The study includes a survey and a wap usability study

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Unformatted text preview: of the usability of two biggest UK WAP portals BTCellnet’s Genie and Vodafone’s Vizzavi. The study includes a survey and a WAP usability study. The usability of both portals was tested against the “five attributes of usability” of Nielsen, (1993) and the “Eight golden rules of interface design” suggested by Shneiderman, (1998). The study highlight ten usability principles as the main contributions of their paper which can be used as guide for future research in WAP related services. Their ten usability principles are as following: 1. Avoid unnecessary use of graphics According to Condos et al., (2002) graphics should be used very carefully, since some graphics such as corporate logo are symbols of a company brand and it is used to differentiate a WAP site from its competitors. However, such graphics should look pleasant to the eyes of users and it should not cover the whole screen since that should be used to present some other important material. For example in Figure 2.3 the logo of vizzavi has occupied the whole screen and it also took an extra time to download. The web designers should ask themselves if the use of such an image would add anything positive to the user experience. In other words, the designers make sure that any added graphics make service easier to use, or it should make the WAP site look better. Another example of useless and inappropriate use of graphics is shown in figure 2.4 where the header of Vizzavi occupies a major part of the screen. In the presence of this header, the user can just see two menus out of several menu options available. If the header was not there or the size of header is small, it would make a lot of room for other options to fit on one screen. 34 Figure 2.3 The unnecessary use of graphics by Condos et al., (2002) Source: Aslib Proceedings 2002, Page 348 Figure 2.4 The unnecessary use of graphics (Vizzavi Header) Condos et al., (2002) Source: Aslib Proceedings 2002, Page 348 2. Avoid long lists and indicate the length of the list The earlier research on web usability figure out that only 10 per cent of the users would scroll down to navigate to see any links that are not visible to them (Nielsen, 1996). However, due to effective web design, the situation has improved significantly, but even than there are just limited numbers of users who rarely scroll down, thus it is normally suggested that all navigation options should be offered on a single screen (Nielsen, 1997). Therefore, the WAP designers should avoid long lists. Therefore, whenever the number of the options in a list exceeds the maximum number of options that can be shown on the screen, the length of the list should be mentioned to the user in a clear way (Condos et al., 2002). 35 Figure 2.5 long lists without indication of the length (Vizzavi) Condos et al., (2002) Source: Aslib Proceedings 2002, Page 348 In Figure 2.5, there are 13 different options which comes in a sequence, however as for as the appearance of these screen are concerns, it does not have any indication that there are further menus to navigate so that the user can scroll down. In such cases, the appearance is quite puzzling and user could not know there are still some remaining options to scroll down to navigate. 3. Make important options visible to the user According to Condos et al.,(2002) all key options should be clearly visible and easily accessible by user to enhance the user experience. All important options such as, submit order, start search and help which are critical for the successful completion of a task should be clearly visible. The user should not have to scroll down in order to view the other available options, if it not achievable anyhow, than user should be guided to scroll down in order to view important options. 4. Provide clear, helpful and meaningful error messages The error handing in WAP should be done in a highly professional manner; the error massages should be simple and easily understandable. The error massages given in technical language are not understandable by general users. If an error does occur, the user should be guided with a meaningful and helpful message. Therefore, clear and informative language should be used. The designers should make every effort to minimize the occurrence of errors. As a whole, the error message should inform the user, what was wrong and what to do next in order to solve this problem (Condos et al., 2002). 5. Avoid dead ends The WAP designers should carefully update the links to facilitate users, during a study conducted on BBC portal, Condos et al., (2002) found that there were some links and 36 when they used that links to reach other websites, they found that websites were no longer available. The same problem appeared while tried to read an article on Guardian Unlimited website, the link of the article was there but the article was no longer available. The WAP designers should try to prevent the occurrence of such problems, since it wastes the user's time and money, and turns into customer dissatisfacti...
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