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Das Virtuelle Museum

Museums and the Web 2001

Conducting a Heuristic Evaluation of a Museum Web Site to Improve its Usability

A workshop presented by
David Farkas, farkas@u.washington.edu
University of Washington, Seattle, College of Engineering, Dept. of Technical Communication

Werner Schweibenz, w.schweibenz@rz.uni-sb.de
University of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Dept. of Information Science

Updated: 03/08/2001

Topics of the workshop:


ISO/DIS 9241-11 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) Part 11: Guidance on usability

„Usability: the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.“

A definition by Joseph Dumas and Janice Redish:

„Usability means that the people who use the product can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their own tasks. This definition rests on four points:
1. Usability means focusing on users.
2. People use products to be productive.
3. Users are busy people trying to accomplish tasks.
4. Users decide when a product is easy to use.“

A definition by Jakob Nielsen:

„Usability is the measure of the quality of the user experience when interacting with something – whether a web site, a traditional software application, or any other device the user can operate in some way or another.“

In the context of the World Wide Web Usability means according to Benjamin Keevil:

„how easy it is to find, understand and use the information displayed on a Web site“.

In the context of Web Sites Usability means according to Jared Spool et al.:

„Whatever the goal, information is a central theme. For intranets (internal web sites), information is the theme – no one surfs the online employee policy manual just for kicks. Because of this, we focused our study on how successful sites are at providing people with information so they can make decisions. The more a site helps people find the information they are looking for, the more usable it is.”

The Right to Accessibility and Usability

The Web Site Visitor’s Bill of Rights, Giga Information Group.

Print Literature on Usability and Web Usability

Dumas, J. S. / Redish, J. C. (1994): A Practical Guide To Usability Testing. 2nd edition. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.

Keevil, B. (1998): Measuring the Usability Index of Your Web Site. In: CHI ’98. Conference Proceedings on Human factors in Computing Systems. April 18-23, 1998, Los Angeles, CA. The Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction. New York, NY: ACM Press. 271-277

Levi, M. D./Conrad, F. G. (1996): A Heuristic Evaluation of a World Wide Web Prototype. In: interactions 07/1996. 51-61.

Nielsen, J. (1993). Usability Engineering. Boston: Academic Press.

Nielsen, J. (1997): Usability Testing. In: Salvendy, G. (1997, ed.): Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics. 2nd edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1543-1568.

Nielsen, J. (2000): Designing Web Usability. The Practice of Simplicity. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.

Sienot, M. (1997): Pretesting Web Sites. A Comparison Between The Plus-Minus Method And The Thinking-Aloud Method For The World Wide Web. In: Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 11 (4), 469-482.

Spool, J. M. / Scanlon, T. / Schroeder, W. / Snyder, C. / DeAngelo, T. (1999): Web Site Usability: A Designer’s Guide. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publ.

Links to Web Usability

Special Issue World Wide Web Usability, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (1997) 47(1) 1-222

Usable Web Links About Web Usability by Keith Instone

The Alertbox Current Issues in Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen

Heuristic Evaluation by Jakob Nielsen

User Interface Engineering Articles and Other Resources by Spool et al.

Links to Web Usability for Museum Web Sites

To Use or Not to Use? Evaluating Usability of Museum Web Sites by Franca Garzotto, Maristella Matera, and Paolo Paolini ,
presented at Museums & the Web 1998

„Web Musing“: Evaluating Museums on the Web from Learning Theory to Methodology by Lynne Teather and Kelly Wilhelm,
presented at Museums & the Web 1999

An Examination of the Impact of Subjective Cultural Issues on the Usability of a Localized Web Site – The Louvre Museum Web Site by Yvonne Cleary,
presented at Museums & the Web 2000

Evaluating the Usability of a Museum Web Site by Ilse Harms and Werner Schweibenz,
presented at Museums & the Web 2001

Some Tools for Evaluating Web Usability

Web Usability Index by Keevil & Associates, Toronto

Heuristics for Web Communication, developed during and after workshop in Seattle

Quicklists for Web Communication. In: Technical Communication Online, August 2000, Vol. 47, No. 3., Society for Technical Communication

Usability Laboratories

Ameritech’s Usability Laboratory: From Prototype to Final Design, by Arnold M. Lund.

Microsoft’s Usability Laboratories, Redmont Campus

Automatic Evaluation of Accessibility and Usability of Web Sites

Bobby – Web accessibility tool by CAST

Web TANGO Studies Quantitative Web Page Measures

Automatic web usability evaluation by Giorgio Brajnik, Dipartimento di Matematica e Informatica, Università di Udine


Download materials from the workshop:

Suggestions for the Heuristic Evaluation During the Workshop

Kunstmuseum Basel Basel, Switzerland (English pages)

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA


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