CIS Department Website Redesign

Project Team Oahu

Work will be added here to show the projected redesign of CIS Department Website

Deliverables and Expectations

  • Identification and use of Theories and Principles appropriate to the nature of the application (target users, interaction style, etc.)matt
  • Identification and use of guidelines and best practices consistent with your theories and principles.matt
  • Identification and use of a design process method (This is being taken care of by Nate Matteson)
  • Indentification and plan for the use of an evaluation method
  • Develop a plan for user documentation and user help
  • A prototype which demonstrates the VISUAL aspects of your design and hints at or suggests elements of usability. This means that you DO NOT have to fully build this app, only prototype the app for interface usability.

Requirements and Goals

Our client wants an overall simplification of the current website. He wants to get rid of a lot of the clutter. He wants to get rid of the scrolling news banner. He also wants all of the links located on tabs across the top of the website. Our client also wants to revamp the look of the site with a new logo. Overall the objective is to create a more usable and attractive website.

Principles

The users of our system will range from novice (first time users) to expert (frequent users). The target audience is undergrads, current CIS students, those who are interested in the CIS program, or those who are interested in becoming a student of CIS. The interaction style is menu selection based. At the very top of the website we have the logo to clarify what the website is about. Immediately just below that we have important links. As well there are links on the right for current students. These links will remain constant throughout the website to maintain uniformity and improve usability. Information is organized from top to bottom throughout. The pages of the website are repetitive to develop a pattern or rhythm.

Theories

Users will try to anticipate where items will appear on their screen. They will start ’searching’ a page before the layout appears on their screen. When screen items remain constant, users learn their location on a page, and use this knowledge to improve task performance. Experienced users will begin moving their mouse to the area of the target before the eye detects the item. Users can anticipate the location of items near the top much better than those farther down the page.

Users generally look at the top center of a page first, then look left, then right, and finally begin systematically moving down the total Web page. All critical content and navigation options should be toward the top of the page. Particularly on navigation pages, most major choices should be visible with no, or a minimum of, scrolling.

Users prefer consistent alignments for items such as text blocks, rows, columns, checkboxes, radio buttons, data entry fields, etc.

Patterns are easy for humans to comprehend, and repetition provides patterns that make your site easier to comprehend. Once the brain recognizes the pattern in the rhythm it can relax and understand the whole design.

Guidelines

All Web pages should be structured for ease of comprehension. This includes putting items on the page in an order that reflects their relative importance. Place important items consistently, usually toward the top and center of the page.

Put important, clickable items in the same locations, and closer to the top of the page, where their location can be better estimated.
Visually align page elements, either vertically or horizontally.

Repeat the navigation elements of your design across the pages of your site.

Identification and use of a design process method and evaluation.

When looking at which design process methods to use when working on this project we decided to go with an ethnographic design approach. With the heavy use of this page for students wishing to join our CIS department, or currently enrolled students, or faculty working in the CIS department, the end user opinion is of the utmost importance.

To do this we have formulated a list of simple tasks to navigate around the CIS web page. This can give us simple yet straightforward view of how inexperienced users fare at navigating the page.

With their opinions in mind we have looked at the page and found a way to group more similar pages together to increase ease of use. We have also worked on the page to make the flow from other WT pages to and from the CIS page , all this is reflected in our template.
What is nice about using this design method is that it can also be used to evaluate our new design. In theory when the new site was designed we would be able to present the same original test takers, as well as a new lot of people to see if ease of use has improved. If it has the redesign has been very clearly a success.

User Documentation and Help

We plan to have a FAQs section as well as contact us section. The website overall is simplistic in nature. The user will not require documentation or much help because of this. If the user does have any questions they can e-mail the department. Most questions will be about the department itself and not the usability of the website.

Identification and Plan for the use of an Evaluation Method

With the emphasis on technology more users are becoming interested in learning and using various types of technological software and hardware. What makes the two work together are the interfaces and set up of programs and web pages, which can make the experience either enjoyable or frustrating.

With West Texas A&M University offering an extensive CIS criteria we need a source to allow future and existing student to be able to learn about the department and the classes that are offered.

The team has taken an ethnographic design approach to help make the experience at the CIS web site much easier to navigate and learn about the CIS department. In order to do this we have had multiple users of various ages, experience and computer knowledge to complete an action survey and give feedback on what they found enjoyable and what was needed to be changed to improve the web site.

The following is a copy of the form given to those individuals.

Project Questionnaire

Name:

Age:

Experience
Overall Computer Experience: Beginner Intermediate Experienced
Overall Computer Usage: Sometimes Frequently Heavy
Web Page Browsing: Sometimes Frequently Heavy
Any Program Usage: Beginner Intermediate Experienced
Interface Layout Knowledge: Beginner Intermediate Experienced
Objective

This questionnaire will have you perform a few tasks to test the interface and the layout of how the material is displayed. We are testing to see what needs to be changed to improve the webpage and to allow any user, beginner or advanced users will be able to browse the page and are able to find what is needed immediately.

What we need from you

Each question will take you to various parts of the website, the following requirements are need for each questions:

  1. We’re you able to complete the task? If not, where did you get stuck?
  2. Was the task difficult to complete? If so, what was the confusing part?
  3. What would you change to allow for easier navigation to this section?
  1. What is a brief description of class IDM 2345?
  2. What are the days and times IDM 2345 are going to be held?
  3. What are the times and days the IDM Lab Assistant hours?
  4. What link would you use to get to the web page that has this picture for the Buff Jobs?
  5. What is the phone number to the Career Services Office?
  6. What are the 3 games that are being playing in tournament form on the XBOX 360?
  7. What is a brief description of IDM 6340?
  8. What are the days and times IDM 6350 are going to be held?
  9. What is the number to the IDM department?
  10. What link takes you to where the title “Chair’s Welcome” at the top of the page?

Identification and Plan for the use of an Evaluation Method

Team Oahu has identified a need to change the WTAMU CIS Homepage, we found that the information was scattered and sometimes either hard to find and navigating around to get the information was difficult. We realized there needed to be changes to the website to help our existing and future students at WTAMU understand what the CIS department is all about.

In our own evaluation we got an understanding the direction we need to take the website but we also knew that further evaluation methods needed to be used to find what other students and individuals thought might help the change.

We created a questionnaire that had simple tasks to be completed at the website to find if the information could be found and if they thought navigating around the website was fluid and simple. The individuals also were able to give their opinions on how the information was displayed and given to them and their overall experience at the site.

The 6 individuals that tested the site and filled out the questionnaire were asked a few questions to help the team understand the experience of the individuals to determine what we can do as a group to make the site simple and usable for all users regardless of their computer related experience.

The following is a chart and information about the individuals that shows and gives feedback about the experience they encountered while answering the questions:

Age / Gender 29 (F) 37 (M) 25 (F) 27 (F) 47 (M) 19 (M)
Overall Computer Experience Intermediate Intermediate Beginner Beginner Intermediate Intermediate
Overall Computer Usage Frequently Frequently Frequently Frequently Frequently Sometimes
Web Page Browsing Frequently Frequently Frequently Frequently Frequently Sometimes
Program Usage Intermediate Intermediate Beginner Beginner Intermediate Intermediate
Interface Layout Knowledge Beginner Beginner Beginner Beginner Beginner Beginner

The user varied in age and gender but the usage of the users varied as well. The following is how the users used technology in a given day:

The two males that ages were 37 and 47 do not use computers for their everyday jobs, the 37 is a diesel mechanic and the 47 is a pressman for a company paper. The experience they have is recreational that they do on their own time and they experiment with little more advanced programs.

The one male 19 years of age has only had beginner classes in high school and since graduation he hasn’t had access to a computer all the time and uses the computer when whenever possible.

The three females ages 25, 27 and 29 all work daily on computers for their jobs, the 29 year old works for the AISD school district and the other two work as receptionist for a company. The 29 year old is the only one that is enrolled at WTAMU and she uses some advanced programs but mainly basic software. The 25 and 27 use only basic software (Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint) but when they are at home they use the computer frequently and only for web browsing.

All of the users were able to answer the questions but only 85% of the questions were correct and only a few said they were unable to answer one or two all together.

The following are a list of comments the users gave me that described what they thought of the website and their experience:

  • The information could have been given a little more neatly
  • The information was hard to read and could have been organized better
  • Some of the same stuff could have been in the same spot
  • The wording of the links didn’t seem to match the material it went to
  • Multiple sections could be in the same spot
  • Have more ways to get around the rest of the WTAMU web services

The information by the users was taken into consideration and helped our developers with knowing how to redesign the CIS department and which ways we can create a new and simpler website for the existing and future students of WTAMU.

Bibliography

Badre, 2002; Bernard, 2001; Bernard, 2002; Byrne, et al., 1999; Ehret, 2002; Hornof and Halverson, 2003.
Byrne, et al., 1999; Detweiler and Omanson, 1996; Faraday, 2000; Faraday, 2001; Lewenstein, et al., 2000; Mahajan and Shneiderman, 1997; Nielsen, 1996a; Nielsen, 1999b; Nielsen, 1999c; Spyridakis, 2000.
Ausubel, 1968; Bailey, 1996; Esperet, 1996; Fowler, 1998; Lawless and Kulikowich, 1996; Marcus, Smilonich and Thompson 1995; Mayer, Dyck and Cook, 1984; Parush, Nadir and Shtub, 1998; Spyridakis, 2000; Trollip and Sales, 1986; Voss, et al., 1986; Williams, 1994; Williams, 2000.
http://webdesign.about.com/od/webdesignbasics/a/aa053007.htm
http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/chapter6.pdf
Byrne, et al., 1999; Detweiler and Omanson, 1996; Faraday, 2000; Faraday, 2001; Lewenstein, et al., 2000; Mahajan and Shneiderman, 1997; Nielsen, 1996a; Nielsen, 1999b; Nielsen, 1999c; Spyridakis, 2000.
Ausubel, 1968; Bailey, 1996; Esperet, 1996; Fowler, 1998; Lawless and Kulikowich, 1996; Marcus, Smilonich and Thompson 1995; Mayer, Dyck and Cook, 1984; Parush, Nadir and Shtub, 1998; Spyridakis, 2000; Trollip and Sales, 1986; Voss, et al., 1986; Williams, 1994; Williams, 2000.
http://webdesign.about.com/od/webdesignbasics/p/aarhythm.htm

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