Free Essay

Revitalise Company Website Project

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By dbmgreen
Words 7439
Pages 30
32557 Enabling Enterprise Information Systems

Assignment 1

Information Systems Review and Report

Revitalise Company Website Project
4 April 2013

Author

David Green - Student number 11486331

Collaborator

Essendran Naidoo - Student number 11486331

Tutor

Bee Bee Chua

Lecturer

Grant Mooney

Table of contents
1 Executive Summary 3
2 Methodology and Assumptions 6
2.1 The Rating System 7
3 Website Reviews 11
3.1 Apple Australia Website 11
3.1.1 Objective 11
3.1.2 Description 11
3.1.3 Scope 11
3.1.4 System Process 12
3.1.5 Website Review and Rating System 18
3.1.6 Website Strengths and Weaknesses 20
3.2 Skinomi Website 21
3.2.1 Objective 21
3.2.2 Description 21
3.2.3 Scope 21
3.2.4 System Process 23
3.2.5 Website Review and Rating System 29
3.2.6 Website Strengths and Weaknesses 31
3.3 UTS Supersearch 32
3.3.1 Objective 32
3.3.2 Description 32
3.3.3 Scope 32
3.3.4 System Process 32
3.3.5 Website Review and Rating System 37
3.3.6 Strengths and Weaknesses 39
4 Selected website and overall summary 40
4.1 The Comparisons 41
4.2 Conclusions 42

Executive Summary

It doesn’t matter if you are designing a new information system or evaluating an old system, it is useful to be able to compare the functionality of one system with another in some valid way. One way to evaluate and compare information systems by applying a set of criteria, encompassing factors considered important. For such criteria to be useful they need to be operational and measurable.

In this task we will evaluate the following three different systems from a user’s (customers) perspective.

Information systems:
Apple Australia Website - www.apple.com/au/
Skinomi - www.skinomi.com
UTS Library Supersearch - http://supersearch.lib.uts.edu.au

Methodology
We have combined common criteria found across literature to record and measure user experiences of information systems. Essendran and I set our criteria to ensure that the evaluation was operational and measurable. We discussed each set of the system processes and devised our method of evaluation.

In determining the method that we wished to use, we first referred to Jakob Nielsens definition of usability “Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word "usability" also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.” Jakob Nielsen identifies the following five components of usability as important.
These five components were an important influence on our final measurement analysis tool.

Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they re-establish proficiency?
Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?

Comparisons of the Information Systems

Two of the three information systems that were evaluated were product based shopping systems with similar process purposes. The third was a searchable database. All three systems would be considered to be customer-focussed systems.
The four key areas we focussed on were:

1. Aesthetics
2. Functional Design
3. Performance / Efficiency
4. Overall Experience

My ratings tables broke each of these criteria up into more specific aspects, and each of which is applied a measure from 1 to 5. The higher the number the better the rating. The maximum possible for each site is 110.
The results of the analysis showed the Apple website was the highest rated, with the most user-friendly system enhanced by its simple homogeneous layout, and clear, large navigation pathways. Apple have done a great job at structuring their website pages. They have a picture on the right, which is the first thing you focus on, and then the large headline on the left. Apples strategy seems to be to, not quite finish a paragraph, and leave the user with the words / link “learn more”. This leaves no dead ends and encourages the user to keep browsing.

The second easiest system for the user was the Skinomi Website. Skinomi do a great job of simplifying the purchase process given that they have thousands of choices. It was only a couple of clicks to get what I wanted. Their site is perhaps less appealing to the use than Apples, because of the complicated design and layout. This is probably something difficult to overcome in comparison to Apple, who have relatively few offereings.

Lastly the UTS SuperSearch is the most difficult system for the “customer” to locate information about their desired “product”. A degree of training / education in this websites use would be required for a user to be fully proficient at its use.

I would postulate that the Apple and Skinomi systems have been optimised for use by unfamiliar customers, but that optimisation is through the use of some relatively common and logical web standards which promote best possible sales outcomes. UTS SuperSearch on the other hand assumes a level of knowledge of it’s operation, and is more geared towards experienced users.

Efficient use of the UTS SuperSearch site, would definitely be enhanced by education and training. It would also be advantageous when using UTS SuperSearch to have a broad knowledge of the subject area into which you are researching.

Methodology and Assumptions

In order to assist in the efficient and effective development of our companies soon to be updated website, we have sought to identify the best practice website features based on a review of three Web-based Information Systems using a standardised measurement system.

The three web-based information systems for review are a mix of similar (two shopping sites) and dissimilar (one search engine). These are reviewed with and eye to discover which site features, and visual stimuli are most appealing, what works and what doesn’t. Additionally which parts of the shopping (cart) process create a seamless experience for the user, and encourage greater consumption.

In the report, we make some assumptions: 1) The definition of what constitutes a “good” system varies, depending on the stakeholders, their perspectives, and the system purposes. Ashby (1962), “there is no information system that is good in an absolute sense.” 2) Because of the assumption of relativity, it is necessary to choose a perspective from which the report is conducted. In our report, the customers’ perspective is chosen. 3) It is assumed that a healthy information system will require that all stakeholders are reasonably satisfied. Thus even though we are evaluating from a customers’ perspective, we need to look at what is good for the other participants in the information system, eg: management and staff.
It is these assumptions in addition to Nielsens studies on usability will form the basis of our report and rating system.
In order to quantify the evaluation, a rating system is used. Essendran and I reviewed several web ratings tools and selected/created a system that utilised the best attributes of each system.
We wanted to ensure that the criteria we were measuring were both operational and measurable.
We discussed each set of the system processes and devised a method of evaluation that we believe best suited the project. This is the system we will use to review the most important features of the e-commerce and search sites. It provides a list of criteria for rating another Web site's ability to meet user needs. Once the evaluation is completed, the recommendations that follow, will assist our content creators in the design of content and features for the company’s new consumer website. The successful implementation of these recommendations will be reflected by a growth in direct business to consumer sales due to the enhanced functionality and user-friendliness of our company’s website. The aforementioned ratings system will then help judge our company’s own e-commerce website in the post design phase.

In the following section the website rating system and how the rating is calculated for each website is described in more detail.

1 The Rating System

The four key areas employed in this Rating System to measure a site's performance include:

1. Aesthetics - Colours, pictures, Font
2. Functional Design - Errors, spelling, ability to perform same set of actions again easily, consistency
3. Performance / Efficiency
4. Overall Experience

Each feature is rated under those categories on a scale of one to five -- with five being most desirable and one being the least. This overall rating is the effectiveness score for the website.
Websites are compared by overall scores added together. Although it is possible to look more closely at specific aspects of the websites rating.

The Rating System
When each of these criteria are broken down into a series of questions, they total 22 in number. We use a score of one to five for this system with one (1) being the lowest score and five (5) being the highest score. The highest score a website can get is 110. The individual criterion is further explained below:

1. Aesthetic Appeal: Do aesthetics have anything to do with usability? Actually, they do. Research shows that people perceive better looking interfaces as more usable. Norman, D. A. (2002). We look at the overall visual impact of the actual design of the website. Importantly, does the site project a good image of the company? This is often an emotive reaction from the user, influenced by fonts / colours / layout, and can be very much captive to the “current” fashion. Fashion can get in the way of functionality, for example fonts should be easy to read, colours should be thoughtfully used in a complimentary and enhancing way. The number of pictures used, if any and the way pictures are used to convey a message is also very important. If used, are these files small enough to download quickly? If screen elements such as animated gifs and ticker tapes, are used, are they effective without being distracting? Is there a balance between design and functionality, the layout of the website system and flow of information so that a user is able to navigate the system easily. Choice and placement of menu buttons will have an effect on flow and navigation. Do the pages fit completely within your browser, or do you need to scroll in order to see the entire page The rating would be given based on these factors and how all of these features blend together to give the website system aesthetic appeal.

2. Functional Design: We look at the number of steps a user would need to take to perform a specific task. We also look at how easy it would be for that user to perform that same task again. Is the home page well-organized, easy to read and understand. Are the navigation choices “menus and headings“ on the website clear, logical and consistent on every page. Do they flow from one page to the next. Is there a search engine, does it provide accurate results, or is there some other navigation system ie: site map, Is the site free of bad or broken links, and error messages. The user should be able to perform the tasks needed to produce the required results with ease and minimal effort.

3. Performance / Efficiency: Every website system will differ in performance and efficiency. There are a number of factors that can affect the performance of a website system, some of these are more important than others, but all will contribute to the Overall Experience. (see point 4)

a) One important consideration for web designers, is will the site look consistent in the different popular browsers (Microsoft Explorer and Safari, Firefox)? b) Does the site load quickly and completely when the URL is clicked on? The type of servers used to host that website system, the size of images on the site and the number of search results produced by a specific user query are some of the factors that can affect speed. The amount of information displayed on each website page would also affect the performance of a website system. c) If the site requires the user to have a special plug-in or application (i.e. Flash, Acrobat files) does the site provide a link or help for installing the plug-in? We rate the website system based on how well it performs and how responsiveness it is to the user.

4. Overall Experience: The website system is rated based on the overall user experience and whether the system produced the desired results. We also look at the ease of use of the system and whether a user requires previous knowledge to able to use the system. Some factors that need to be taken into account in this regard are: Is the primary function of the site/system easily accessible from the home page? Are product categories and layout meaningful and logical, does this make the catalogue easy to navigate? Is the product information useful and informative, including visual aids such as photos and diagrams, and do these download quickly? Is it adequate? For a retailer/owner of the site, the primary function is sales, but the scope of this report from the customers / users perspective, the primary function may be something different, information gathering or entertainment. Once the customer is attracted to the site, does the site encourage customers to buy?

The table following is the rating table used for each website.
|Aesthetic Appeal |Does the site project a good image of the company. | |
| |Do pictures used, if any convey a message. | |
| |If screen elements such as animated gifs and ticker tapes, are used, are they effective without being | |
| |distracting. | |
| |Is a user is able to navigate the system easily. (Choice and placement of menu buttons) | |
| |Do the pages fit completely within your browser, or do you need to scroll in order to see the entire page. | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
|Functional Design |How many steps will a user would need to take to perform a specific task. | |
| |How easy it would be for that user to perform that same task again. | |
| |Is the home page well organized, easy to read and understand. | |
| |Are the navigation choices “menus and headings“ on the website clear, logical and consistent on every page. | |
| |Do they flow from one page to the next. | |
| |Is there a search engine, does it provide accurate results, or is there some other navigation system ie: site | |
| |map, | |
| |Is the site free of bad or broken links, and error messages. | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
|Performance / Efficiency |Does the site look consistent in the different popular browsers (Microsoft Explorer and Safari, Firefox). | |
| |Does the site load quickly and completely when the URL is clicked on. | |
| |If the site requires the user to have a special plug-in or application (i.e. Flash, Acrobat files) does the site | |
| |provide a link or help for installing the plug-in. | |
| | | |
| | | |
|Overall Experience |How was the overall user experience. | |
| |Did the system produce the desired results. | |
| |Was the system easy to use. | |
| |Did the user require previous knowledge to able to use the system. | |
| |Are product categories and layout meaningful and logical, making the catalogue easy to navigate. | |
| |Is the product information useful and informative, including visual aids such as photos and diagrams, and do | |
| |these download quickly. | |
| |Once the customer is attracted to the site, did it encourage you to buy. | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |

Website Reviews

1 Apple Australia Website

1 Objective

To find a suitable iPhone and purchase it.

2 Description

|URL |www.apple.com/au/ |
|Primary audience |Public including those with knowledge about Internet and Website Browsing |

The Apple Australia website is the Australian consumer portal for the Apple corporation (international). The Apple Australia website includes information about the 5 broad retail product ranges, (both hardware and software) and access to the support section of the company, including software updates. The Apple Australia website helps the general public to do everything required to acquire and maintain apple branded products.

3 Scope

The Apple Australia website includes the following features to provide the most updated information to the general public:

✓ Access to detailed information about Apples desktop computers ✓ Access to detailed information about Apples laptop computers ✓ Access to detailed information about Apples tablet computers ✓ Access to detailed information about Apples mobile telephony equipment ✓ Access and information about Apples iTunes software and retail entertainment offerings ✓ Access to support information about for all of the products listed above ✓ Access to Apples online retail presence for Apple products ✓ Access to Apples online retail presence for accessories to Apples products ✓ Help / Feedback service ✓ Fresh content updates (advertising) ✓ Targeted content to audience segments (advertising)

4 System Process

|Use Case Name |Purchase an iPhone |
|Primary Actor |Customer |
|System |Apple Australia website |
|Pre-Condition |Customer has Credit Card, Delivery Address |
|Post Condition |iPhone is couriered to the customer |
|Basic Flow | |
| |Buying an iPhone 5 32gig variant |
| |Log on to http://www.apple.com/au/ |
| |Select store from the top menu, and click shop iPhone link under the Apple store heading. |
| |Select iPhone variant link under the Apple store heading. (in this case iPhone 5) |
| |Choose a colour (Black or White) |
| |Choose a model (refers to memory size) |
| |Navigate to green continue button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |Select any accessories on this following page. |
| |Navigate to green add to cart button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |Navigate to green check out button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |Check out as returning customer (Login) |
| |Review the following details and confirm: |
| |- Ship items to single address then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |- Shipping address details then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |- Billing address and Credit Card details then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |- Review all detail one more time then navigate to green “place order now” button on RHS of page (Click it). |
| |View “Thank You” page |
|Alternate Flows |Continue Shopping, Save Cart, Chat Now, Check out as guest |

1 Apple Website Flowchart

5 Website Review and Rating System

Apple is primarily a consumer company, and is mostly focussed on selling hardware. This allows Apples web designers to keep the Apple website very simple and easy to use because generally there are few choices or offers on each page. This means the user has less to think about. Apple’s website design closely mirrors that of its product line. Ie: The website offers the same unifying look and feel as that of its product range.
Apples homepage, (the first place a company gets to make an impression) is like a big advertising billboard, nearly the whole page is taken up with an advert, but with the clear easy to use tool bar and lots of white space around it, and the 4 x smaller pictures / boxes at the bottom of the page, it is somehow not offensive. Even the “busier” pages on Apples website make good use of white space, which seems to have a calming effect.

As previously described in our method, the following table illustrates the rating system and the criteria description.
|Aesthetic Appeal |Does the site project a good image of the company. |5 |
| |Do pictures used, if any convey a message. | |
| |If screen elements such as animated gifs and ticker tapes, are used, are they effective without being | |
| |distracting. | |
| |Is a user is able to navigate the system easily. (Choice and placement of menu buttons) | |
| |Do the pages fit completely within your browser, or do you need to scroll in order to see the entire page. | |
| | |4.5 |
| | |N/A |
| | |4 |
| | |3 |
|Functional Design |Are there many steps that a user would need to take to perform a specific task. |4 |
| |How easy it would be for that user to perform that same task again. | |
| |Is the home page well-organized, easy to read and understand. | |
| |Are the navigation choices “menus and headings“ on the website clear, logical and consistent on every page. | |
| |Do they flow from one page to the next. | |
| |Is there a search engine, does it provide accurate results, or is there some other navigation system ie: site | |
| |map, | |
| |Is the site free of bad or broken links, and error messages. | |
| | |4.5 |
| | |5 |
| | |4 |
| | |4.5 |
| | |4.75 |
| | |5 |
|Performance / Efficiency |Does the site look consistent in the different popular browsers (Microsoft Explorer and Safari, Firefox). |5 |
| |Does the site load quickly and completely when the URL is clicked on. | |
| |If the site requires the user to have a special plug-in or application (i.e. Flash, Acrobat files) does the site | |
| |provide a link or help for installing the plug-in. | |
| | |5 |
| | |N/A |
|Overall Experience |How was the overall user experience. |4.5 |
| |Did the system produce the desired results. | |
| |Was the system easy to use. | |
| |Did the user require previous knowledge to able to use the system. | |
| |Are product categories and layout meaningful and logical, making the catalogue easy to navigate. | |
| |Is the product information useful and informative, including visual aids such as photos and diagrams, and do | |
| |these download quickly. | |
| |Once the customer is attracted to the site, did it encourage you to buy. | |
| | |5 |
| | |5 |
| | |5 |
| | |4 |
| | |4.5 |
| | |4.5 |
|Total Score | |90.75 |

7 Website Strengths and Weaknesses

Apple does a wonderful job of keeping their website easy to read. The text is well laid out with headings set in heavier type which makes them stand out, allowing you to quickly get a sense of each section whilst the text may be small, but never too small so as to be a problem. Apples use of images works well to make each text box more interesting.
Apples website consistent, and this is important because it allows the user to develop usage patterns. The consistent interface throughout the site allows the user to quickly learn how it works and of course a user will be able to use this knowledge in any of the new pages that they visit, because it will be the same, or very similar, interface.
A good example of this look and feel is the use of the same global navigation bar at the top on every page. This ensures that the whole experience is very unified and coherent — ie: you know you’re on the same website whichever page you are on.
Probably the biggest criticism I could make of the Apple website is that the pages all require scrolling, sometimes as much as a full page below what is visible, this can make it easy to miss things you are looking for.

3 Skinomi Website

1 Objective

To find iPhone protection and purchase it.

2 Description

|URL |www.skinomi.com |
|Primary audience |Public including those with knowledge about Internet and Website Browsing |

The Skinomi website is the consumer portal for the Skinomi corporation (international). The Skinomi website provides, business to consumer and business to business access to an enormous number of products. Some 80 brands are displayed on the website accessible via a drop down box. Some of these brands have hundreds of product variants. Skinomi provide customised accessories for each of these models. Thousands of individual products. The website also provides detailed installation video information and helps the general public to do everything required to acquire and apply its products.

3 Scope

The Skinomi website includes the following features to provide the most updated information to the general public:

✓ Access to detailed information about Skinomi product range ✓ Access to detailed information about Skinomi product quality ✓ Access to detailed information application of Skinomi product ✓ Access to detailed video tutorials ✓ Access to Skinomi product blog ✓ Access to Skinomi product forum ✓ Access to Skinomi FAQ ✓ Access to shipping information for the Skinomi product ✓ Site map

|Use Case Name |Purchase an iPhone protection system |
|Primary Actor |Customer |
|System |Skinomi website |
|Pre-Condition |Customer has Credit Card, Delivery Address |
|Post Condition |Skinomi product is couriered to the customer |
|Basic Flow |Buying an iPhone 5 Skinomi protector |
| |Log on to http://www.skinomi.com |
| |Select iPhone 5 from the “most popular” menu, on the LHS of the screen or from popular images, middle of screen. |
| |Select techskin choice from grid showing 8 items. |
| |Click “Add to Cart” |
| |Click “Checkout” |
| |Click “Checkout with paypal” |
| |Click “Login”. |
| |Review shipping address and click “Pay using paypal” |
| |Click “Send order” |
|Alternate Flows |Continue Shopping, Save Cart, Check out as guest, Create profile and check out as registered user |

4 System Process

1 Skinomi Website Flowchart

5 Website Review and Rating System

The Skinomi website / information system like the Apple website was deceptively simple and easy to use, in spite of the fact that the Skinomi website offers an enormous number of choices it generally offered clear pathways to where you want to get to. As previously described in our method, the following table illustrates the rating system and the criteria description.
|Aesthetic Appeal |Does the site project a good image of the company. |4.0 |
| |Do pictures used, if any convey a message. | |
| |If screen elements such as animated gifs and ticker tapes, are used, are they effective without being | |
| |distracting. | |
| |Is a user is able to navigate the system easily. (Choice and placement of menu buttons) | |
| |Do the pages fit completely within your browser, or do you need to scroll in order to see the entire page. | |
| | |4.5 |
| | |N/A |
| | |3.5 |
| | |3.5 |
|Functional Design |How many steps will a user would need to take to perform a specific task. |4.0 |
| |How easy it would be for that user to perform that same task again. | |
| |Is the home page well-organized, easy to read and understand. | |
| |Are the navigation choices “menus and headings“ on the website clear, logical and consistent on every page. | |
| |Do they flow from one page to the next. | |
| |Is there a search engine, does it provide accurate results, or is there some other navigation system ie: site | |
| |map, | |
| |Is the site free of bad or broken links, and error messages. | |
| | |3.5 |
| | |3.5 |
| | |3.5 |
| | |3.75 |
| | |4.5 |
| | |4.5 |
|Performance / Efficiency |Does the site look consistent in the different popular browsers (Microsoft Explorer and Safari, Firefox). |4.5 |
| |Does the site load quickly and completely when the URL is clicked on. | |
| |If the site requires the user to have a special plug-in or application (i.e. Flash, Acrobat files) does the site | |
| |provide a link or help for installing the plug-in. | |
| | |4.5 |
| | |N/A |
|Overall Experience |How was the overall user experience. |4.0 |
| |Did the system produce the desired results. | |
| |Was the system easy to use. | |
| |Did the user require previous knowledge to able to use the system. | |
| |Are product categories and layout meaningful and logical, making the catalogue easy to navigate. | |
| |Is the product information useful and informative, including visual aids such as photos and diagrams, and do | |
| |these download quickly. | |
| |Once the customer is attracted to the site, did it encourage you to buy. | |
| | |5.0 |
| | |4.5 |
| | |3.0 |
| | |4.0 |
| | |3 |
| | |2.5 |
|Total Score | |77.75 |

6 Website Strengths and Weaknesses

Skinomi’s business operates in many markets, including both business to business and business to consumer. Which means it has to squeeze a lot of content into each page. As mentioned before they also have an enormous number of products (I would guess in the 1000s)
The make good use of drop down boxes, and larger “linked” images as a way of getting the user around their website. Navigation is also facilitated by most popular lists, brand lists, category lists, there are multiple pathways to the same place/product in many instances. This means the site is going to work well for a broad range of people, who perhaps all don’t think the same.
The search engine on the site works particularly well.
That said, there is little to attract me to make me want to read through this content because it’s just, well, really busy looking. It’s functional, but you wouldn’t just browse it cause it looks good, like you might on the Apple site.
The shopping process is also slightly disconcerting if you are not used to it. I chose paypal, and in the middle of the paypal process you end up back in the Skinomi website. This is unusual, and I thought I had done something wrong at first, but it worked in the end.

4 UTS Supersearch

1 Objective

To search for the article "Designing UML Diagrams for technical documentation” using the UTS library supersearch system.

2 Description

|URL |http://supersearch.lib.uts.edu.au |
|Primary audience |Students and Staff of UTS |

UTS SuperSearch is a search system that allows authorised users to search journal databases and obtain online journal articles. The information system has the capability to handle search queries and results, by providing users with access to online journal articles. It links to top educational databases and databases of other universities. that allows authorised users to search journal databases and obtain online journal articles. The information system has the capability to handle search queries and results, by providing users with access to online journal articles

3 Scope

UTS SuperSearch provides the following information searches: ✓ SuperSearch ✓ QuickSearch ✓ access A - Z lists of databases and eJournals ✓ create and keep your own personal storage space for your favourite databases and eJournals ✓ Article authors ✓ Article Publisher ✓ find databases suitable for your subject area ✓ do a combined search across several databases, Library Catalogues and other information resources ✓ link to full-text journal articles and other resources to which the Library has electronic access

4 System Process

|Use Case Name |Search using Advanced Quick Search for a Journal Article |
|Primary Actor |UTS Student and Staff |
|System |UTS SuperSearch System |
|Pre-Condition |Staff/Student has a UTS login |
|Post Condition |Journal article is returned in the search results |
|Basic Flow |Go to the UTS Library Website |
| |Select the find icon from the main page |
| |Select the supersearch link from the find page, you are redirected to the supersearch website. |
| |Select the log in to enter your student student username and password this makes all the databases available to you. |
| |You are now at the supersearch home page where you select “Find Databases”. |
| |From the find databases page select the subject category option to bring up the various categories that are available |
| |for you to search from. |
| |Select ‘Information Technology’ category and the Top IT Databases from the sub-category options. |
| |This brings up a list of databases available under the subject category: Information Technology |
| |Selecting the ACM Digital Library link will take you to the ACM Digital Library main page. |
| |You enter part of the title of the article "Designing UML Diagrams for technical documentation in the search field. |
| |Clicking on the search button this brings up a list of articles with the title containing the search criteria. |
| |Click on the tile of the article and it will bring up the full details of the article including a link to the full |
| |article in a PDF version. |
| |Once you click on the pdf link, it will bring up the full article in a PDF viewer for the reader to peruse. |
|Alternate Flows |Search does not return results |

1 Supersearch Website Flowchart

5 Website Review and Rating System

The super search website is aimed squarely at students and academics, and it would not be all that friendly as a search engine for the general public. That’s not such an issue, as it requires a student or staff member ID to log in to use it in the first place. New users would definitely benefit from some training in it’s use. Whilst our first use of it was a bit daunting, we found that subsequent searches were a little easier. As previously described in our method, the following table illustrates the rating system and the criteria description.

|Aesthetic Appeal |Does the site project a good image of the company. |3.5 |
| |Do pictures used, if any convey a message. | |
| |If screen elements such as animated gifs and ticker tapes, are used, are they effective without being | |
| |distracting. | |
| |Is a user is able to navigate the system easily. (Choice and placement of menu buttons) | |
| |Do the pages fit completely within your browser, or do you need to scroll in order to see the entire page. | |
| | |2.0 |
| | |N/A |
| | |3.0 |
| | |4.5 |
|Functional Design |How many steps will a user would need to take to perform a specific task. |3.0 |
| |How easy it would be for that user to perform that same task again. | |
| |Is the home page well-organized, easy to read and understand. | |
| |Are the navigation choices “menus and headings“ on the website clear, logical and consistent on every page. | |
| |Do they flow from one page to the next. | |
| |Is there a search engine, does it provide accurate results, or is there some other navigation system ie: site | |
| |map, | |
| |Is the site free of bad or broken links, and error messages. | |
| | |3.0 |
| | |3.0 |
| | |2.5 |
| | |2.5 |
| | |4.0 |
| | |4.0 |
|Performance / Efficiency |Does the site look consistent in the different popular browsers (Microsoft Explorer and Safari, Firefox). |4.0 |
| |Does the site load quickly and completely when the URL is clicked on. | |
| |If the site requires the user to have a special plug-in or application (i.e. Flash, Acrobat files) does the site | |
| |provide a link or help for installing the plug-in. | |
| | |4.0 |
| | |N/A |
|Overall Experience |How was the overall user experience. |3.0 |
| |Did the system produce the desired results. | |
| |Was the system easy to use. | |
| |Did the user require previous knowledge to able to use the system. | |
| |Are product categories and layout meaningful and logical, making the catalogue easy to navigate. | |
| |Is the product information useful and informative, including visual aids such as photos and diagrams, and do | |
| |these download quickly. | |
| |Once the customer is attracted to the site, did it encourage you to buy. | |
| | |4.0 |
| | |3.0 |
| | |2.0 |
| | |2.5 |
| | |2.5 |
| | |2.5 |
|Total Score | |62.5 |

6 Strengths and Weaknesses

As discussed earlier this system is designed for librarian’s, students and staff who have strong knowledge and advanced skills to locate specific articles however, it can be quite daunting for the beginner user, and some degree of instruction and education would assist the newer users to develop the skills to take full advantage of all its features.
The layout is adequate with all of the search fields is clearly located in the middle of the Home screen. The advanced search field contains many options for users to search such as Title, author, subject year The SuperSearch system reduces the number of different databases the user has to search by categorising the databases.
To search the UTS SuperSearch and locate the specific article we found that the system performed satisfactorily. However, navigation was a little difficult until we used it several times. Even initially locating the Supersearch section in the UTS library system was not straight forward.
Many of our steps were initially on a trial and error basis (if that didn’t work they would go back and try another selection). Our knowledge broadened with each new search.
We both felt that the menu options should be clearer and the QuickSearch results page shows too many results even when the author’s surname is inserted. There are too many steps to obtaining a desired outcome, our suggestion would be to reduce to the number of steps, it may be possible to learn something from the commercial offerings I this regard, both the Apple and Skinomi websites offered far fewer steps to the end result.

Selected website and overall summary

The table below contains a summary of the selected websites reviewed.

|Aesthetic Appeal |Apple |Skinomi |Supersearch |
| |5 |4.0 |3.5 |
| |4.5 |4.5 |2.0 |
| |N/A |N/A |N/A |
| |4 |3.5 |3.0 |
|Functional Design |3 |3.5 |4.5 |
| |4 |4.0 |3.0 |
| |4.5 |3.5 |3.0 |
| |5 |3.5 |3.0 |
| |4 |3.5 |2.5 |
| |4.5 |3.75 |2.5 |
| |4.75 |4.5 |4.0 |
|Performance / Efficiency |5 |4.5 |4.0 |
| |5 |4.5 |4.0 |
| |5 |4.5 |4.0 |
| |N/A |N/A |N/A |
|Overall Experience |4.5 |4.0 |3.0 |
| |5 |5.0 |4.0 |
| |5 |4.5 |3.0 |
| |5 |3.0 |2.0 |
| |4 |4.0 |2.5 |
| |4.5 |3 |2.5 |
| |4.5 |2.5 |2.5 |
|Total |90.75 |77.75 |62.5 |

1 The Comparisons

In this report we evaluated the usability of the following three different systems from a user’s (customers) perspective.

Information systems:
Apple Australia Website - www.apple.com/au/
Skinomi - www.skinomi.com
UTS Library Supersearch - http://supersearch.lib.uts.edu.au

Each system served a different business purpose. But all were comparable on a usability level. The major focus of this review was to identify those features that should be considered to be implemented / included in our companies redesigned website.
Given that each system was different, and served a different purpose, a ratings system was devised as a way of comparing/assessing the systems using a level playing field.

Each system had it’s own strengths and weaknesses and these were reviewed at the end of each section.

The results showed that the Apple website had the highest ratings followed by Skinomi and then UTS Supersearch.

The Apple website was assessed by our ratings to have the highest standard of usability, because even though each individual aspect of the site is well thought out, the sum of all these parts was put together beautifully as well. The colour, balance, graphics and font projected a professional clean and inviting image. The homepage is one of the most important pages of the whole site, it’s the first, and in most cases the only chance you get to impress the visitor, you’ve got a few seconds to convince them that the site has enough value for them to keep using it, and Apples homepage is unlike most other companies, quite uncluttered and inviting. The site is overall quite self-explanatory and user friendly. Any processes you are required to complete, like the shopping process, require a minimum of fuss, and steps. The shopping cart, checkout and payment features were efficient, customer service was exceptional with the product delivered within 24 hours
The second most usable website according to our metric was the Skinomi website. Again there were clear and quick paths to successfully achieving your goals when visiting this website, but overall there was no compelling reason to visit the site unless you specifically wanted something that was sold there. Additionally because the site needed to be many things to many people, it was slightly unwieldy to get your head around.
The Skinomi website did have a very quick and functional site search engine. I wasn’t personally overly enamoured with the colour chosen by Skinomi for their website.

Lastly the UTS Supersearch website was the least friendly in terms of usability. As discussed in the strengths and weaknesses section of the UTS Supersearch website review, the system is a very powerful tool when the user has instruction in its use.

Finally to the suitability of the various sites to users. The Skinomi and Apple websites are businesses almost solely focussed on the consumer, so it stands to reason that they are totally optimised for the purpose of selling the user the most amount of product. I would be safe to assume that the respective companies spend a lot of time making their websites as easy as possible to use to enhance the prospect of sales. One great example of this was the many pathways offered to a single product on the Skinomi website.

Regarding our assessment tool. Whilst we spent some time trying to simplify it, by cutting it down to four broad areas, I found that it required more specific / targeted assessments than were offered by the four broad areas. I therefore split my assessment tool into a greater number of areas than initially considered.

One flaw that became apparent was that if you are using a 1 to 5 score for each assessment, and one particular assessment isn’t relevant or doesn’t exist on a website, how to you factor that in? Just putting N/A and assessing as zero, could impact on the overall scores in a detrimental way.

2 Conclusions

This report highlights some of the important factors, essential when evaluating and improving Web-Based information systems. The outcomes provide a better understanding of how information systems are structured and how they operate from a user’s perspective.
I would strongly encourage the further assessment of this report and other websites for consideration and implementation of user-friendly features for the redevelopment of our companies new website

References:

Ashby WR (1962): Principles of the Self-organizing System (from Klir, edt, 1991): Facets of Systems Science New York, USA. Plenum Press.

Palmius, J: Criteria for measuring and comparing information systems Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia IRIS 2007

Norman, D. A. (2002). Emotion and design: Attractive things work better. Interactions Magazine, ix (4), 36-42.

Dmitry Fadeyev. blog http://www.usabilitypost.com/

[pic]
-----------------------
System Process: Buying an iPhone

Screenshots

Steps

1. Log on to www.apple.com/au/

2. Select store from the top menu, and click shop iPhone link under the Apple store heading. Red circles

3. Select iPhone variant link under the Apple store heading. (in this case iPhone 5) Red circle

4. Choose a colour (Black or White)
5. Choose a model (refers to memory size)
6. Navigate to green continue button on RHS of page (Click it). Red circles

7. Select any accessories on this following page.

8. Navigate to green add to cart button on RHS of page (Click it). Red circles

9. Navigate to green check out button on RHS of page (Click it). Red circle

10. Check out as returning customer (Login) Red circle

11. Review the following details and confirm:

- Ship items to single address then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it).

- Shipping address details then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it).

- Billing address and Credit Card details then navigate to green “continue” button on RHS of page (Click it).

12. - Review all detail one more time then navigate to green “place order now” button on RHS of page (Click it). Red circle

13. View “Thank You” page.

Screenshots

Steps

System Process: Buying iPhone protection

1. Log on to www.skinomi.com

2. Select iPhone 5 from the “most popular” menu, on the LHS of the screen or from popular images, middle of screen. Red circles

3. Select Techskin choice from grid showing 8 items. Red circles

4. Select add to cart. Red circles

5. Select checkout. Red circles

6. Select add to cart. Red circles

7. Enter password click login. Red circle

8. Review shipping address and click “Pay using paypal”. Red circles

9. Click “Send order”. Red circle

10. View confirmation page

System Process: Obtaining Journal Article

Screenshots

Steps

1 Log on to http://www.lib.uts.edu.au

2 Select the find icon from the main page Select the supersearch link from the find page, Red circles you are redirected to the supersearch website.

3 Select “Login”, Red circle

4 enter your student student “username and password”, Red circle

7. Selecting the ACM Digital Library link will take you to the ACM Digital Library main page. Red circle

5. You are now at the supersearch home page where you select “Find Databases”. Red circle

6. From the find databases page select the subject category option to bring up the various categories that are available for you to search from. Select ‘Information Technology’ category and the Top IT Databases from the sub-category options. Red circle

8. You enter part of the title of the article "Designing UML Diagrams for technical documentation” in the search field. Red circle

9. Clicking on the search button this brings up a list of articles with the title containing the search criteria.

10. Click on the tile of the article and it will bring up the full details of the article including a link to the full article in a PDF version. Red circle

11. Full detail. Red circle

12. Once you click on the pdf link, it will bring up the full article in a PDF viewer for the reader to peruse. Red circle

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