A3: Heuristic Analysis of SCORE

Group: Joseph Bolling, Evan Strasnick, Jacob Simon, Farhan Abrol

Individual Analyses:
Jacob Simon and Evan Strasnick
Farhan Abrol
Joseph Bolling

i. Most Severe Problems

1. Login Failure, Login Hours, and Login Timeout

  • Heuristics violated: H1, H3, H5, H9
  • Description: We identified two related problems with the SCORE login process. First, users frequently have trouble signing in at all, it throws an error message or open up another window with the same signin screen without any prompts. Secondly , the login is restricted to certain hours, and the error message given is just “invalid signon time” which conveys no information about the reason why it is an invalid time.
    Timeout when navigating to see classes – Information about classes is scattered between Registrars page,Score, and course reviews. In the time it takes to navigate back and forth, SCORE times out the session and you need to sign in again
  • Suggestions: Simplify the login process with more detailed error messages, and navigation links to more information about them. When SCORE signs out automatically, it should have a link to sign in again, instead of a CLOSE WINDOW button.

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 3.48.31 PM

2. Navigation

  • Heuristics violated: H3, H4, H7, H8
  • Description: There are multiple kinds of navigation available. There are dropdown menus for going to grades etc. There is the top menu bar that has navigation links that don’t necessarily make any sense (Self Help?)
  • Suggestions: Unify navigation into one consistent format (dropdowns/navigation bar) so that information has a logical flow.

ii. Problems made easier to find 
Problems involving H5 and H9 were made easier to find. From first glance, it is hard to recognize where errors might occur. Similarly, H1 is not always thought about but equally important because it emphasizes the usefulness of feedback to the user. If you think about problems that users are likely to have beforehand, it makes easier to identify weak spots in the interface.

iii. Problems not identified through Neilen’s heuristics 
We listed the “Invalid Logon Time” error as a significant problem above, but another issue we had with the logon time restrictions was the fact that SCORE is locked down for a slightly longer period on Wednesdays. We find this issue confusing and inconveniencing, but since it pertains more to the behavior of SCORE itself rather than the usability of the interface, we had difficulty classifying it with the interface heuristics.

Similarly, we had difficulty classifying other features that were annoying, but which stemmed from fundamentally necessary security concerns-the 15 minute timed logoff is inconveniencing and very annoying, but it was implemented regardless of this fact because it makes SCORE more secure. The same is true of the convoluted sign-on process that requires at least three pieces of user information. While we understand the need for such features and don’t see a way to solve them using mere corrections to SCORE’s interface, we wonder if perhaps there is a change that could be implemented on a more fundamental level that would make them unnecessary. For now, we have difficulty fitting them within the framework of Nielson’s heuristics.

Possible discussion questions

  • differentiate between similar heuristics
  • classify problems with a system as either UI problems (fitting under the heuristics) and functionality/system problems
  • propose changes to an example violation of each heuristic