iTunes is a digital media player software by Apple. It is relatively new, introduced in 2001as an interface to manage the content of the digital media device, iPod (Ars Technica, 2004). Thesoftware has a number of different functions, which include the playing of music files and themanagement of files on external devices, namely iPod and iPhone.I chose this system to base my heuristic evaluation on because the system is so popular andis used my millions of users the world over. It will be interesting to see how the usability might beone of the reasons for the system's popularity. As well as this, Apple and iPod systems arerenowned for being easy-to-use. A personal example of this is when I first opened my iPod Touch,there was no instructions included with the package. This, no doubt, shows the designers'confidence in the usability of the device. If there is such a confidence in the device's usability, itwill be interesting for me to research into the usability of the related program.The key tasks I have chosen to evaluate according to Jakob Nielsen's ten heuristics includeimporting music from a CD, organising a selection of these files into a playlist and synchronizingthis playlist with an external device (iPod). I have chosen these particular tasks as each is a veryimportant and commonly used task on this system. Analysing the usability of these tasks will giveme an accurate evaluation of the overall software.
Heuristics are, literally,
(Pearl, 1983). Heuristic evaluation is a technique devised byexperts to test the usability of a system. The user interface of a system is assessed using tenusability heuristics which have been devised by Jakob Nielsen. Nielsen describes the heuristics as
a method for finding the usability problems in a user interface design so that they can be attended to as part of an iterative design process
Nielsen (2005)Evaluators examine the interface and note the compliance of the interface with the heuristics(Nielsen, 2005 1).The reason we need to apply Nielsen's list of ten heuristics is to examine the usability of theinterface according to the most important “rules”. Should the system comply with these rules, it is permitted to move on from the 'evaluation' stage of the iterative design process to the deployment of the system. If it doesn't comply, the developers need to revert back to the design stage to alter thesystem so as to avoid the problems highlighted during the evaluation.