USABILITY REPORT FOR HARTNELL COLLEGE'S WEB SITE by ThePaulAnderson

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									USABILITY REPORT FOR
HARTNELL COLLEGE’S WEB SITE


TEAM 3 (M3K): MARC CAJOLET, MARIA GARCIA, MARTHA KAM, & KATELYN THOMPSON




FEBRUARY 26, 2008
                                                                              Hartnell Site Analysis   1



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Hartnell College is a two-year community college that offers classes for students seeking to
enter a four-year college, improve skills to obtain better employment, and for adult continuing
education. Therefore the goals of the school’s web site are:
       To satisfy the initial inquiries that a prospective student considering enrollment at the
       college may have
       Provide a means to register and attend courses, either on campus or online
       Appeal to minority students, especially Spanish speaking residents
       Convey a sense of college campus, academic programs and student culture
       Provide online information access to primary programs and departments: Academics,
       admissions, athletics, jobs, library, students, faculty/staff and alumni

As higher education costs continue to increase, colleges increasingly are competing for the
same students. Hartnell must appeal all of these constituents.

For many students interested in learning more about Hartnell, the college’s web site will be
their first exposure to the college. The Hartnell web site is successful at conveying a brand
through its use of color and the school logo. Unfortunately, while the homepage is clearly
making an attempt to distinguish itself from other similar college sites by creating a dynamic
navigation system on its homepage, ultimately the navigation creates a confusing user
experience. The constantly shifting links and ambiguous naming schemes make it difficult to
find information on the site.

One of the stated goals of the college is to “increase opportunities to develop and improve
abilities to read, to listen with understanding and to communicate effectively.” The general
structure of the homepage should inspire confidence that the college is capable of teaching
those skills. Unfortunately, due to the confusing structure of the homepage and the dual
navigation systems that exist on the site (the shifting homepage navigation on the homepage
and the footer navigation that appears only on secondary pages), the user is left with concern
that the college is indeed capable of teaching such skills.

In order to improve the user experience of this site, the m3k team recommends that Hartnell
perform a comprehensive redesign of its web site. This redesign should include an initial step of
a card sort with typical users (current students, prospective students, faculty, and staff) in order
to clarify the navigation naming scheme. We believe that the college is not far from having a
successful division of categories based on its secondary page navigation footer and that the
card sort could be based off of that scheme. We then believe that the navigation for the site’s
homepage should be redesigned to match more conventional web site navigation systems.
After completing the card sort, the site should undergo a visual redesign in order to present the
new information architecture in an effective way.
                                                                                  Hartnell Site Analysis    2



METHODOLOGY

In order to analyze the Hartnell web site, m3k used a heuristic review. A heuristic review
consists of applying certain proven rules of thumb developed over years of web design
experience to the analysis of a given web site. Studies have shown that heuristic reviews are a
reliable way of gauging the usability of an interface, when performed by several reviewers, as
was the case in this review (Nielsen & Molich, 1990).

In the subsequent analysis we used the persona of a high school junior coming to the Hartnell
web site to find out more about attending Hartnell. Although this junior had learned of Hartnell
from their high school guidance counselor, they did not know much about the school. We
applied the following basic heuristics (derived from Nielsen, 2005) looking at each of three
areas, visual clarity (i.e., the graphical appeal and legibility), explicitness (i.e., ability to perform
tasks), and informative feedback (i.e., does the site provide the user with appropriate cues):
        Does the site keep the user informed of his/her current location on the site and what
        exactly is happening?
        Does the site use metaphors and affordances in concordance with the user’s
        experience?
        Is it easy for the user to backtrack after making a mistake or going to the wrong part of
        the site?
        Does the site use consistent terminology?
        Does the site prevent the user from making mistakes?

These heuristics were used as guides and the detailed heuristics that were applied are shown in
the tables in Appendix 1.

TEAM EXPERIENCE

The m3k team has extensive experience in usability testing, web design, and heuristic reviews.
The following team members performed the analysis on the Hartnell web site:
        Marc Cajolet - Marc currently manages the user experience team at an enterprise
        software vendor, where he recently completed a two year project to update the flagship
        product suite with a fresh new UI to reflect the company’s modernized brand image.
        Previously, Marc worked as an interaction designer at a startup in the 3D modeling
        industry where he sought to revolutionize the way 3D graphics are combined with
        digitally recorded camera images to create special effects for the movie industry. Marc
        has 20 years of hands on user experience work in the software industry since graduating
        with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Graphics from the University of Massachusetts,
        Amherst.
                                                                             Hartnell Site Analysis   3


       Maria Garcia - Maria is currently a usability engineer at a small start-up company where
       she conducts usability tests and heuristic reviews of mobile phone products. Prior to
       that position, Maria has been the web administrator for the Dana-Farber/Harvard
       Cancer Center and a Research Associate at the Sloan School of Management. Maria is
       currently pursuing a Master of Science in Human Factors in Information Design at
       Bentley College and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Harvard University.
       Martha Kam - Martha is a Research Associate at Bentley’s Design and Usability Center
       where she conducts extensive usability tests and heuristic reviews. She has also
       fulfilled Bentley’s Testing and Assessment Programs course, which enriched her
       knowledge on various usability and evaluation methods. Prior to entering Bentley,
       Martha worked at a global business process outsourcing corporation for five years.
       Martha is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Human Factors in Information
       Design at Bentley College and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Boston
       University.
       Katelyn Thompson - Katelyn is a Research Associate at Bentley's Design and Usability
       Center. In her time there, she has conducted usability tests, heuristic reviews, and
       field research. In addition, Katelyn has interned with MassMutual Financial Group in
       their User-eXperience Services group where she conducted usability tests, card sorts,
       and field research to create personas and scenarios. She is pursuing a Master of
       Science in Human Factors and Information Design at Bentley College. Katelyn holds a
       Bachelor of Arts in Web Design and Liberal Studies, having completed courses in Web
       design and visual communication.

ANALYSIS

The m3k team analyzed the Hartnell web site on its visual clarity, explicitness, and informative
feedback. The following analyses explain how the site performs in each of these areas and how
it could be improved to align better with the college’s strategic goals. For the detailed review of
the site, please see Appendix 1.

VISUAL CLARITY ASSESSMENT

The Hartnell College web site experiences issues with visual clarity mostly on its home page.
The main issues seem to be related to the delivery of the navigational options from the primary
page. Web sites achieve visual clarity by organizing content in a way that is easily accessible,
effectively communicating content, and ensuring optimal readability.

Cluttered home page

The most prominent concern with Hartnell’s home page is its clutter factor and complexity level
that accompany the shifting navigation. Upon initial loading of Hartnell’s web site, the
navigation randomly assigns a topic to preview to the user by exposing an image and related
                                                                           Hartnell Site Analysis   4


text to the topic. Without moving the mouse, the user is unaware of the shifting navigation
options that display hidden information. The default image initially seems out of place,
causing a break in content flow and more confusion among the left-justified vertically aligned
topics (See Fig. 1A) and the right-justified subtopics (See Fig. 1B). The alignment heavily
affects the navigation of the site because it does not follow the traditional mental models of
navigation appearing strictly across the top of the page horizontally or on the left of the page
vertically. Hartnell’s navigation appears in a stacked row formation with a good amount of
distance between topics and their related subtopics (See Fig. 1C). This distance forces the
user to pan across to draw the relation between the links. Right-justifying subtopics also
create a massive clutter of links that are hard to decipher.




        Figure 1. Hartnell College Homepage

The navigation is not grouped in a clear fashion

The organization of Hartnell’s home page does not lend itself to clear grouping of content.
The navigation is not instantly clear until the user places the mouse over several rows to
understand the shifting pattern. Grouping occurs automatically by proximity and alignment.
However, the shifting motion causes breaks and uncertainty in the grouping of the content.
The only clear group on the college’s home page is the News and Events section that is clearly
framed and organized. This is unfortunate given the colleges’ goals—though it is important that
a first time prospective student be aware of Hartnell’s news and events, it is unfortunate that
he or she would find it more difficult to learn more about enrolling at the college.
                                                                             Hartnell Site Analysis   5


By grouping content in a static and logical form, users will be able to access more information in
an easier to read format. It will also serve to express Hartnell’s goal of teaching clear
communciation skills.

Secondary page navigation is dynamic

The secondary pages of Hartnell’s web site follow the basic conventions of web design,
whereby the navigation appears on the vertical left of the page (See Fig. 2). The content on
each page is also broken down much better relative to the home page. However, the
navigation on the left does not have an apparent logical order. Pages where navigation
options are few are less problematic than pages that contain lengthier paths such as the
Student Services page. Grouping of related content should be maximized to avoid a laundry
list of related links. Navigation would also be better supported if other topics were accessible
from the user’s current location in the deeper pages of the site, rather than returning to the
home page. Improving the navigational features of a web site will aid users in finding the
information they need more quickly.




Figure 2. Hartnell College Secondary Page

Motion creates challenges in readability

The readability of Hartnell’s web site generally had no problems. Again, the issues lie with the
home page design and the moving menus. Readability is difficult when motion is involved.
The all-caps used for the subtopics links is also difficult to read. Color choices for the web site
were overall balanced and did not contribute to further problems. From the perspective of a
                                                                            Hartnell Site Analysis   6


high school junior, general information would be manageable to find, but more specific
information may pose a challenge.

EXPLICITNESS

The Hartnell web site suffers from an unclear and inconsistent naming scheme for some of its
key content areas. The main areas of concern are as follows:

Confusion with concurrent enrollment

Hartnell offers what’s called a “concurrent enrollment” program for students in grades K-12.
Because this program is offered mainly for high school students, it presents a lot of confusion
when presenting choices of how to proceed within the site. One example of this is the
“Picture Yourself at Hartnell” page which offers the user seven options to proceed, including “I
have never attended Hartnell before” and “I am a High School student”. These options can be
confusing for a high school junior or senior looking at the college as an option after graduation.

One way to solve this would be to create a separate section for concurrent students, that can
be accessed right off the homepage and have a slightly different look than the main Hartnell
page. Concurrent students have very different needs and motivations than students looking
to go to Hartnell for post-graduate work.

Drop-down section of home page is unconventional

Hartnell’s homepage has nine sections that expand and contract depending on where the
mouse is hovering. This can be very confusing to the user; it is unclear initially how to expand
and contract the sections, either by hovering or by clicking. In addition, the text is so small
that the mouse will often move off of the expanded tab while trying to click on a link.

By eliminating the movement within the menu, it will allow users to navigate through the site
faster. A new design will allow users to see the site’s navigation immediately and will make
their decision on which section to explore easier.

Inconsistent navigation throughout site

The navigation in the site is constantly changing, although there are established navigation
schemes throughout the site. The initial scheme that users see is the tabbed sections on the
homepage, such as “Becoming a Student” and “Happening at Hartnell”. Once you have
navigated through the homepage to subpages, there are two separate, but sometimes
overlapping navigation schemes: the breadcrumbs and the footer navigation. Also on these
subpages are “Related Links/Documents” which are static depending on what page the user is
on. It is confusing for the user to have these four conflicting navigation schemes because it
makes it difficult to jump between “sections”. In order to access a front-page section from a
subcategory page, the user would have to click on “Home” and choose that section again.
Also, the foot navigation is not present on the homepage.
                                                                             Hartnell Site Analysis   7


By reorganizing the information on the site into one set of categories, it will create a consistent
navigation scheme throughout the site. This will allow users to quickly learn how the site is
organized and will help them find pertinent and related content.

INFORMATIVE FEEDBACK ASSESSMENT

Well-designed web sites provide the user with visual cues and feedback about the task which
they are performing and should be written in accordance with the audience they serve. The
Hartnell web site is successful on several counts in this area:

Colors are used effectively for branding

The site’s primarily purpose is for browsing and information discovery. The colors assigned to
all of the pages are themed in the schools brand image of maroon, gold and black. The color
palette is used to consistently present sense of quality and integrity. The only case where the
colors could interfere with the primary task of navigation are on the visited links which are
shown in light grey. This could be difficult in low contrast situations. They often appear on a
dark gray background, which is not optimal.

The site’s language is clear and approachable

The site consistently defines acronyms on their first usage. These tend to be standard academic
terms related to accreditation and financial aid where they are commonly used. The site
generally avoids the use of abbreviations. As an added benefit, some of the pages are
presented in English and in Spanish.

The site’s approachable to the casual reader, and prospective student. Jargon is generally not
used. Anyone with a vested interest in discovering information about the school would be able
to understand the content once they’ve found it.

Generally the icons and symbols are part of the visual design, and not part of the information
architecture. Because of this there is little interference between the visual design and
information content, which creates a tasteful but satisfying experience. The use of graphic
content is generally reserved for photographs, which are used effectively to portray the
persona of the college, campus, and student body. This imagery is an important part of
representing the college.

Layout on secondary pages is strong, but the home page needs improvement

With the exception of the home page, general conventions for good layout are followed.
Navigation and process control (e.g. the financial aid application process) are clearly presented
on the left side margin, with plenty of white space for clarity. There are only a few special
printer friendly pages (e.g. academic calendar, student schedule). The site is optimized for
online viewing, not print.
                                                                            Hartnell Site Analysis   8


Search is implemented via Google, which provides a good set of criteria matches when
searching for common terms, without returning every page as a possible ‘hit’! Changes to
navigation or style generally would not have any negative effect on the effectiveness of the
search engine.

Only the home page has any unusual or specialized behavior beyond standard hyperlink
navigation. Only the home page has a significant amount of visual clutter, with an unusual
horizontal layering of sectional menus. To compound this, any mouse motion which is a natural
part of page exploration triggers rollover events. This takes over the user experience by flashing
up panels associated with the rollover category. This is very distracting at first, because it is
unexpected. I believe you could equate this with tabbed college catalog, but it is unusual for the
web.

Control actions are compatible with those used in other systems, with the exception of the
home page. The site very consistently displays bread crumbs for all pages, at primary,
secondary and tertiary page depths. The site wide navigation can also be accessed via the
footer on the page, which has links to each of the major sub-sites. The common tasks for
registration, financial aid, and course selection can be followed once you’ve reached the top
level page.

RECOMMENDATIONS & NEXT STEPS

Through our analysis we found three main recommendations for improving the site to better
communicate and achieve the school’s strategy. The first recommendation is to improve the
site’s navigation. Currently, there are three different navigation schemes on the site; these
need to be condensed into one scheme to be used throughout the site. This one scheme
would be used on the home page, the left hand navigation of the subpages, on the footer of
each subpage, and in the breadcrumbs on each page. The second recommendation is to
redesign the front page to eliminate the clutter. This would help to give the user guidance as
to where to go upon landing on the page. The third recommendation is to clearly target the
subsections of the site for each audience. High school students looking to attend Hartnell
upon graduation would no longer be confused by the concurrent education section.

The next step in the site redesign would be to conduct a card sort analysis with appropriate
user groups in order to properly name the new navigation links. As the basis for the card sort,
we would recommend starting with a closed card sort using the headings that are currently
used in the footer navigation that only appear on secondary pages. The footer navigation has
simple, concise categories that serve as a much clearer structure than the categories that
currently appear on the homepage.

Currently, the navigation on the homepage serves more as a distraction from the presentation
of information than as an aid to it. Creating a more traditional, simple navigation would allow
the user to focus on the content of the site as opposed to concentrating on how one is
supposed to navigate from section to section.
                                                                           Hartnell Site Analysis   9


A redesign of the homepage would also allow the college to focus its message and marketing to
the outside world. The homepage as it stands is trying to be all things to all groups at once. A
simplified, organized home page would ideally route visitors to the section most appropriate to
their needs and the more specialized content for that user group could then be displayed on
those pages. This would free up the home page space to highlight important new
announcements or college news and events. Highlighting such news and events would in turn
excite new and prospective students about the college and serve as a key recruiting function.

The m3k team believes that performing further usability studies and implementing a new
design on the Hartnell web site would result in improved student, staff, and community
satisfaction with the college. We also believe that these improvements would result in higher
enrollment rates of prospective students.
                                                                                                   Hartnell Site Analysis         10



     APPENDIX 1 – DETAILED REVIEW

     VISUAL CLARITY
Questions                         Always   Most of    Some of    Never   N/A   Details
                                           the Time   the Time
1. Is each screen clearly                             X                        The home page contains multiple stacked titles which
identified with an                                                             causes confusion. It is unclear whether I should click on
informative title or                                                           Becoming a Student or The Student Experience to find
description?                                                                   out more about the school.
2. Is important information                           X                        The home page contains a lot of motion which distracts
highlighted on the screen?                                                     the eyes from where they should be focused. The
(e.g., cursor position,                                                        welcome page communicates well that a choice must be
instructions, errors)                                                          made. However, the options are not exclusively clear.
                                                                               The steps for registration are well laid out in a table.
3. When the user enters                                                  X     n/a
information on the screen, is
it clear:
(a) where the info should
be entered; (b) in what
format it should be entered?
4. Does information appear                            X                        The home page is organized against the typical mental
to be organized logically on                                                   models of a website where the titles are organized
the screen? (e.g., menus                                                       vertically and the subtopics are organized horizontally
organized by probable                                                          beneath. Secondary and tertiary pages however are
sequence of selection, or                                                      fairly logical with navigation appearing on the left
alphabetically)                                                                vertically.
5. Are different types of                             X                        The home page is cluttered and confusing with shifting
information clearly                                                            menu topics and subtopics that have varying alignment.
separated from each other                                                      The rows are close in proximity and a clear distinction is
on the screen? (e.g.,                                                          hard to draw. The News and Events are the only clearly
columns of alphanumerics                                                       separated topics. The secondary and tertiary pages
left-justified, columns of                                                     clearly separate the navigation from the content. The
integers right-justified, etc.)                                                table format for registration instructions clearly separate
                                                                               the necessary steps to register.
6. Where a large amount of                            X                        The home page relies solely on horizontal separation and
information is displayed on                                                    does not use enough open space to clearly separate
one screen, is it clearly                                                      information into logical sections. The only clear section
separated into sections on                                                     on the home page is the News and Events box. The
the screen?                                                                    secondary and tertiary pages, however, follow a
                                                                               traditional layout with title page at top, navigation on
                                                                               left aligned vertically, and content/information
                                                                               occupying the remainder of the page. The sections are
                                                                               also clearly distinguished by color, where the title is in
                                                                               blue, the navigation is in brown and the content on a
                                                                               white background.
7. Are bright or light colors                         X                        Hartnell uses grey text on its secondary pages to indicate
displayed on a dark                                                            that a link has been visited, which can be tough to read
background, and vice versa?                                                    against a brown background. Furthermore, grey can be
                                                                               misconstrued as an inactive link.
8. Does the use of color help                         X                        Color is useful in the secondary pages to create sections,
                                                                                                     Hartnell Site Analysis          11


to make the displays clear?                                                     but color is not effectively used to categorize
                                                                                information on the home page.
9. Where color is used, will                           X                        Colors that are used generally do not cause strain or
all aspects of the display be                                                   illegibility to colorblind individuals. Grey text, however,
easy to see if the user is                                                      for visited links can be difficult to read.
color blind?
10.Is the information on the                X                                   The home page is cluttered and contains hidden and
screen easy to see and read?                                                    shifting tabs that make readability difficult. The
                                                                                subtopic links are also in all-caps adding to the difficulty.
                                                                                The secondary pages conversely are organized in a way
                                                                                that allows for easy reading with balanced contrast
                                                                                between background and text. Information is also
                                                                                better organized than the homepage, with ample white
                                                                                space.
11.Do screens appear                                   X                        The home page is the most prominent page that suffers
uncluttered?                                                                    from clutter – most of which occurs in the shifting
                                                                                navigation.
12.Are schematic and                        X                                   There are not many pictorial display on Hartnell’s
pictorial displays (e.g. figures                                                website. Most images appear on the homepage to
and diagrams) clearly drawn                                                     represent each topic that can be chosen. The areas of
and annotated?                                                                  the background image that are clickable are not well-
                                                                                defined.
13.Is it easy to find the                              X                        The home page is tough to navigate and serves as the
required information on the                                                     main portal to various topics for Hartnell. The user
screen?                                                                         should be able to navigate to other areas without having
                                                                                to return to the home page each time.


     EXPLICITNESS ANALYSIS:

Questions                          Always   Most of    Some of    Never   N/A   Details
                                            the Time   the Time

1. Is it clear what stage the                          X                        This page lists 8 steps that need to be followed in order
system has reached in a                                                         to enroll. However, there are links for each step that
task?                                                                           take you to a different part of the site where you lose
                                                                                track of the stepped process.
2. Is it clear what the user                                      X             Throughout the site you are presented with a list of links,
needs to do in order to                                                         which you must select one to move forward. One
complete a task?                                                                example is the “Picture Yourself at Hartnell” page which
                                                                                makes you choose an option to continue. These options
                                                                                can be confusing such as: “I have never attended Hartnell
                                                                                before” and “I am transferring from another college”
3. Where the user is                                   X                        Again, this is present throughout the site. One problem
presented with a list of                                                        throughout the site is that they offer concurrent
options (e.g., in a menu), is it                                                education classes for students in grades K-12. This gets
clear what each option                                                          confusing with high school seniors who may be taking
means?                                                                          classes during high school or other high school seniors
                                                                                who may be looking to take classes the following year.
                                                                                Going back to the “Picture Yourself at Hartnell” page, you
                                                                                find that this is a problem with the link “I am a high
                                                                                school student”.
4. Is it clear what part of the             X                                   There are small breadcrumbs at the top of the page. A
                                                                                                          Hartnell Site Analysis         12


system the user is in?                                                              lot of the links off the homepage take you to external
                                                                                    pages, such as “Online classes” which takes you to
                                                                                    eCampus.
5. Is it clear what the                                X                            Although the top left image has a box around it when
different parts of the system                                                       you initially hover over it (probably IE error), this image is
do?                                                                                 not a link home.
                                                                                    The “drop down” menus on the homepage are confusing,
                                                                                    and it is not sure if the user should click on the bar or
                                                                                    hover over it to “active” a certain section.
6. Is it clear how, where, and                                    X                 When you select that you are a concurrent student, the
why changes in one part of                                                          system does not retain this information throughout the
the system affect other parts                                                       rest of the site.
of the system?
7. Is it clear why the system               X                                       Some of the sections of the homepage are partitioned off
is organized and structured                                                         into what you’re planning to do: donate, work, become a
as it is?                                                                           student. However, others are unclear, such as Happening
                                                                                    at Hartnell.
8. Is it clear why a series of                         X                            Many of the links from one page in a certain section take
screens is sequenced as they                                                        you to another section all together. On the secondary
are?                                                                                pages, the links of the left hand side are simply “related”
                                                                                    links, not necessarily links in the same section as the
                                                                                    page the user is on.
9. Is the structure of the                                        X                 The fact that links jump around through the different
system obvious to the user?                                                         sections of the web site is very confusing. By clicking on
                                                                                    three links, the user could have navigated so far away
                                                                                    from their original location that they wouldn’t be able to
                                                                                    get back.
10.Is the system well-                                            X                 It is hard to know the structure of the site. Although
organized from the user’s                                                           the homepage is separated into the different sections,
point of view?                                                                      once the user drills down into the subsections, that
                                                                                    structure is lost.
11.Where an interface                                             X                 The only major metaphor that’s used is the “home” link
metaphor is used (e.g., the                                                         at the top right of all the pages.
desk-top metaphor in office
applications), is this made
explicit?
12.Where a metaphor is                                                        X     n/a
employed, and is only
applicable to certain parts of
the system, is this made
explicit?
13.In general, is it clear what                                   X                 It is very confusing where the user goes within the
the system is doing?                                                                system when they click, as the IA of the site is constantly
                                                                                    changing.


     INFORMATIVE FEEDBACK
Questions                          Always       Most of    Some of    Never       N/A     Details
                                                the Time   the Time
1. Are colors assigned according                x                                         This site is primarily for browsing and information
to conventional associations                                                              discovery. The colors assigned are themed in the
where these are important?                                                                schools brand. The visited links are light grey, this
                                                                          Hartnell Site Analysis         13


(e.g., red = alarm, stop)                                 could be difficult in low contrast situations. They
                                                          often appear on a dark gray background.
2. Where abbreviations,               X                   The site consistently defines acronyms in their first
acronyms, codes and other                                 usage. These tend to be ‘standard’ terms, related
alphanumeric information are                              accreditation and financial aid where they are
displayed: (a) are they easy to                           commonly used. The site generally avoids use of
recognize? (b) do they follow                             abbreviations.
conventions where these exist?
3. Where icons, symbols,                  X               Generally the icons and symbols are part of the
graphical representations and                             visual design, and not part of the information
other pictorial information are                           architecture. The use of graphics is generally
displayed: (a) are they easy to                           reserved for photographs, which are used
recognize and understand? (b)                             effectively to portray the persona of the college,
do they follow conventions                                campus, and student body.
where these exist?
4. Where jargon and                               X       Jargon is generally not used. The site is
terminology are used within the                           approachable to the casual reader, and prospective
system, is it familiar to the user?                       student.
5. Are established conventions            X               With the exception of the home page, general
followed for the format in which                          conventions for layout are followed. Navigation and
particular types of information                           process control (e.g. the financial aid application
are displayed? (e.g., layout of                           process) are clearly presented on the left side
dates and data)                                           margin, with plenty of white space for clarity.
6. Is information presented and                       X   n/a
analyzed in the units with which
the users normally work? (e.g.,
batches, kilos, dollars)
7. Is the format of displayed                         X   n/a
information compatible with the
form in which it is entered into
the system?
8. Is the format and sequence in              X           There are only a few special printer friendly pages
which information is printed                              (e.g. academic calendar, student schedule). The site
compatible with the way it is                             is optimized for online viewing, not print.
displayed on the screen?
9. Where the user makes an                X               Only the home page has any rollover behavior. This
input movement in a particular                            motion, with is part of natural page exporation,
direction (e.g., using a direction                        takes over the experience by flashing up panels
key, mouse, or joystick), is the                          associated with the rollover. This is very distracting
corresponding movement on                                 at first, because it is unexpected..
the screen in the same
direction?
10. Are control actions                   X               Yes, with the exception of the home page. The site
compatible with those used in                             very consistently displays bread crumbs for all
other systems with which the                              pages, and most depths. The site wide navigation
user may need to interact?                                can also be access via the footer on the page, which
                                                          has links to each of the major sub-sites.
11.Is information presented in a          X               Generally the tasks for registration, financial aid,
way, which fits the user’s view                           and course selection can be followed once you’ve
of the task?                                              reached the top level page.
12.Are graphical displays                 X               The home page, and many of the top level pages
compatible with the user’s view                           use photograph to enhance the sense of
                                                      Hartnell Site Analysis          14


of what they are representing?          community, and important part of understand what
                                        a college is made up of.
13.Does the organization and        X   Top down discovery and exploration are generally
structure of the system fit the         easy to follow.
user’s perception of the task?
14.Does the sequence of             X   The sequence is predictable, and often supported
activities required to complete a       by page navigation
task follow what the user would
expect?
15.Does the system work in the      X   Only the home page has surprising behavior.
way the user thinks it should
work?
                                                                              Hartnell Site Analysis   15



REFERENCES

Nielsen, J., & Molich, R. (1990). Heuristic evaluation of user interfaces. Proceedings of CHI ’90,
       241-256.

Nielsen, J. (2005). Heuristics for user interface design. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from
       http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html.

								
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