Sunday, May 14, 2006

Validating Website Performance

An assignment, due 29th May:

For the Validating website performance assignment you're required to write a report on the Web Development Toolbox CD you received last term.

Task 1 - Broken Links
Do a link analysis on the web pages, listing any broken interneal or external links on the CD. You will need to run this on a PC with an internet connection to test the external links.

Task 2 - Download Times
Look for any large files on the CD - those that would take more than 10 seconds to download over a dial up connection. What impact would these have on running the disk from a web server. Specifically, how long would these files take to download over a 56k modem? What could be done to minimise the wait for users with slow connections?

Task 3 - Usability
Create a list of 5 tasks for a typical user to complete. Tasks might be somthing like: "find a list of common graphics file formats and what they're used for". As far as possible, the tasks should be tasks that real users would want or need to carry out when they use the toolbox.

Take a volunteer and sit them in front of a computer running the Web Development CD. Tell them you're going to ask them to carry out a few little tasks for you. Make sure that you tell them it's not they who are being tested; reassure them that you're only interested in getting data about how easy the website is to use.

First, ask them if they would use such a site if it were available. You don't need to make it too much like a market research survey but a few questions like that would be useful.

Be sure to record their answers! If you like, you can use the CamStudio software, a video recorder or voice recorder to make this easier for you to review later.

Ask the user to carry out each of your tasks one at a time. Don't say anything to them, other than what the task is.

Watch them as they attempt to do the task. If they say anything, make sure you record it. Also be sure to record instances where they press the wrong button and finish up at the wrong page. Be sure to make a note if they get lost!

If a user does get lost, gently point out where they made the mistake, and show them the correct way to achieve the task.

Write a report detailing the overall outcome of the performance and usability project. You should recommend changes to the CD based on both the performance measurements and the usability tests.

1 comment:

w3c said...

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