Note: this report shows the results of a usability test of the Information Architecture and Knowledge Management program web site at Kent State University in 2003. The site has since been redesigned.
In usability study of the IAKM web site I found a number of serious problems. Current IAKM students were asked to complete a series of tasks using the site. Although participants were able to complete the tasks 91.67 percent of the time, they met all performance goals for each task only 36.11 percent of the time. The site is not fundamentally broken, but clearly there is room for improvement. Through statistical analysis, observations of the students, and remarks made by the students a number of issues were uncovered.
Many of the problems were global problems with site navigation and labeling, but there were also a number of prominent local problems. The severity of problems were rated via three categories:
- Severeâ€”prevents the user from completing a task or results in catastrophic loss of data or time.
- Moderateâ€”significantly hinders task completion but users can find a work-around.
- Minorâ€”irritating to the user but does not significantly hinder task completion. (Artim, 1).
Problems are also rated by scope. Any problem can be either global, meaning it applies to most pages or the site as a whole, or local, meaning it is particular to a page or specific section. Global problems are generally more pressing than local ones.
Findings are presented first in order of importance, followed by a description of the study methods.