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USE OF EXPERTS' GAZE BY NOVICE USABILITY

PRACTITIONERS TO PERFORM A BETTER HEURISTIC


EVALUATION

Sree Anirudh J Bhandaram

5/19/2010
CONTENTS

Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 1

Use of Eye Tracking in this study ................................................................................................ 1

Heuristic Evaluations................................................................................................................... 2

Background ..................................................................................................................................... 3

Expert-novice research ............................................................................................................... 3

Heuristic Evaluation .................................................................................................................... 5

Cued retrospective analysis ........................................................................................................ 6

Motivation for the study ............................................................................................................. 7

Aim of study ................................................................................................................................ 7

Hypotheses ................................................................................................................................. 8

Method ........................................................................................................................................... 8

Participants ................................................................................................................................. 8

Test Instruments ......................................................................................................................... 9

Equipment ................................................................................................................................. 10

Metrics ...................................................................................................................................... 10

Experiment Design .................................................................................................................... 11

Procedure .................................................................................................................................. 11

References .................................................................................................................................... 14

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INTRODUCTION

Proficiency in conducting heuristic evaluations does not come easily; it is an acquired skill that

takes years to master. It is often difficult to convey an effective evaluation strategy through a

verbal approach. While communicating verbally, people may prompt to where they focus their

attention, but this is difficult to convey. Through an eye tracking study, the relationship

between an expert’s gaze while performing a task and a novice’s learning to better perform a

heuristic evaluation will be explored. Novices concentrate on basic, but irrelevant parts of a

task while processing complex stimuli whereas experts process stimuli quicker while focusing

on relevant aspects (Jarodzka et al., 2009). Finding a way to convey this to a novice would make

a novice's approach quicker and more efficient than before. It has already been shown in a

couple of different domains that watching an expert’s gaze is useful to novices in performing

certain tasks (Stein et al. 2004, Jarodzka et al. 2009). Through this study, it will be shown that

this method of knowledge transfer can be extended to the heuristic evaluation process.

USE OF EYE TRACKING IN THIS STUDY

Conventional usability evaluation techniques do not provide information about a participant’s

visual attention while performing a task. In addition, studies do not use eye tracking because

they can obtain required results through standard methods. More often than not, participants

are not aware of what they see even when their eyes fixate on that element on screen (Mack,

A., & Rock, I., 2000). Also, participants are biased in reporting their own behavior due to several

factors. A study conducted by Schiessl et al. (2003) shows a disconnection between self-

reported data (what they say) and eye tracking data (what they actually attend to). This results

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in the skewing of data in usability studies. Eye tracking studies help us determine where a

person looks, which in turn helps us understand what parts of the interface get the most visual

attention. This is important to study because a gaze replay of experts will be used to convey

visual attention to a novice, which will help a novice understand the expert’s intentions better

than just the expert’s verbalization of actions.

HEURISTIC EVALUATIONS

Heuristic Evaluation is a popular and most used Usability Evaluation Method (UEM) (Law, E.

L.C., & Hvannberg, E. T., 2004). A typical heuristic evaluation is conducted by one or more

experts and is based on Nielsen’s ten recommended heuristics (Nielsen, J., & Molich, R., 1990).

The time taken to conduct an evaluation is based on the complexity of the interface. It may

typically take an hour or two. There are no step-by-step instructions on how to perform a

heuristic evaluation. An evaluator usually scans the interface a few times and develops a list of

obvious design features based on the ten heuristics. The outcome of an evaluation is usually a

list of design characteristics including good design elements and usability flaws categorized by

the respective heuristic. While it is often not probable that one evaluator would identify all

positive and negative elements in an interface, more than one evaluation by different

evaluators is recommended. Another factor is the experience of the evaluator. Although

heuristic evaluations are clear, cheap and easy to conduct, they are open-ended and can

produce unreliable results (Nielsen, J., & Molich, R., 1990, Chattratichart, J., & Lindgaard, G.

2008). When even experienced usability professionals can miss issues, it is easy for novices to

miss major problems in an evaluation. Learning from an expert would extend a novice’s

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expertise in heuristic evaluations. Experts also use different knowledge-based shortcuts while

conducting tasks. Passing this on to novices would also facilitate quick and effective evaluation.

BACKGROUND

EXPERT-NOVICE RESEARCH

A study conducted by Stein, R., & Brennan, S. E. (2004) showed that experts’ eye gaze as an

input can help novice programmers code better. This study was conducted in two phases.

Phase 1 had four experts debugging code for three Java programs. They were asked to use the

retrospective think aloud protocol. They found a total of eight bugs. Each expert was given up

to ten minutes to find the bugs. The study chose 8 out of the 32 recorded videos for use in

phase two. These videos were chosen based on factors like success, accuracy, length, typicality

and insightfulness. Each video was between 30 to 150 seconds in length. Phase 2 had 6

programmers divided into two groups of 3. Each programmer was asked to find 8 bugs in the

code. The first group was informed that they would watch videos of experts finding out some,

but not all bugs. The other group was not shown any videos at all. The programmers who

watched videos were allowed to view the videos as many times as they wanted because

memory load was not being tested in this study.

The findings of the study by Stein, R., & Brennan, S. E. (2004) suggest that it may be confusing

for a novice to watch an expert’s eye gaze that follows a complex path. Also, if an expert

switches between two sections of the code while debugging it, there might be a connection

between these two parts. The study also suggests that novices may be able to identify the

section where a bug may occur, but not the bug itself. This is advantageous as the expert is not

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directly showing the broken code. The authors recommend the use of an expert’s voice through

retrospective think-aloud protocol to help novices beyond just watching an experts gaze replay.

By looking at novices’ eye gaze, we can better determine their state of (mis)understanding.

Another study conducted by Jarodzka et al. (2009) showed how displaying experts’ eye gaze to

novices was helpful in completing complex tasks with rich visual components. Novices tend to

concentrate on “saliency rather than to those aspects that are relevant for task performance”

(Lowe, 1999; cited in Jarodzka et al. 2009, pg.2920) while processing complex stimuli. On the

other hand, experts focus on more relevant aspects. This may be attributed to the experts’

years of experience and the quality of this experience. It was also noted that experts tend to

use knowledge based shortcuts. The study had to address a design issue: should several

experts’ average gaze be displayed instead of one? They chose to include the gaze of one

expert instead of an average of several experts. Results showed that, if a participant’s eye

movement closely matched that of an expert during communication, the better was the

understanding of that participant.

The study was conducted using 51 students, five of which were excluded due to poor eye

tracking data. Out of these 46, 32 were female students and 14 were male students. The

participants were divided into two groups: The Control Group and the Gaze Display group. The

control group had 24 participants and the gaze display group had 22 participants. All the

participants were shown four videos. Participants were evaluated based on a free description of

the locomotive pattern of the fish shown in the videos. The participant was asked to look at an

expert’s gaze replay video and then a fixation cross was displayed appeared for two seconds

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before the video began; the participant’s eye movements were recorded. The control group

watched unaltered videos of the locomotion pattern, whereas the gaze display group watched

videos superimposed with gaze data.

The study uncovered two issues while modeling an expert’s behavior. Firstly, the task needed to

be analyzed in detail which was accomplished by comparing experts and novices while

performing the task. For some tasks requiring additional perceptual skills, eye tracking proved

to be the method of choice. Secondly, the modeling according to task analysis was also an issue.

A common problem is that experts perform tasks using shortcuts, modeling these shortcuts to

novices lacking an understanding of these shortcuts is useless; thus experts were instructed to

behave in a “didactical” manner. Although shortcuts are not desirable at a novice level, they are

extremely effective at a higher level of expertise. The study suggests that future research could

include showing participants gaze displays of several experts. It is already shown that learning

from multiple approaches to solve a problem is beneficial (Atkinson et. Al., 2000; cited in

Jarodzka et al. 2009, pg.2924).

HEURISTIC EVALUATION

A paper by Law, E. L., & Hvannberg, E. T. (2004) studied two strategies for improving the

effectiveness of Heuristic Evaluation: selection of usability guidelines and provision of support

and training. The authors compared Nielsen’s ten usability heuristics to Gerhardt-Powals’

cognitive engineering principles (Gerhardt-Powals, 1996; cited in Law, E. L.-C., & Hvannberg, E.

T., 2004) (see Table 1). According to the findings of this study, Nielsen’s heuristics are more

effective than Gerhardt-Powals’ cognitive engineering principles in capturing actual usability

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problems. Nielsen’s heuristics are relatively easy to comprehend because they are written in

simple, commonly used sentences, whereas Gerhardt-Powals’ principles are presented in

difficult technical terms. In addition, Nielsen’s heuristics are well known to novice and expert

usability practitioners and thus will be the usability evaluation method of choice for this study.

1. Automate unwanted workload


2. Reduce uncertainty
3. Use data - reduce cognitive load by bringing together lower level
data into a higher level summation
4. Present new information with meaningful aids to interpretation
5. Use names that are conceptually related to function
6. Group data in consistently meaningfully ways to decrease search
time
7. Limit data-driven tasks
8. Include in the displays only that information needed by the users at
a given time
9. Provide multiple coding of data
10. Practice judicious redundancy
Table 1. Gerhardt-Powals’ principles (Gerhardt-Powals, 1996; cited in Law, E. L., & Hvannberg, E. T. 2004)

CUED RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS

The think-aloud method is a common usability method used to report what a participant is

thinking about while performing a task. The two most commonly used think-aloud methods are

Concurrent Think Aloud (CTA) and Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA). Both these methods have a

few issues of their own. According to a study by Van Gog et al. (2005), RTA contains less

information than CTA because RTA only references the actual actions performed by the

participants during the task. In addition, participants forget their actions and may also fabricate

information while reporting via the RTA method. According to another study conducted by

Guan et al. (2006), CTA may have detrimental effects like distraction, inattention and change in

approach when performing a task because a participant is concentrating on the task while also

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concurrently reporting his thoughts. In order to overcome these problems a technique called

Cued Retrospective Reporting (CRR) as proposed in the study by Van Gog et al. (2005) will be

used. In the CRR method, a participant first performs the regular task without any think aloud

reporting. After completing a task, a participant performs a RTA using the gaze replay video of

that task. The gaze replay is the cue for the RTA method. This way, a participant would generate

more information than RTA. The participant’s verbalization is then superimposed over the

existing gaze replay video to form a composite video that will serve as the treatment for this

study.

MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY

Heuristic Analyses are open-ended and can produce unreliable results (Chattratichart, J., &

Lindgaard, G. 2008). For a novice usability practitioner, it is easy to come up with false positives

(Bailey et. al., 1992) and unreliable results while uncovering usability problems through a

heuristic evaluation. Expert usability practitioners perform better heuristic evaluations than

novices owing to practice and experience. This study will provide a better learning methodology

through which a novice can perform better heuristic evaluations through the use of an expert’s

eye gaze replay and verbalization.

AIM OF STUDY

The aim of this study is to verify that novice usability practitioners who have seen a gaze replay

of expert usability practitioners would perform better heuristic evaluations when compared to

others who have not. This comparison will be made with respect to the number of usability

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problems uncovered, relevance of the mentioned usability problem to a heuristic, and the

fixation duration on a predetermined Area of Interest.

HYPOTHESES

H1: The treatment group will uncover a higher number of usability problems than the control

group

H2: The treatment group will be more effective in performing a heuristic evaluation

H3: The average fixation duration within an Area of Interest for the treatment group will be less

than the fixation duration of a control group.

METHOD

PARTICIPANTS

This research study would have at least 12 HCI students as (novice) participants. The

participants are required to have conducted a minimum of one heuristic analysis in the past

year. Participants will be randomly assigned to two groups: Control Group, which will evaluate a

website without watching experts gaze, and Treatment Group, which will evaluate a website

after watching experts gaze video. Participants will be recruited from the Rochester Institute of

Technology population. The following specifies the attributes of each category:

Definitions:

• Novice usability practitioners are graduate and undergraduate students who have taken

an introductory course in Human-Computer Interaction, and have performed a formal

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heuristic evaluation at least once in the past year. The “novices” will be given

introductory materials as a reminder and asked to familiarize themselves with Nielsen’s

list of ten heuristics (see Table 2).

• Expert usability practitioners are experienced in both HCI and usability evaluations.

Professors and/or usability engineers who have at least five years of experience in HCI

will be recruited as “experts”. In addition, an expert would have performed at least 10

heuristic evaluations.

1. Visibility of system status


2. Match between system and the real world
3. User control and freedom
4. Consistency and standards
5. Error prevention
6. Recognition rather than recall
7. Flexibility and efficiency of use
8. Aesthetic and minimalist design
9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from
errors
10. Help and documentation
Table 2. Nielsen’s heuristics (Nielsen, J., & Molich, R., 1990)

TEST INSTRUMENTS

The study would use the following materials: (See Appendix)

• Screener

• List of Nielsen’s usability heuristics with brief descriptions.

• Problem Report Template. To be adapted from Lavery et al. (1996).

• Post-Evaluation Questionnaire

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EQUIPMENT

The study will use an SMI iView-X RED eye tracker with a data rate of 60Hz or 250Hz. The Eye

tracker is a remote (non obtrusive) eye tracker. The eye tracker is positioned below the test

monitor and captures a corneal reflection with a range of 60cm - 80cm. The SMI automatically

calibrates and shows calibration results. If the calibration is incorrect, the participant can be

recalibrated. The SMI comes bundled with an application called BeGaze, which has a set of

analysis tools for Area’s of Interest (AOI), Knowledge Performance Indicators (KPI), scan paths,

attention maps and more. BeGaze works on data saved by the experiment.

METRICS

(Other metrics would be identified after conducting a pilot test)

• Success rate: The success between the control group and treatment group will be compared

based on the number of design features uncovered and the validity of the problems.

• Fixation duration within an Area of Interest: The duration of fixations in seconds within an

AOI will be recorded and compared between the treatment group and control group. If the

time spent on an AOI is less as a result of watching an expert's gaze video, it is better.

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EXPERIMENT DESIGN

This study will use a single factor between-subjects design. There will be two participant groups

and two websites. The participants are divided into two groups, the Control Group and

Treatment Group. The participants in the control group will not watch any gaze replay videos.

They will perform a heuristic evaluation in website-B. Participants in the treatment group will

watch the treatment video obtained at the end of Cued Retrospective Reporting phase. The

treatment video is a consolidated video consisting of an expert’s gaze replay and verbalization

of website-A. After participants watch the treatment video, they would perform a heuristic

evaluation on website-B. Only HCI students from the RIT population are recruited as

participants for the second phase of the study. Participants in both control group and treatment

group are tested in the same eye tracking lab, and on the same equipment to eliminate the

effect of environmental differences in between-subjects design. Further, both groups will have

the same number of participants with a similar background. In the treatment group, all

participants will watch the same treatment video. Lastly, students are assigned at random to

both groups.

PROCEDURE

Participants will be recruited through a website and selected on the basis of satisfying the

following criteria:

1. Participants must be usability professionals (novice or expert, see participant

description).

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2. Participants must have performed heuristic evaluations (at least one evaluation by

novices and at least ten evaluations by experts).

3. Participants have not visited website-A or website-B before.

The study is carried out in two phases. In phase 1, one or two expert usability practitioners will

perform a heuristic evaluation on both website-A and website-B (See Appendix D). The expert is

informed that his gaze replay would be used as treatment in phase 2 of the study, and is

instructed to perform the evaluation in a didactical manner so that a novice can understand

what the expert is doing by watching the treatment video. Once the evaluation is completed,

the experts will be asked to perform a cued retrospective reporting, i.e., experts will be asked

to describe what they looked at based on their gaze replay. This whole process is expected take

about 30 minutes to complete. The expert’s voice-over will then be added to the gaze video.

This video consisting of the gaze replay and the expert’s verbalization is the composite video.

This process is repeated for all the experts. One video will be chosen as the treatment based on

validity (was the heuristic evaluation satisfactory?), clarity (Is the gaze replay clear and easy to

follow?) and run-time (shortest video will be chosen) after compiling gaze replay videos from all

the experts. Videos that have audio/video issues will not be chosen. This final chosen

composite video serves as the treatment in phase 2.

In phase 2, participants in the control group and treatment group perform a heuristic

evaluation of website-B. Participants are randomly assigned to each of the groups. The study is

conducted in individual sessions. Participants in the control group perform a heuristic

evaluation without watching the treatment video. Participants in the treatment group will first

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watch a treatment video of an expert performing a heuristic evaluation on website-A, and are

instructed to perform a heuristic evaluation on website-B. Before beginning their heuristic

evaluation, all novices are asked to perform a common task on website-B (See Appendix E). The

novice is asked to perform a task so that he/she is familiar with the website. Novices are given a

heuristics template that they have to complete. The heuristics template will have 3 or 5

heuristics and some space for participant’s comments. The heuristic evaluation is timed and will

have to complete in less than 10 minutes. Once a participant completes a heuristic evaluation,

he will hand over the heuristic template to the test administrator. After this, the participants

are handed a post test questionnaire to complete. They will then be thanked and are free to

leave. A t-test will be used to analyze the collected data to verify that there is a statistical

difference between the two groups.

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REFERENCES

Bailey RW, Allan RW, Raiello P. Usability Testing vs. Heuristic Evaluation: A Head-To-Head
Comparision. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 36th Annual Meeting.
Atlanta, Georgia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; 1992:409-413.

Chattratichart, J., & Lindgaard, G. (2008). A comparative evaluation of heuristic-based usability


inspection methods. In CHI '08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing
systems. Florence, Italy: ACM.

Guan, Z., Lee, S., Cuddihy, E., & Ramey, J. (2006). The validity of the stimulated retrospective
think-aloud method as measured by eye tracking. In Conference on Human Factors in
Computing Systems. ACM.

Jarodzka, H., Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., van Gog, T., & Dorr, M. (2009). How to Convey Perceptual
Skills by Displaying Experts’ Gaze Data. COGSCI (pp. 2920-2925). Amsterdam.

Lavery, D., Cockton, G., & Atkinson, M. (2010). Heuristic Evaluation: Usability Evaluation
Materials. Retrieved from http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/asp/materials/HE_1.0/.

Law, E. L., & Hvannberg, E. T. (2004). Analysis of strategies for improving and estimating the
effectiveness of heuristic evaluation. In Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on
Human-computer interaction. Tampere, Finland: ACM

Mack, A., & Rock, I. (2000). Inattentional Blindness (1st., p. 287). The MIT Press.

Nielsen, J., & Molich, R. (1990). Heuristic evaluation of user interfaces. In Proceedings of the
SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems: Empowering people.
Seattle, Washington, United States.

Schiessl, M., Duda, S., Thölke, A., & Fischer, R. (2003). Eye tracking and its application in
usability and media research. MMI-Interaktiv. Retrieved from http://eye-
square.com/documents/EyeTracking-ResearchApplications.pdf.

Stein, R., & Brennan, S. E. (2004). Another person's eye gaze as a cue in solving programming
problems. In Proceedings of the 6th international conference on Multimodal interfaces.
State College, PA, USA: ACM.

Van Gog, T., Paas, F., van Merriënboer, J. J., & Witte, P. (2005). Uncovering the problem-solving
process: cued retrospective reporting versus concurrent and retrospective reporting.
Journal of experimental psychology. Applied, 11(4), 237-44.

Sree Anirudh J Bhandaram


APPENDIX

A. Screener

B. Informed Consent Form

C. Nielsen’s usability heuristics – Description

D. List of city websites

E. Common Tasks Performed On A City Website

F. Heuristics template

G. SMI iView-X RED Eye tracker specifications

Sree Anirudh J Bhandaram


APPENDIX A: SCREENER FOR NOVICE PARTICIPANTS
Please answer the following questions. Your responses will help us to choose you as a
participant.

1. Name:

2. Sex:
Male
Female

3. Age

4. Occupation

5. Experience (years) in the HCI/Usability field:


Less than 6 months
6 months - 1 year
1 - 3 years
3 - 5 years
5 - 10 years
10 years or more
6. Highest level of study:
High School
Bachelors Degree
Associates Degree
Masters Degree
Ph.D.
Prefer not to answer

7. Have you ever performed a heuristic evaluation?


Yes
No

8. How many heuristic evaluations have you performed?

1
2
3
4
5
Greater than 5

9. Which of the following best describes the reason you perform heuristic
evaluations:
As a part of a course
As a part of your job
As a part of a project
For no specific reason
10. Do you use any usability evaluation methods other than Nielsen’s ten heuristics?
(e.g., Gerhardt Powals’ cognitive principles)
Yes
No

If you answered "YES" to the question above, please specify the usability evaluation
method(s) used:

11. Do you use a screen reader, screen magnifier or other assistive technology to
use the computer and the Web?
Yes
No

12. Do you require an interpreter during the eye tracking session?


Yes
No
APPENDIX B: INFORMED CONSENT FORM

Use of experts' gaze by novice usability practitioners to perform a better heuristic evaluation

Principal Investigator: Sree Anirudh J Bhandaram

INTRODUCTION
You are invited to join an eye tracking study that aims to establish a relationship between an expert’s gaze replay and a novice’s
learning to better perform a heuristic evaluation will be explored. Please take whatever time you need to discuss the study with your
family and friends, or anyone else you wish to. The decision to join, or not to join, is up to you.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE STUDY?


You will be asked to perform a heuristic evaluation on a website and to note down your comments in a template. We think this will
take you 30 minutes. During this time, we will use an eye tracker to capture your eye gaze as you perform the heuristic evaluation.
You will be asked to fill in the heuristic evaluation template and a post test questionnaire. The investigators may stop the study or
take you out of the study at any time they judge it is in your best interest. They may also remove you from the study for various
other reasons. You can stop participating at any time. If you stop you will not lose any benefits.

RISKS
We do not foresee any risks in this study.

BENEFITS
Previous studies in different domains suggest that novices learnt better from experts by watching their eye gaze while performing
tasks. We are trying to establish that this fact is true for usability professionals in conducting a heuristic evaluation too. However, we
can’t guarantee that you will personally experience benefits from participating in this study. Others may benefit in the future from
the information we find in this study.

CONFIDENTIALITY
The information in the study records will be kept strictly confidential. Data will be stored securely and will be made available only to
persons conducting the study unless you specifically give permission in writing to do otherwise. No reference will be made in oral or
written reports, which could link you to the study. Publications related to this work will not make reference to any individuals.

YOUR RIGHTS AS A RESEARCH PARTICIPANT?


Participation in this study is voluntary. You have the right not to participate at all or to leave the study at any time. Deciding not to
participate or choosing to leave the study will not result in any penalty or loss of benefits to which you are entitled.

CONTACTS FOR QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS?


Call Sree at(585) 755-8827 or email atsjb1542@rit.edu if you have questions about the study, any problems, unexpected physical or
psychological discomforts, any injuries, or think that something unusual or unexpected is happening.

CONSENT OF SUBJECT (OR LEGALLY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE)

I have read and understand the above information. I have received a copy of this form. I agree to participate in this study.

Subject's signature Date _________________

Investigator's signature Date _________________

Parent’s signature (if student is under 18) Date _________________


APPENDIX-C: NIELSEN'S TEN USABILITY HEURISTICS 

1. Visibility of system status  

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate 
feedback within reasonable time.  

2. Match between system and the real world  

The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the 
user, rather than system‐oriented terms. Follow real‐world conventions, making information 
appear in a natural and logical order.  

3. User control and freedom  

Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency 
exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support 
undo and redo.  

4. Consistency and standards  

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same 
thing. Follow platform conventions.  

5. Error prevention  

Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from 
occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error‐prone conditions or check for them and 
present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action.  

6.  Recognition rather than recall  

Minimize the user's memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user 
should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. 
Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.  

7. Flexibility and efficiency of use  
Accelerators ‐‐ unseen by the novice user ‐‐ may often speed up the interaction for the expert 
user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to 
tailor frequent actions.  

8. Aesthetic and minimalist design  

Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit 
of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes 
their relative visibility.  

9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors  

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the 
problem, and constructively suggest a solution.  

10. Help and documentation  

Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary 
to provide help and documentation. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on 
the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large. 

REFERENCES 

Nielsen, J. (2005). 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design. Retrieved from 
http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html 
APPENDIX D: LIST OF CITY WEBSITES

City Website

City of Minneapolis, MN www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us

City of Boise, ID www.cityofboise.org

City of Montgomery, AL www.montgomeryal.gov

City of Garland, TX www.ci.garland.tx.us

City of Spokane, WA www.spokanecity.org

City of Shreveport, LA www.ci.shreveport.la.us

City of Des Moines, IA www.dmgov.org

City of Augusta, GA www.augustaga.gov

City of Worcester, MA www.ci.worcester.ma.us

City of Little Rock, AK www.littlerock.org


APPENDIX E: COMMON TASKS PERFORMED ON A CITY WEBSITE

Reasons to Visit a City/Town website


SNo R/P/
Task/Reason Number of Votes
. V

Get information on neighbourhoods


1 (safety/crime/closest 7 R/P/V R: Resident
shopping/Schools/Apartments)

2 Get forms/Information/Taxes 6 R P: Prospective Resident


3 Find city maintenance information 6 R V: Visitor
Find public transport options
4 5 R/P/V
(Bus/Train Schedules)

Look for entertainment activities


5 4 R/P/V
(Annual Events/Game Schedules)

Look for recreational activities


6 4 R/V
(parks/zoo/Hiking trails/picnic)
7 Look for places to visit 4 V
8 Lookup Building information 1 R
9 Find information on tickets/fines 1 R
APPENDIX-F: HEURISTIC EVALUATION RECORD TEMPLATE

Please conduct a heuristic evaluation and fill information relevant to the following heuristics

Heuristic 1: Aesthetic and minimalist design

Heuristic 2: Consistency and standards

Heuristic 3: Flexibility and efficiency of use


APPENDIX G: