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Visual Interface Usability Evaluation For Energy
Database Collection Project (EDC) of
Digital Government Research Center (DGRC)
Peter Sommer
Ju-Ling Shih, Laura Zadoff
Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning
About the Project
• Project Description
– Video Clip
• Project Description (Judith Klavans)
• Rationale for Evaluation (Judith Klavans)
• Project Presentation
– Video Clip
• Project Presentation (Surabhan Temiyabutr)
– Screen Shot
• Old DGUI
• New DGUI
• Gummy Bear Show
– Websites
• Old Gummy Bear Show
• Colorful Gummy Bear Show
Goals of Evaluation
optimize the effectiveness of the interface,
identify usability problems,
provide feedback on the overall functionality,
anticipate changes in user need that might drive
future development,
• validate the design,
• indicate the extent to which the interface improves
on previous interfaces.
Methods of Evaluation
Contrast Analysis
Task Analysis
Contrast Analysis
Menu System vs. Fisheye
• Technological
– Functionality
– Query efficiency
– Friendliness
• User
– Query styles
– Strategies
– Easiness
• Heuristics: see comparison chart.
Comparison Example
e.g. (3.D) Tracing ability. Documentation of search process
and task steps to enable users to trace their footprints.
– DataGate: DataGate allows you to save files or download
datasets onto local drives so the users can continue
unfinished work in other time. It allows users to download
the queries and print out search results.
– Others: Some databases allow users to go back to a
previous stage in the query history.
– Fisheye: Users can see the context and options on the
screen, therefore can go for an alternative path for a query.
Analysis of Traditional Database
• Query Log Analysis of EDS DataGate
– Flexibility in Choosing Variables
• Options to Sets of Variables
• Options to Adjust Individual Variable
– Keyword Search: Search Methods and Syntax
• “All” vs. “Any”
• “And” vs. “Or”
– Modification of Queries
• From General to Specific
• From Specific to General
• Interdisciplinary Conversation
• Interviewees:
– EDS librarians
• Jane Weintrop
• Nicole Fox
– Reference Desk librarians
• Jerry Breeze
• Alysse Jordan
Interview Findings
User Type Identification
User Goals
Kinds of Questions
Brief History of Search
Types of Searches
Related Terms for
• Selecting the database
• Learning to use the
• Student’s Searching Styles
• Searching Styles of
Fisheye Design
• Flexibility to Searching
• Helping the User Define
the Search
• Standardize Problem
• Librarians’ Duty
• Suggestions for the
Fisheye Design
• Goal
– Usability inspection method targeting on interface design
by judging compliances to certain principles for successful
• Evaluators
– Library Staff
• Design
– Adapted from existing research
– Modified for Energy Database
• Heuristics
– Five Categories
• Appearance, Language, Functionality, Structure, Assistance
Task Analysis
• Process
– Task Scenarios
– Interview
– Observation
• Goal
– User Behaviors
– User Intuitiveness for Different Groups of Users
– Strengths and Weaknesses of the Design
• Participants
– Content Experts
– Government Agency Workers
– Faculty and Students
Upon Completion of the Project
Target on Actual Users
Summative Evaluation
Preliminary Questionnaire