Marking World Usability Day on 12 November 2009, ANACOM has released the conclusions and recommendations of the usability study conducted on its website by the company Work Value.
This study was based on the Eye Tracking method, a generic term referring to the set of technologies which track the eye movements of users when they are exposed to certain stimuli. In the case of ANACOM, the examination looked at the web, with an assessment performed on the website of www.anacom.pthttps://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=2958. By tracking the visual ''paths'' followed by users, it is possible to compile objective and intricate date in response to questions such as where users are really looking and which items draw most attention.
With the participation of fifteen of ANACOM's staff from different departments and functional areas, who performed a total of 24 exercises, the study reached the following conclusions:
- In several tasks it could be seen that before resolving the issue at hand, the users looked at other items in search of reference, indicating a degree of difficulty in the interpretation of the text links and functions (nomenclature), and also in the perception of the navigation sequence needed to accomplish the task (ideal level of usability);
- In several navigation scenarios a considerable delay was identified between the first glance at the required area and the selection of this area, indicating that the areas which should call for and immediately capture visual attention do not stand out (call-to-action effect);
- It was seen that the majority of participants showed that they were not aware of how to use certain of the website’s features (widgets and software), or of their purpose, which naturally impacts the levels of satisfaction and use of the website by the participant, detracting broadly from the navigation experience;
- The experience of the users, as demonstrated by certain participants, results essentially from memory, which stores the website’s navigation structure (as a result of routine use / repeated consultation of certain areas or features) and which can marginalise the corresponding level of usability. This situation is critical whenever the architecture is changed. A website which has ideal navigation in terms of usability can minimise this impact; and
- A pattern of behaviour was identified with respect to the ''Search'' field on the home page which was used by the majority of participant in support of tasks which did not impede its use.
In the light of this usability test and the different audience types targeted by ANACOM's website, the next test (planned for 2010) will encompass external users and focus more on accessibility, involving people with the following special needs: blindness, amblyopia, slight and severe motor disability in upper limbs.
- World Usability Day 2009 http://www.worldusabilityday.org/