Hashem Elezabi- Usability Evaluation

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I tested the site in a holistic manner, following both Jakob Nielsen's ten usability heuristics and my common sense. Only I tested the site, so this is a one-user usability test. I am sure some of the points I mention here were already mentioned in other posts, but I will include all my notes and I am sure we will aggregate all the points from all contributors into one great output eventually!

The Usability Heuristics

Jakob Nielsen's ten usability heuristics:

  1. Visibility of System Status
  2. Match between System & World
  3. User Control & Freedom
  4. Consistency & Standards
  5. Error Prevention
  6. Recognition Rather than Recall
  7. Flexibility & Efficiency of Use
  8. Aesthetic & Minimalist Design
  9. Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, & Recover from Errors
  10. Help & Documentation

Issues and Proposed Solutions

The following are the results of my evaluation in the form of separate problems and their respective suggested solutions. They are ordered according to severity (on a 1 to 4 scale where 1 is "low priority" and 4 is "must fix", as Professor Bernstein said), starting from most severe (4) to least severe (1).

Issue 1: (Severity 4)

Problem: there is no form of help to familiarize the user with the website and explain what each part of the website is for. This is an obvious problem and I'm sure people already have it in mind, but mentioning it here won't do harm. Heuristic(s) not followed: Help & Documentation

Suggested Solutions:

These solutions are not mutually exclusive, i.e. more than one of them can be implemented at the same time.

  1. We can make a tour of the website once a user registers. Such a tour should be simple, somewhat short, and easy to understand, with minimal use of words that are still fully descriptive and understandable. This tour would maybe be interactive, and would show the user around the website with arrows or something similar. I recently used a website that had a very pleasant, two-minute tour of this kind: [1].
  2. We can add a help button that either (1) takes the user to a Documentation (or similar) page or (2) displays some arrows and brief info about parts of the website (like in Apple Keynote and in iMovie, for example).
  3. We can create an introduction video that would explain the website and its parts in a way similar to the tour.

Issue 2: (Severity 4)

Problem: it is not clear whether the user is a requester or worker. Can a user be both? If so, we need to add functionality that differentiates wholly between the Requester part of the account and the Worker part of the account. (this is a self-evident issue as well; it's about one of the core foundations of any crowdsourcing platform)

Suggested Solutions:

I have no previous experience with crowdsourcing platforms, but I am guessing that it is possible for a user to be both a requester and a worker. According to this, we need to give the user the option to choose whether to be a requester, a worker, or both while he/she is registering. When the user logs in, he/she can access the worker part of his/her account or the requester part, and the user can navigate between both parts.

Issue 3: (Severity 4)

Problem: as a requester, I can't access a list of my projects that I submitted. When I press My Projects, I see a list of projects available for a worker. I submitted a project, but then I found it among other projects in My Projects, not in a list of my own projects which I submitted. We also need to add functionality for the requester to edit the projects he/she submitted; currently, it is impossible for a requester to do so.

Suggested Solutions:

This is a simple problem. We need to add a button that opens a requester's list of projects. This can maybe be done, and the My Projects confusion issue can be resolved, after Issue 2 is resolved.

Issue 4: (Severity 4)

Problem: a user creating a project is not able to add multiple different tasks, as far as I understand. If multiple different tasks will be implemented as milestones, this is not implemented yet, since a user can only set the first milestone.

Suggested Solutions:

We can implement the milestones and enable the user to set a number of them if a project is that complex. I also thought of an idea that may help get rid of the confusion with 'task' and 'project' and with 'micro' and 'macro' (just a preliminary thought) (this is not exactly related to this issue). The idea is mentioned toward the bottom of this page.

Issue 5: (Severity 3)

Problem: in Create Project, under No. 3 (Milestones), it is not made clear what is expected of the requester to upload. Also, the mention of the spreadsheet (in the third option) indicates a certain expectation, but I for example don't understand what the spreadsheet is used for or what it means in this context, so we need to clarify that. In addition, the phrase "worker details" is vague, but maybe I am missing something so I don't get it.

Suggested Solutions:

We can add a sentence explaining what files the user should upload here. For example: "Add files needed for completion of the project here. For example, if you are creating an Essay Proofreading task, upload your essay."

Issue 6: (Severity 3)

Problem: in Create Project, under No. 4 (Design Task), the design board is a great idea but it seemed intimidating. When I saw it, I was a bit discouraged from continuing since it is not that user-friendly.

Suggested Solutions:

I actually liked the idea of a board where the user can drag items that turn into formatting options, but it may not suit all users, and even though I liked it, I might prefer an easier way of designing a task. I wasn't there when the team thought of this idea, so I may be missing something (for example, I don't know why the ability to put options a worker should choose from was added). I am only talking about what I saw as a user. We can keep the board but make it a lot easier for a user to use. We can add examples and photos that show how such a board can/should be used. Also, I remember the HTML editor or Rich Text editor (something like that) that is present in a number of websites like Stackoverflow, Coursera, etc., and maybe we can use this (just speculation; I have little experience in task creation and crowdsourcing platforms :))

Issue 7: (Severity 3)

Problem: there are multiple parts in Create Project where the user needs to input a number or something. In these cases, leaving it as free response causes errors and confusion.

Suggested Solutions:

Add a mechanism that lets the user choose a number (from a drop-down menu), etc. Another way is to indicate the format the user should use when entering the info. For example: "Enter a number followed by the period of time. For example: enter '20 minutes' or '2 days'."

Issue 8: (Severity 3)