Pride in my Work

Usability: an analysis

Because I take pride in my work I shall let my inner geek arise and show itself. Today I want to discuss Usability. Before I being my ramblings and confuse you beyond repair we will start with a definition.

Jakob Nielsen defines usability as the following:
“Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word ‘usability’ also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.”

A website can be deemed usable or not by analyzing a great many areas of its content, which is why it is important to view some guidelines first. You can view a list of guideline topics at Usability.gov. I chose to address 5 usability issues with the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library website. Hope on board and ride with my down Usability lane.

My five issues:

  1. Page Layout
  2. Navigation
  3. Text appearance
  4. Graphics, images and multimedia use
  5. Lists

A view of my complete analysis of the website can be viewed here, for a brief list of points analyzed and their ratings  continue reading.

Page Layout: what are we looking for?

Okay, so we know we need to be aware of our page layout but what does that mean? What are we being aware of, how awesome it looks? Maybe but the guidelines we want to incorporate include: Content list

  • order of elements/  most important on top = 5 stars
  • text line lengths/ are they too long? = 4 stars
  • white space/ is it too busy? = 3 stars
  • item alignment/ is there a consistency? = 4 stars
  • page length/ am I scrolling to infinity and beyond? = 4 stars

Navigation: is it effective and efficient?

When we navigate a webpage we want to utilize the time we are there searching. Come on we are busy people we have places to go people to be…I mean see. Content list

  • Clickable page of contents on long pages/ is there one? = 4 stars
  • “Dead End” pages/ do they exist? = 5 stars
  • Navigation scheme/ do they conform? = 5 stars
  • Site Map = 5 stars
  • glosses/ is this where I want to go? = 0 stars

Text Appearance: visual consistency?

Our eyes do alot of work, we need them don’t make us lose them sooner than we have to. Content list

  • Consistency in format = 5 stars
  • Bold text/ sparing? = 5 stars
  • Familiar fonts = 5 stars
  • Black text on Plain backgrounds = 4 stars
  • Visual consistency = 5 stars

Graphics, images and multimedia: less is more

More often than not over abundance of hi-tech multimedia drives away all the hi-techy’s. Keep it useful not boastful. Content list

  • Logo/ is there one? = 5 stars
  • Simple background/ can I read your text easily? = 4 stars
  • Graphics used are meaningful and don’t bog down the page = 5 stars
  • Limited image use = 5 stars
  • Click-able images are labeled/ do I know where this image goes? = 4 stars

Lists: titles and introductions please

Content list

  • Order of elements/ most important on top =5 stars
  • Ease of scanning = 3.5 stars
  • Introduction/ do I know why there is a list? = 5 stars
  • Begin with 1/ 0 is a space waster = N/A, most lists were bullets not numbers
  • Style appropriate/ numbers are for counting = 5 stars
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