Usability Report-Monti

Usability Test

Participant: JML

Date: 11/14/06

Observer: Grace Lau


Usability Study Report

I. User Description


My participant is a young female who in her first year of graduate school in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. She indicated that she is not very familiar with wiki technology, and that it is still strange to her. She does not seem to be an expert with computers, but she seems to have average proficiency with information technology.

II. Hardware


My participant performed her usability study on a computer in room 118 of the GSE&IS Building (the Mac Lab). I asked her to sit down at a computer and log on to, and type “Blanchette” in for the password.

III. Test Observations


1. Does the University of Hawaii offer an advanced degree in medical informatics?


The “Side Bar” did not come up first, and my participant did not know where to go. She immediately went to the search box in the upper right hand corner, and performed a query. She typed in “medical informatics + University of Hawaii” and received zero results. She saw that PBWiki gave her the option to create a page called “Medical informatics + University of Hawaii” and clicked on it, but realized that was not where she wanted to go. Then she did a new search and typed in “Medical Informatics”, and found several results. She did a search and find on the page for Hawaii and did not find anything. She did one more search in the keyword box for Hawaii, and only was able to find the Usability Test instructions asking this question. Her conclusion was, “no, the University of Hawaii does not offer an advanced degree in medical informatics.” THis took my participant about five minutes.


2. Find information on the International Journal of Knowledge Management?


My participant went again to the search box in the upper right hand corner and typed in “International Journal of Knowledge Management” and received two results. The first result was the a link to the Knowledge Management page, and the other was a link to the Usability Test instructions asking this question. She asked if she could go outside the wiki to find the answer in the UCLA Library catalog. When I said no, she clicked on the first hit. She scrolled down and found the International Journal of Information Management and clicked on it. When I told her she needed to find the International Journal of Knowledge Management, she clicked on the link below the one she clicked on. This took my participant four minutes.


3. Does UCLA offer informatics classes in the Communications Department?


My participant searched again in the search box for “UCLA communications department” and received no hits. Then she tried “UCLA Communications” and “UCLA Departments” and neither retrieved any hits. Then she searched for just UCLA and found about 15 hits. I then told her she could use the “Side Bar” to navigate to the page. She then clicked on “Informatics @ UCLA” and found several Informatics classes under the listings for Communications Department. This took my participant four minutes.


4. Any additions or contributions you would like to make to the wiki?


My participant said it would be hard to navigate the wiki if more information was added to it. As of now, she said, it is easy to locate the information because there was not much in the Side Bar. She also suggested adding an advanced searching search box so users can search by keyword, by title, and by author.


IV. Assessment


1. What do they have problems with? What happened? Was the problem fixed?

My participant had a problem finding the information she was asked to find. What happened was she did not know that the Side Bar was there, and did not see any form of navigation, so she went straight to the key-word search box. She felt limited by the keyword searching, and said she was more used to advanced searching (with Boolean operators). Once the Side Bar was pointed out to her, she was able to find the information she needed better.


Another problem was that my participant, once she found the Side Bar, did not know that it was the way to navigate the wiki. What happened was, even though she saw the side bar, she thought they were just words on the page, and did not know they linked to other places in the wiki until she moused over the words in the Side Bar. She said she expects navigation to have drop-down menus or image buttons to click on. She did eventually figure it out by clicking on “Informatics @ UCLA.” She suggested making the navigation stand out a little more by underlining the text, or inserting images instead.

Another problem was that the participant did not know how to do the keyword search. She did not know how to combine terms in a single search box. (Perhaps we can include “How to use the search box” in “Contributing to this Wiki.” We can include whether or not Pbwiki’s search box embeds terms, is case sensitive, how to combine terms, etc.


2. What works?


The key-word searching with the search box seemed to work out well. It was the first thing that she used, and it was able to get her to the information even though it took several queries. Using the navigation bar worked really well too, once she realized she could use it to navigate the wiki.

3. What does not work? What was hard?

The Side Bar did not stand out enough to my participant. It was hard for her to know that it was the navigation for the site because it is not dynamic, and was not descriptive. She wanted some way for it to be more noticeable and more clear as to what is exactly under there.


V. Conclusions and Suggested Changes