User eXperience Heuristics for Geoportals
Authors: Daniela Quiñones, Andrés Barraza, Luis Rojas
Abstract: A web portal is defined as a “website that acts as a connection to a collection of information or resources including sources, services, news, tutorials, tools and an organized collection of other references from different websites” (Maguire and Longley, 2005). Specifically, the expression “geospatial resources” is used for geospatial information and services, where this “geoportal” is a type of portal, where it deals with resources with these characteristics. Based on the review that we performed, we can define a geoportal as a website that is considered an entry point to geographic content on the web or, more simply, a website where geographic content can be discovered. Several features can define this type of portals. According to the “Spatial Data Infrastructure of Uruguay” (IdeUy, 2018), geoportals have the following characteristics: User interface; Metadata; Data access; Documentation; Contact; and Help.According to the ISO 9241-11 standard (2018), the User eXperience (UX) is defined as “the perceptions and responses of the person resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. The UX evaluation is an important task to perform when developing any kind of websites. It is necessary to assess whether the websites meet the needs of the users and whether it fits properly in the physical, social, and organizational context in which it will be used. In this regard, it is important to evaluate whether a geoportal is intuitive, easy to use, and allows users to complete their objectives. UX should be explicitly considered, since the information, the content, the, presentation and the structure of the website should generate a user-friendly experience, motivating people to use the several functionalities and tools provided by the geoportal.Heuristic evaluation is an inspection method where expert evaluators detect potential usability/UX problems, based on heuristics (Nielsen and Molich, 1990). Nielsen’s heuristics allow evaluators to inspect a website in a general way, without focusing on specific domain features. However, the above makes it difficult to detect usability/UX domain-specific problems. Geoportals have their own features that differentiate them from other products, so it is necessary to use a set of specific and appropriate heuristics for these types of websites. Moreover, we think that heuristics can help detecting problems related to UX, and not limited to usability aspects (Quiñones et al., 2018, Quiñones and Rusu, 2019).This article presents a set of 10 heuristics to evaluate the UX of geoportals. The heuristics were developed using the methodology proposed by Quiñones et al. (2018). The methodology proposes eight stages to develop and validate a new set of heuristics and can be applied iteratively, repeating the stages that are necessary to refine the proposed set. We performed a preliminary validation with UX experts in order to refine and improve the proposed set of UX heuristics for geoportals.
Keywords: User experience, User experience heuristics, Geoportals
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