Application of Systemic Structural Activity Theory to Web Design
Authors: Inna Bedny
Abstract: In this paper we are demonstrating application of the Systemic Structural Activity Theory (SSAT) to the design of the WEB pages. These days every company has a WEB presence. The Websites come in all shapes and sizes.In order to demonstrate how SSAT theory and methods can be utilized in the design of WEB pages we choose two websites of similar businesses in order to compare them and show how application of SSAT makes it easy to identify which version is a better choice for its users. The advantage of the SSAT methods is that they are formalized and allow to perform the step-by-step task analysis at the design stage. One of such methods is the probabilistic event tree. It allows to analyze the task and determine if the task flow leads to the successful outcome or failure. And in the latter scenario the user has to start over.The other SSAT method is to create the human algorithm of the task. Such algorithm provides the performance time and the task flow and demonstrates the probabilities of various versions of the task. This information is then utilized to determine complexity of the task performance. The higher the complexity of the task is the higher is the probability of the human errors. The preferable design of any website is the one that is the least complex for the users and allows the easy access to the most commonly used relative sources of information. The main objective of this paper is presenting the analytical methods of SSAT and their application to WEB design. The existing methods outside of SSAT consist mostly of observation and experiments. However, observation and experiments are not always available and efficient, especially for new design. Such methods are not sufficient for prediction of the efficiency of the end product. The concept of design is substituted in ergonomics by experimentation which reduces the external validity of the task analysis. Website users are dealing with tasks that include numerous decisions and are exceedingly variable. So, cognitive components of activity are extremely important. Streamlining of web design and improving the user experience is vital considering that such users come in all ages and have various levels of web user experience. This paper will show the way to minimize abandoned actions and improve the user experience when they are in a process of looking up information on the company website or are trying to place an order. We will show how the well-designed application saves customers time and benefit the company by saving the resources and attract the customer that are looking for the fast and easy access to what they are looking for.
Keywords: Systemic Structural Activity Theory, WEB design, website, human errors, efficiency, user experience
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