A comparison between usability evaluation methods: A case study in the E-Commerce domain
Authors: Freddy Paz, Freddy Asrael Paz
Abstract: Usability is a quality attribute that nowadays cannot be ignored by software development teams. Designing a software product that is difficult to use and understand, where the user is lost, and the achievement of the user's objectives is prevented, can cause users to choose to use similar alternatives. For this reason, Human-Computer Interaction specialists have developed a set of usability evaluation methods that allow problems to be identified to guarantee an appropriate level of user-friendliness of the application. However, there is a large disagreement between the authors as to which is the best method to use. In this study, the results of two of the most used methods to carry out usability evaluations of software products have been compared: the questionnaire and the heuristic evaluation. On the one hand, the questionnaire has turned out to be the method most used by the scientific community because it is easy to use and does not require much material preparation. However, the majority of questionnaires have been aimed at being answered by end-users. In a previous work, we developed a questionnaire for UX practitioners that in this case has been used for the evaluation of an electronic commerce application. On the other hand, heuristic evaluation is a method where specialists verify compliance with certain principles in the design of the graphical interfaces of a software product. It is also widely used like questionnaires but requires more planning and execution time. In this research, it is possible to evidence the differences in the type of problems that can be identified by each of the methods. In conclusion, it is possible to mention that although a percentage of problems are identified that can only be identified with one or the other method, the recommendation is to use both methods as the results complement each other.
Keywords: Usability, Assessment questionnaire, Heuristic evaluation, Comparative analysis
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