Heuristic Evaluation Assignment

Due: Thursday, November 12th, 2015 before Class

Objective: In this assignment, you will perform a heuristic evaluation of your interactive prototype.  You will conduct a “think aloud” exercise with a members of a different group. You will use your observations from the think aloud to conduct a heuristic evaluation using this heuristic evaluation spreadsheet: HE.xls

What to do:

  1. With your group, write down 2-3 tasks to be completed by evaluators using your interface.
  2. Look at the front whiteboard to see what project you are matched up with. Half of your group will prepare to be a test user. Test users will participate in a think aloud for your partner group. The other half will conduct a “Think-Aloud” exercise using your prototype, using members of your partnered group as subjects . You will switch roles in the second half of the class.
  3. Users walk over to the other group and go through the think-aloud with the other grou’s demonstrators. Demonstrators should take detailed notes of the user’s observations. Do it quickly so that you have time for the heuristic evaluation.
  4. Next, demonstrators will conduct a heuristic evaluation. You can use Nielsen’s heuristics, plus any others you have added.  Each demonstrator should work independently, making sure to take detailed notes. Any evaluations that cannot be completed during class time should be done after class.
  5. Demonstrators should use the following format to keep track of observations: HE.xls. Each observation requires a numeric index, a heuristic that was violated, a location on the user interface, a description of the problem, a severity rating, and a possible fix (use the 0-4 scale presented in lecture for severity ratings). Each evaluator should aim to document at least 10 usability problems, covering 5 distinct heuristics. Some usability problems may not violate an established heuristic – in that case you can label them “misc” for miscellaneous. However, please make sure that an existing heuristic does not cover what you are describing.
  6. Switch places! People who were users in the first half of class are now evaluators.
  7. Plan a time to meet with your group and consolidate evaluation reports between the two halves of your group. You will create one master Excel spreadsheet that contains each unique problem found. For each unique problem, you will need to discuss amongst yourselves to decide on a final severity rating and a possible fix.
  8. Write a short (less then one page) executive summary that outlines the major problems that you found, and possible solutions for the same, prioritizing those with the highest severity ratings.
  9. After class, you should conduct more “Think-Aloud” exercises with your own project, this time with 2-3 real prospective users. Feel free to use the same tasks you did in class, or come up with new ones. Document your observations, and any feedback and recommendations that you receive. You will find it useful to do this before your next prototype assignment.

What to turn in:

The preferred method of turn-in is a PDF document, including each of the following components. To avoid a late penalty, e-mail a link to your group’s submission to the professor, TA and the other group before class on Thursday, November 12th:

  1. Cover sheet including yourself and the other evaluators’ names, and the project(s) you evaluated.
  2. The final consolidated evaluation report, using the following Excel format: HE.xls.
  3. A short executive summary that outlines the major problems you found, and possible solutions for the same, prioritizing those with the highest severity ratings [1 page].

Please contact the professor or the class TA if you have any questions with this assignment.