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Methods and tools to ensure web usability

Zanda, Michele (2008) Methods and tools to ensure web usability. Advisor: Prete, Prof. Cosimo Antonio. Coadvisor: Pietrini, Prof. Pietro . pp. 191. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Web usability is a multidisciplinary research area. It bases its foundations on user interface software development, Internet technologies, and cognitive psychology. The purpose of usability is bridging the gap between technology‐oriented developers and actual end users needs. The usability area is approached in many ways: develop methodologies to ensure usable products, rapid prototyping tools to have user interfaces easy to modify, design of novel interaction paradigms, and measure ease of use with user tests. This thesis presents many of these approaches applied to the development of Web‐based applications. We introduce both basic and advanced usability principles and theories as well as methods to deliver usable products. Best practices to develop simple and pleasant Web‐based applications are grouped under ready to use design patterns. The methodology to perform, analyze and report a usability test, with and without end users, is presented in detail. Next, two usability experiments are reported. The first experiment investigates users’ behaviours while dealing with interfaces for software download. Participants were recruited to analyze the effects of the usual dialog box to download software, and compare it with three novel interfaces designed to increase users’ attention level and better communicate trust information to users. Participants’ decisions (download acceptance or refusal) and given motivations are analyzed statistically, and results are discussed. The second experiment assesses the effects and effectiveness of talking avatars on E‐Government Websites. In the usability experiment the avatar was an animated face. The speech pronounced by the avatar is produced with Text‐To‐Speech (TTS) software. Effects and effectiveness of the face presence are assessed based on traditional usability metrics (completion rate, completion times, error rate, visited pages, questionnaires) as well as physiological analysis techniques (galvanic skin response). Given that Web applications should be easy to use not only for customers, but also for content administrators, we present a tool (CTS) to prototype Web avatars with no coding. CTS automates many steps of the usual development process, hiding software for both the TTS and the facial morphing. Finally, conclusions and future works are drawn

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
PhD Course: Computer Science and Engineering
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/10
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27046
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2012 12:29
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/10

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