantitative and qualitative data that was to be collected from the research 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 5/12 http://ojni. rg/602/usability.htm subjectusers. The results of the pilot test showed that the UE protocol could be use d with subject/users without revision. Pre-training for UE. At 12:30 p. m. July 2, 2001, the subjectusers arrived for the pr e UE training session. The moderator distributed the UE packet and described the purpose and proce dures of the UE. The users were given an opportunity to review the UE packet and to ask questions . Each of the three subjectusers signed consent forms before leaving the pre UE training. Administration of UE. Each of the three subject/users arrived at the moderator’s offi ce for the UE.

The moderator reviewed the evaluation instructions and gave time for any additional questions to be answered. The following sequence of events occurred for the three users, each: a) beg an the UE, 2) completed the task list, 3) responded to questions about the evaluation experience, 4 ) added thoughts or opinions regarding interaction with the Web interface, and 5) left the mo derator’s office in 45 minutes each. The administrator used the remaining 15 minutes of each of the three hours to rewrite portions of notes taken during observation in preparation for the UE report o f results.

Task list and description. The tasks were identified using the purposes and objective s of the UE. The task list includes 10 primary tasks for subjectusers to perform in navigation of the Website interface for the Oral Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers prototype. The task list beginning with accessing the Website via the interface and progressing through the instructional unit follows. Because many of the 10 primary tasks were repeated the actual count of performing tasks is 31. Task 1 – with the browser open go to www.etsu. edu/cpah/dental/dcte760.

This task was chosen to determine if users, indicating they had between 1 and 3 years experience with a Web browser, would have a problem accessing a Web site when given only a Web address without a direct link. Task 2 – read the instructions on the first page of the Web site and click on the lin k that it directs you to go to first. This task was to determine the clarity of the Web interface in providing instructions for beginning the instructional unit. Task 3 – click on Assignment 1 Task 4 – access the discussion forum and enter your name and email address.

This task helped determine the Web interface design, by allowing for observing if users had difficulty locating the discussion forum area and/or entering information into it. Task 5 – When done in discussion forum, return to Assignment 1. This task will identify if users have difficulty returning to the designated page using the Web interface. Task 6 – Click on Assignment 2 Task 7 – Read the content on Apthous Ulcers. This task requires users to read content on a Web page on the site. Task 8 – Click on the images on this page to enlarge them. This task determines the e ase of click navigation to enlarge thumbnail images. 3/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 6/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability. htm Task 9 – Return to Assignment 2. This task determined if users could navigate the Web interface via a link taking them back to a designated page in the Web site. Task 10 – Answer the study questions in Assignment 2. The study questions direct the user through a series of multiple-choice items in a linear fashion. Correct responses allow the user to continue to the next question while incorrect responses require the user to go back to the questi on and make another attempt to answer.

Users cannot go to the next question until the previous q uestion is answered correctly. This task requires navigating through a series of questions with the potential for going back and forth if an answer is wrong. This task determined if users could succe ssfully navigate the Web interface to the study questions Task 11 – When the study questions are all answered, return to Assignment 2. This tas k again measures their ability to use the Web interface to return to a designated page in the Web site. Task 12 – Click Assignment 3. Task 13 – Read the entire case 2 Herpes Simplex.

Again, users are required to read content on the Web site but they must use the Web interface design to do it successfully. Task 14 – When you have finished reading Case 2, return to Assignment 3. This task determined if users could navigate the Web interface to a case study contained within the instructional unit and return to a designated page in the Web site. Task 15 – Click on Assignment 4. Task 16 – Go to Case 1. Task 17 – Fill in the diagnosis form. This task required students to locate a case, fill in case study information obtained from previous exercises.

This task measures the Web interface’s ease of navigation using forms to complete information. Task 18 – Submit the Form. This task demonstrates if the Web interface allows for easy form submission upon completion. Task 19 – Return to Assignment 4. User must complete a form by diagnosing the case study patient in this assignment. This task determined if users could easily navigate the case study, fill in the appropriate form fields, submit the form, and return to the designated page in the We b site. Task 20 – Click on Assignment 5. Task 21 – Go to the reflection form.

This task demonstrates if the Web interface all ows users to navigate to the reflection form. Task 22 – Write your reflections on the unit on the form. A form to reflect on the in structional unit is required for assignment 5. This task demonstrates if users will be able, through this Web interface, to make text entries in the appropriate form fields in the reflection form. 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 7/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm Task 23 – Submit the form. The task determined if users could navigate the Web interface to send the completed reflection form electronically.

Task 24 – Return to Assignment 5. Determines if users via the Web interface, can easily return to a designated page in the Web site. Task 25 – Go to the course evaluation survey. An evaluation form is included in this instructional unit to determine student attitudes and satisfaction levels with the instructional un it. This task measures if the Web interface allows the user to easily locate a survey on the site. Task 26 – Complete the course evaluation survey. This task determined if users using the Web interface, could easily navigate a form to reply to the questions. Task 27 – Submit the survey.

This task measures whether the Web interface allows users to easily submit form information electronically. Task 28 – Return to Assignment 5. This task measures the Web interface as it allows uses to return to designated pages in the Web site with ease. Task 29 – Go to the discussion forum. This task determined if the users could open the forum and is a test of the Web interface design and its ease of promoting discussion. Task 30 – Make a forum entry indicating that you have finished the usability evaluation. This task measures the Web interface design’s success with entering comments into a discussion forum.

Task 31 – Return to Assignment 5. This task measures the Web interface designs success with returning users to designated pages in the Web site. (N=31 navigational tasks) Non-task performance measures. Following Nielsen, (2000a) subjectusers were asked to use the ‘think aloud method’ in conjunction with performance measures. The quantitative measures to be evaluated included the: 1) amount of time to complete the task list, 2) number of errors per task, 3) number of users completing the task list successfully in the allotted time, and 4) attitude of users toward the Web interface.

In addition to the quantitative measures, the administrator collected qualitative data during and after the usability evaluation by each user. This UE was designed to measure the ease of undergraduate dental hygiene student user s navigation through the Oral Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers instructional unit prot otype Web interface. Although all task completion or non completion allowed for tests of the in terface, the following three questions focus more directly on navigation of the prototype Web interface: Do all the navigational links in this Web site work correctly?

Is the organization of this Web site consistent? Is there any confusing terminology regarding navigation and organization on this Web site? Results The success or failure on each task performed as well as the qualitative data collected from the 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 8/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability. htm post-test interview and the post-test questionnaire are reported. Because the tasks in the UE were short, the quantitative data collected was based on the entire task list and not on each task independently. Users had adequate time to complete the entire re-task list.

There were 31Website interface navigation tasks completed by three subject/users with a total of seven navigation errors. 1. User #1 took 20 minutes to successfully complete the task list with one Web interface navigation error. 2. User #2 took 18 minutes to successfully complete the task list with three Web interface navigation errors. 3. User #3 took 19 minutes to successfully complete the task list with three Web interface navigation errors Task 1 –Users #1 and #2 completed task #1 easily and were able to successfully open t he designated Web site without Web interface navigation error.

User #3 entered the Web site address in the search line of the Web browser, an error message was returned by the browser, and then the user entered the Web site address in the address line of the browser and was able to successfully access the home page of the instructional unit via the Web site interface. In this case the navigational error relates to lack of knowledge about where to type in a Web address in a Web browser. Task 2 – Read the instructions on the first page of the Web site and click on the link that your are directed to go to first.

User #1 asked, “Do I make the decision myself to go to assignment 1 or to the course syllabus? ” The administrator did not answer this question as the instructions on the Web page indicated the first link. This error, while not significant since both links take the student to the appropriate Web page to begin the instructional unit as well as the usability evaluation, could add user frustration to the mix. Users #2 and #3 use the Web site interface on the first page of the Web site to readily access the needed location.

Task 3, 4, and 5 – Click on Assignment 1 and enter your name and email address in the discussion forum. When this task is complete, return to Assignment 1. User #1 was unable to re adily use the Web interface to access the discussion forum. This user consistently scrolled to the bottom of any page before making any choices about where to go next. This scrolling is not considered an error in the prototype but could indicate that the Web interface design needs revision to stop this behavior. Once the discussion forum was accessed, this user asked, “Is this where I go to post my name? The administrator did answer in the affirmative and the user continued with the task. Upon completion of the discussion forum entry user #1 could not navigate back to the designated page. The administrator finally intervened and instructed the user to use the “back” button on the browser. The user then looked for the “back key” on the keyboard. Further instruction from the administrator got the user back on task. When user #2 realized that the task involved a discussion forum, the user indicated no previous 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 9/12 ttp://ojni. org/602/usability.htm experience with discussion forums of any type. Her response was “Am I being timed, because here is the first problem? ” The administrator reassured the user that there is as much time as needed to perform the task. Upon submission of the discussion forum entry, user #2 chose the “ back” button on the browser quickly. User #3 got to the discussion forum easily, but then asked, “Am I the subject? ” The administrator informed the user that the responses in the form fields did not matter and that any information could be entered in any field.

Upon submission of the form entries, user #3 used the “back” button on the browser but indicated that she thought only one click of the “back” button was sufficient. All users successfully completed the task. The Web interface design was not the culprit in these task struggles. Tasks 6, 7, 8, and 9 – Click on Assignment 2. Read the content on Apthous Ulcers. Click on the images to enlarge the view. Return to Assignment 2. Users #1 and #3 did not click on the images to view a larger version of the image. Both disregarded this portion of the task completely.

Perhaps the images were large enough for them. User #2 opened the larger view of the images and returned to the designated page in the Web site indicating no problem with the Web interface design in the area of enlarging images. All users returned to the designated page in the Web site, but only one user completed the entire task successfully. Tasks 10 and 11 – Answer the study questions in Assignment 2. When the study questions are all answered, return to Assignment 2. All users navigated through the study questions easily.

User #1 expressed embarrassment, because the administrator of the UE is also a faculty member in the Department of Dental Hygiene, and the user did not want the administrator to know if the answers to the study questions were incorrect. The administrator reminded user #1 that the answers to the questions were not the purpose of this evaluation. The Web site was being evaluated not the knowledge of the user. User #1 continued to navigate through the study questions, but indicated distress any time she chose an incorrect response to a study question.

It is assumed this frustration related to having to go back and continue to answer until the answer was correct before going on. User #2 quickly realized that the links chosen by user #1 were a different color. Since all users participated in the UE on the same computer, the visited hyperlinks were apparent. User #2 easily navigated the questions with much less distress about incorrect responses, because she realized that her peers had chosen incorrectly as well. User #3 also noticed the visited hyperlinks and navigated the questions without incident.

However, user #3 had a problem choosing answers because the hyperlink was on only one letter, the user had trouble positioning the mouse pointer exactly over the single letter link. The user clicked several times before realizing that the link area was very small. This indicates an area of the Web interface design that needs improvement. All users successfully completed these tasks. Tasks 12, 13, and 14 – Click on Assignment 3. Read Case 2. When you have finished return to Assignment 3. Users #1 and #3 quickly read the case and returned to the designated Web page.

User #2 appeared to have accidentally clicked the wrong link and could not locate Case 2. The administrator provided instruction because the user seemed frustrated. After the user located the correct page, there was no problem completing the task. Here it is hard to distinguish if this is a 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 10/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm Web interface design error or not. Tasks 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 – Click on Assignment 4. Fill in the form. Submit the form. Return to Assignment 4. This was the first form in the Web site.

User #1 began with “OK, what is this? ” The user had never filled in a form and submitted it through a Web site. Users #2 and #3 both accessed and filled in the required information in the form fields and returned to the designated Web page easily. User #1 took more time, but successfully completed the task. Tasks 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 – Click on Assignment 5. Go to the reflection form. Fill in the form. Submit the form. Return to Assignment 5. This was the second experience with the Web interface using a form. All three users accessed, filled in the form, and submitted the form without a problem.

Task 25, 26, 27, and 28 – Go to the course evaluation survey. Complete the course evaluation survey. Submit the survey. Return to Assignment 5. Users #1 and #2 had difficulty locating the survey link on the page. Once the survey evaluation link was located, no user had any difficulty completing the task. User #3 completed the task easily, but after submission of the form, the user clicked on the “back” button to return to the designated Web page in the site. As use r #3 clicked on the “back” button she said, “Is it erasing the form information if I am going back with the back button? The moderator assured her the action of the “back” button would not erase form input after submission. Task 29, 30, and 31 – Go to the Discussion Forum. Make a forum entry indicating that you have finished the UE. Return to Assignment 5. By task 31, all users were familiar with the site and had no trouble navigating the discussion forum and returning to the designated page in the Web site. Upon completion of the task list, each user had the opportunity to comment on the Web site and offer suggestions and opinions. The following were offered:

User #1 indicated that she would be more comfortable if the administrator had not bee n watching her progress. She indicated being watched so closely made her very nervous and she thought the site would have been much easier to navigate on her own. She indicated that she liked the set up of the Web interface and asked if there were going to be other sites like this for her use in the dental hygiene curriculum. User #2 indicated that she liked the site and thought it was easy to use. User #3 liked the site and would like similar sites for other topics in the dental hygiene curriculum.

She indicated that she did not like using the ‘back button’ after all the forms. All three users expressed nervousness about being watched by the administrator. Discussion A sample of three users completed this UE. Nielsen (2000b) indicates that three to five participants in a UE are adequate. Usability problems were identified in some part of nine of the ten primary tasks on the task list. In addition, some of the problems as told by the users, related to: 1) the administrator present during the UE was also a professor in the Department of Dental Hygiene in 3/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 11/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm which the user is a student, 2) the evaluation was conducted during the summer school session, and 3) all users were also students in the administrator’s class. Users reported being mo re nervous about the site content in the presence of this administrator. In future UE studies the usability administrator should be a neutral observer The questionnaire completed by the users following the usability evaluation demonstrated user satisfaction with the site.

Shneiderman (1998) suggests users should give their subjective impressions of the Web interface. All but one of the responses indicated that the users were satisfied with the site’s navigation and organization. The users indicated that the terminology used in the site was clear, they were able to complete the assigned tasks easily, the site met their needs, and the users liked the appearance of the site. The only responses not scored as satisfactory were related to using the “back button”. Overall, all three users indicated the ease of navigating the Web site interface was satisfactory. Recommendations

It is evident from the results of this UE that Web-based interfaces for instructional delivery should be evaluated for usability problems. Corrections, suggested by the results, to the Oral Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers instructional unit prototype and Web interface should be made and the site re-tested before continuing development of the remaining nine courses in the oral pathology Web-based instructional unit series. The usability evaluation of the Oral Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers Web-based instructional unit prototype resulted in the following recommendations for improvement to the Web site navigation and organization. . This may be one time when the use of standard link colors should be violated. Students using the same computer to complete an instructional unit would be able to discern the answers chosen by the student previously using the computer. Changes in the Web interface design for tests so that the link color does not change when a user chooses a particular response is recommended. 2. When assigning form submissions, provide a link to take the user back to the designated page in the Web site. The users in this UE did not like using the browser’s “back” button after completing the forms nor following entries to the discussion forum.

The Web site interface design will be changed so the confirmation pages following discussion forum postings and submission of forms will take the user back to the page accessed immediately prior to the form or discussion forum. 3. The hyperlinks for the answers to study questions were not large enough. Clicking on a one letter link made users have a hard time identifying the link. This Web site interface design will be corrected so that the entire cell in which the letter choices are located will be the hyperlink. Conclusions

The UE conducted on the Oral Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcers instructional unit prototype Web design interface proved to be a successful method for the determination of usability problems in a 13/3/2013 0:50 Usability Evaluation of a Web Design Interface 12/12 http://ojni. org/602/usability.htm Web-based instructional delivery method. The users identified usability problems with the Web interface as well as with their own skill or lack of skill with using any browser. Recommendations for revision have been identified by the researcher and will be implemented.

Authors Note

Should anyone wish to examine the Website and review the Herpes Simplex and Apthous Ulcer instructional unit prototype it can be accessed at http://www. etsu. edu/cpah/dental/dcte760/.


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