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Usability Report - Brain Power Math Beta

Usability Report - Brain Power Math Beta

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Published by Feargal Byrne
A report on the usability of Brain Power Math Beta e-learning software. It may be useful for software developers and instructional designers that are working on similar projects.
A report on the usability of Brain Power Math Beta e-learning software. It may be useful for software developers and instructional designers that are working on similar projects.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Feargal Byrne on Jun 17, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/18/2011

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National College of I reland 
Usability Testing ReporFoBrainpow er  
12 June 2009
 
Dr Stephan WeibelzahlAbi Reynolds
 
Ciara FlanaganDavid Byrne
 
Software can be downloaded from:http://www.brainpowermath.com/
 
Usability Report
 
2
Table of Contents
1
 
Sum m ary ................................................................................... 3 
 
 
I ntroduction ..............................................................................
 
2.1
 
National College of Ireland..............................................................4
 
2.2
 
Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching..............4
 
2.3
 
The National e-Learning Laboratory (NELL)........................................4
 
2.4
 
Brainpower Company Profile............................................................5
 
 
Research Methods and Design ................................................... 6 
 
3.1
 
User Study Protocol........................................................................6
 
3.2
 
Users...........................................................................................6
 
3.3
 
Test set-up...................................................................................7
 
3.4
 
Scenarios......................................................................................7
 
3.5
 
Specific Tasks................................................................................7
 
 
The User’s Experience ...............................................................
 
4.1
 
User 1..........................................................................................9
 
4.2
 
User 2.........................................................................................16
 
4.3
 
User 3.........................................................................................20
 
4.4
 
User 4.........................................................................................24
 
4.5
 
User 5.........................................................................................30
 
 
Usability of Brainpow er Application ........................................ 36 
 
5.1
 
Summary of Task Completion per User.............................................36
 
5.2
 
Usability Attributes of Brainpower....................................................36
 
 
Areas of Future Developm ent .................................................. 38 
 
6.1
 
Summary of Observations..............................................................39
 
6.2
 
Areas of Development....................................................................40
 
6.3
 
Usability attributes........................................................................41
 
Appendix 1: Questionnaire............................................................ 43 
 
Appendix 2: User I nstructions ...................................................... 48 
 
 
Usability Report
 
3
1 Summary
This report presents the findings of usability testing undertaken on Brainpower’srecently developed web-application which provides support to maths students.The application allows teachers to create, edit and author interactive e-learningassignments.This research was conducted by the National College of Ireland and usabilitytesting took place in NCI’s usability laboratory; National E-learning Laboratory(NELL).Five students, who were representative of the applications target group took partin usability testing. Users were observed performing a set of tasks in NCI’susability laboratory and their behaviour was then analysed using Observer XTtechnology. Users also completed an on-line pre- and post-test questionnaire andparticipated in a post-test interview. The table below summarises the main issuesthat emerged during usability testing:
MathematicalTools
All five students had difficulty in manipulating the
squareroot/fraction/division
and
bracket symbols
and testerintervention was called for in all cases.
QuestionStructure
All five students showed confusion in
selecting a paper first
beforestarting the actual test and were prompted with the error message.Three of the students expressed that they disliked the fact thesystem would only accept
one way of answering the question
 when in reality there were various ways of coming up with the sameanswer. Two of the students failed to see that the question came in
separate steps
and they thought that they could input all of theiranswers for the one question line by line. Four out of five studentsfailed to see that
pressing save
was a pre-requisite.
How to Guide
The majority of students found the how to guide useful; one said itkept to the point while another would like more detail given. One of the users would prefer it replaced with onscreen pop up hints.
Design andNavigation
Two of the students approved of the look and feel of the design withonly one student showing a strong dislike of the layout.
Usability; Ease of Use
Observed behaviour and user performance tells us all students haddifficulty using this system. All students also said that they did notfind it a straightforward process and may have given up using it,had tester not intervened.
OverallSatisfaction
The students liked the principle behind the programme and the hintsthat were provided but in general they felt the application wasfrustrating to operate.

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