Assignment 3: Heuristic Evaluation
Some of the most severe problems in SCORE include lack of address authentication and inability to login to SCORE for a certain amount of time and having terse and unhelpful error messages which did not facilitate recovery whatsoever. While SCORE does ask for the user to double check if his/her address is correct, SCORE itself will not check if the address is authentic. This error would fall under H5 (error prevention). SCORE should be capable of detecting obvious bad input such as “hodge podge” with simple (or complex) regular expressions. Also the inability to login would fall under H9 (help users recover from errors). This was further compounded by lack of helpful messages. One proposed solution was to provide more helpful error messages that would allow the user to have an approach to recover from this message. Either by providing a list of steps to check the user’s situation.
I think that one good final exam question might be: develop a set of heuristic that you might use to evaluate an interface. The Nielsen heuristics are absolutely helpful in parsing the components of an interface and checking that it works in a way that is helpful and useful, but if you don’t think in that way or perhaps if you think that some of the heuristics are necessary or should be evaluated in a different way, you might want to use a different set of standards to judge an interface by.
One other suitable question that could be posed on an exam might be something like the following: some components of the heuristic evaluation are arguably more important than others in terms of the overall experience (the inability to undo in a text-editing program might be a much more egregious flaw than a bogged down interface). Which heuristics would you consider to be the most significant or important when evaluating a couple sample interfaces, such as:
Text editing software,
Image design software, or
While there are many elements of the list of heuristics that would surface while exploring an interface without an explicit list, Nielsen’s list of heuristics makes it more likely that you will explore parts of the program that one might not have otherwise looked at. H9-help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors-, for example, makes it far more likely that we will try to deliberately break the software. This goes beyond finding situations that confuse us to actively trying to confuse the software.
H10, help and documentation, is also something that evaluators don’t usually think about when assessing the usability of the program. We tend to assume that help documentation is a section to be avoided because users go there only if they’re confused. Nonetheless, many applications get to the point of complexity where not everything can be understood at first glance. Help documentation is key in these cases.
This could just be a derivative of H8 (Aesthetic and minimalist design), but we’d like to draw attention to fact that color scheme and element decoration in an application’s design is super-important. No doubt, SCORE is an eyesore. Students want to log out as soon as possible so spare their inner design conscience. The choice of various shades of blue is sickening. The occasional burst of sea green in the buttons does not help much.
Links to Original Observations: