Human Computer Interaction - Sample Essay

I chose www. channel4. co. uk as the interface to evaluate and redesign for this assignment as this website intrested me the most. The method which I chose to evaluate this system was Shneiderman’s Golden Rules. This method was very useful for evaluating the usability of the system. I understood the usability aspects first and then related them to the Channel4 website. The methods used for capturing user requirements were Observation, Questionnaire and Survey.. These methods were chosen because they were Easy, Cost Effective and Time Effective.

The results which I obtained were very useful for redesigning the website. I found out what different users needs were and what users wanted to remain on the website, taken off, added to, and changed on the website. I chose to do a paper based prototypefor my system because it was simple, cheap and quick. If I had to do this assignment again, I would use Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules to identify the usability of the system, as I found them very useful both to understand and apply to the website.

I would also use the ‘Ten Heuristics’ to evaluate the website and get a broader picture of usability in evaluating the system. As well as using Observation, Questionnaire and Survey to capture the user requirements I would also like to Interview some of the users, so that I could get a broader picture of what users want in the redesign of the website. As I only had six users to complete the set task, I was unable to get different ideas of changes to make in the redesign. In the future I would ask more users (maybe 10 different users) to complete at least three different tasks.

By doing this, the users would experience more interaction with the Channel4 website and would comment more on the results they would achieve from the task, and also whether they were able to complete the task accurately, in a minimum amount of time. If I had to redesign the website I would still choose to do a paper based prototype but as well as that I would redesign the website, in detail, using Netscape Composer or Dream Weaver. This reason for doing this would be so that users could see the colours used, text size, images, pictures and search boxes etc on the website.

I would make sure that the hyperlinks worked so that the users were able to complete the tasks. I enjoyed doing this assignment because it required a lot of research and knowledge prior to evaluating the website and it also required a lot of testing to be done before knowing what the users needs were and what changes needed to be made to the website. Most of all I enjoyed redesigning the website because I was clear of what the users wanted to remain, taken off, added and changed on the webpage.

I enjoyed testing the prototype on users and was pleased to see that users liked the changes which I had made in the redesign. The major problem which I encountered whilst doing this assignment was finding different types of users to complete the set task. As I had to complete the assignment as an individual I had to make sure that all three users were used to do the task ie Novice, Frequent and Expert User’s needs and views were taken into account. I managed to find one novice user, three frequent users and two expert users.

This was really good as it helped me in the redesign of the website. It also proved that each user type did have different needs which I needed to cater for. Having completed the assignment I feel that I would be able to explain the usability of any website/interface and would be able to identify usability problems including psychological problems of the system, and as well as that I would be able to evaluate any system in detail. I could explain the different users and stakeholders and relate them to any system.

I could also explain the various methods of capturing user requirements, stating the advantages and disadvantages of each method. I feel that my understanding of this topic has developed and enhanced very much, the main reason is because this assignment required a lot of research and reading to be done beforehand. Also all the reading had to be related to the system which I had chosen. I now have a clear picture of what users like to see on websites and what things interest and attract them to using the website.

I also have a deeper knowledge of how users interact with their system. By asking users to complete tasks I also gained more knowledge about what users look for on a website, the things they like to see, for example pictures and things they find annoying, like the movement or popup adverts. I have come to a conclusion that users like their website to be attractive so that they enjoy using it, this also makes them want to use the system more. Users also like to take minimum amount of steps to complete a task.