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USEFul: A Framework to Mainstream Web Site Usability through Automated Evaluation
Justin Mifsud, Alexiei Dingli
Pages - 10 - 30     |    Revised - 31-03-2011     |    Published - 04-04-2011
Volume - 2   Issue - 1    |    Publication Date - March / April 2011  Table of Contents
Usability, Automated Usability Evaluation, Usability Guidelines, Usability Problems
A paradox has been observed whereby web site usability is proven to be an essential element in a web site, yet at the same time there exist an abundance of web pages with poor usability. This discrepancy is the result of limitations that are currently preventing web developers in the commercial sector from producing usable web sites. In this paper we propose a framework whose objective is to alleviate this problem by automating certain aspects of the usability evaluation process. Mainstreaming comes as a result of automation, therefore enabling a non-expert in the field of usability to conduct the evaluation. This results in reducing the costs associated with such evaluation. Additionally, the framework allows the flexibility of adding, modifying or deleting guidelines without altering the code that references them since the guidelines and the code are two separate components. A comparison of the evaluation results carried out using the framework against published evaluations of web sites carried out by web site usability professionals reveals that the framework is able to automatically identify the majority of usability violations. Due to the consistency with which it evaluates, it identified additional guideline-related violations that were not identified by the human evaluators.
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Mr. Justin Mifsud
Goldsmiths University of London - Malta
Dr. Alexiei Dingli
University of Malta - Malta