calendar

Type of user
My typical user will be a university student. The user will have a lot of experience using
computers to do various tasks.

RESULTS

Live Calendar

AVERAGE DURATION TO COMPLETE A TASK: 47.4 SECONDS

The Usability of Live
Calendar and Google
Calendar

Task No.

I didn't
feel lost.

This task
was easy.

1
2
2
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total

2
2
0
2
2
-1
-1
1
0
2
9

2
2
1
1
2
0
0
1
1
2
12

I didn't
make a lot
of errors.
0Matt Zeller
2
0
2
2
-2
-1
0
1
2
6

I would enjoy using
this in the future

Sum of scores

1
2
2
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
13

5
8
3
6
8
-2
-1
3
3
7
40

Table 1: Score of Likert Scales from each task. Scale ranges from -2 to 2. The more points, the better.

Affordance:

I was able to make complete all tasks.

Constraint:
extent.

I was able to complete all tasks to the fullest

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Matt Zeller

The Usability of Live Calendar and Google Calendar

Page | 1

INTRODUCTION
This white paper reports the usability testing of Windows’ Live Calendar and Google’s
Google Calendar. These are two online calendar applications, capable of forming schedules.
These products were tested in order to determine which product performed best. The usability
test applies to university student users. It’s expected that a potential user would have a lifetime
of experience working with computers. The writer of this document did the testing.

METHODOLOGY
The usability test consisted of carrying out ten tasks. The tasks are as follows.
1. Schedule an all-day event for the eighth of November.
2. Set a 24-hour reminder for this event. In addition to the 24-hour reminder, set a 1-week
reminder.
3. Schedule an event that occurs every Monday from 9:00 A.M. Mountain Time to 10:00
A.M. Mountain Time between the dates of October 12, 2014 and November 12, 2014.
4. Schedule an event that occurs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 A.M.
Mountain Time to 10:00 A.M. Mountain Time between the dates of November 12, 2014
and December 12, 2014.
5. Delete the event that occurs on Monday, November 3, 2014 without deleting any other
of the re-occurring events.
6. Look at a weekly view of the week between November 2 and November 8, 2014.
7. Look at a daily view of November 2, 2014
8. Assign a location of 174 Oak St. to the event on the eighth of November.
9. Describe or note the event of the eighth of November as “Meet with Dr. Andrews.”
10. Change the time zone from Mountain Time to Pacific Time for the reoccurring Monday
event that begins on October 12, 2014. Make sure the time stays 9:00 A.M. to 10:00
A.M. Pacific Time.
The tests were done one after another, with the first test starting at 6:30 P.M. on a
Saturday night. A keyboard, mouse, and widescreen monitor were used during the test. The
computer used to run the test operates on Windows 7. The computer runs on eight GB of RAM
and two 1.7 GHz processors, along with an upgraded video card.
After each task was completed, the time it took to complete the task was recorded, notes
about the experience were written down, and Likert scales were completed. The Likert scales
used the following statements.
-

I didn't feel lost.
This task was easy.
I didn't make a lot of errors.

Matt Zeller
-

The Usability of Live Calendar and Google Calendar

Page | 2

I would enjoy using this in the future

Each statement received a score between negative two and positive two, with negative two
meaning strongly disagree. These points were then added up to indicate an overall rating of
usability.
The average duration to complete a task was also calculated.

RESULTS
Live Calendar

AVERAGE DURATION TO COMPLETE A TASK: 47.4 SECONDS

Tasks

I didn't
feel lost.

This task
was easy.

1
2
2
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total

2
2
0
2
2
-1
-1
1
0
2
9/20

2
2
1
1
2
0
0
1
1
2
12/20

I didn't
make a lot
of errors.
0
2
0
2
2
-2
-1
0
1
2
6/20

I would enjoy using
this in the future

Sum of scores

1
2
2
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
13/20

5
8
3
6
8
-2
-1
3
3
7
40

Table 2: Score of Likert Scales from each task. Scale ranges from -2 to 2. The more points, the better.

Affordance:

I was able to make complete all tasks.

Constraint:

I was able to complete all tasks to the fullest
extent.

Ease-of-Use:

The tasks were completed easily.

Aesthetics:

The calendar looks clean. The colors add
Figure 1. Window popping up
some pop, making it interesting. When
scheduling an event, clicking on the date and after clicking on a day
hitting “view details” (figure 1) slides a panel
(figure 2) onto the left side of the page smoothly. This gives a tactile
sensation. Finding days or months functions just as it might with a real
calendar, the interface makes sense.

Visibility/
Functionality:

Features are easily found while scanning the calendar.

Matt Zeller

The Usability of Live Calendar and Google Calendar

Feedback:

A window appears to notify you any time
you complete a command.
The calendar is easy to navigate.
Completing complex tasks, like task four,
can lead to some errors, but the errors are
easy to correct.

Mapping:

Time/False Starts:

Page | 3

All tasks are completed quickly. Completing
complex tasks, like task four, can lead to a
few false starts.

Figure 2: Window displaying extra
information

Google Calendar
Task
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total

I didn't
feel lost.
2
2
1
1
2
1
2
2
2
1
16/20

AVERAGE DURATION TO COMPLETE A TASK: 19 SECONDS
This task
was easy.
2
2
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
1
17/20

I didn't make a lot
of errors.
2
2
2
2
2
-1
2
1
2
2
16/20

I would enjoy using this
in the future
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
2
19/20

Table 3: Score of Likert Scales from each task. Scale ranges from -2 to 2. The more points, the better.

Affordance:

I was able to do the tasks.

Constraint:

There were no constraints.

Ease-of-Use:

The tasks were completed easily.

Sum of
scores
8
8
6
6
8
3
8
7
8
6
68/80

Matt Zeller

The Usability of Live Calendar and Google Calendar

Aesthetics:

Although the text on the margins of the calendar is slightly distracting,
the calendar looks clean overall. The color scheme matches Google’s logo
and this looks good. The calendar has an organized yet capable look.

Visibility/
Functionality:

Feedback:

The calendar functioned like a
physical calendar would. Arrows
near the name of the month
make it easy to figure out how to
switch months. A window will
pop up when clicking on a day
(figure 3). The “Edit event” link
brings up another
page (figure 4). All
the features needed
to schedule events
are found here.
Hitting “Task” as
shown in the
window in figure 3
allows more
functionality. Tasks
act differently than
events. Tasks can be
crossed off and
moved from day to
day.
A window appears
to notify that a
command has been
completed after
every command.

Page | 4

Figure 3. Window popping up after clicking on a
day

Figure 4: Window displaying extra options and information

Mapping:

The calendar functions in an organized fashion. This helps a user avoid
feeling lost.

Time/False Starts:

Very few errors were made during testing.

Matt Zeller

The Usability of Live Calendar and Google Calendar

Page | 5

RECOMMENDATIONS
Live Calendar and Google Calendar are strong competitors. Each provides the same
functionality, albeit in slightly different ways. Each allows the user to complete tasks in a time
that is expected for using a calendar. Both applications run smoothly and look good.
The two applications are neck in neck, but the quantitative data provided here shows a
strong lead for Google Calendar. On average, Google Calendar is twice as fast when it comes to
getting things done. Secondly, Google Calendar appears to be 70% more usable. Live Calendar
and Google Calendar will both do just as well to help you plan. But if we’re being picky, Google
Calendar is the right choice.

Total Score of Likert Scales
80
70
60
50

Live Calendar

40

Google Calendar

68

30
20

40

10
0

Average Task Duration
50
40
30
Seconds
20

Live Calendar
47.4

Google Calendar
27.8

10
0
Figure 5: Graphical representations of the differences in usability and average task duration between Live Calendar and
Google Calendar