"Job Aid" USABILITY: **Learning application fulfills Nielsen's 5-fold "quality components" (Nielsen, "Usability 101"): Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Satisfaction, and "Error" components Application is easy for a first-time user to learn. The user can intuit what the application can "do" and can readily manipulate the interface to accomplish the "tasks" that the user would have it do. The application allows the user to perform these "tasks" in a timely fashion. Though multimedia applications are "ephemeral" in nature, a learning application should be "memorable". If a user was able to understand the app's interface initially, he should hopefully be able to readily remember how to use it if he were to return to the app at a later date. The design of the app is an enjoyable experience for the user/learner. User errors encountered during the app should be minimal and should not be disabling or overly frustrating to the user. Ideally, errors should not be "senseless"; rather, they should
serve to give the user a better sense of the proper use of the app. ("Usability 101") **Also, "utility" - does the app "do" what the learner wishes/needs to do with it? - this is no small point. In an educational context, the applications should be geared towards certain specific, important learning objectives. These should be communicated and imparted to the learner through the use of the elearning app. Usability and utility are vital to the overall experience of learning. The word "experience" comes from the Latin for "out of trials" (ex-, out of & peri, trials). Out of trials comes experience; however, such "trials" should not be "trials by fire", nor should be people get "burned" on an application. Learning multimedia applications employ numerous forms of media for the purposes of facilitating learning and empowering the end user. The tools should be intuitive and useful. ===
NAVIGATION AND LEARNER CONTROLS: (Nielsen/Norman report, unless otherwise indicated) Clickable regions are clearly demarcated / obvious to the user Application provides a generous clickable area for each region For buttons that involve both graphic images as well as text labels, both the graphic & the label are "clickable" Double-clicking is accepted, without resulting in unwanted errors Similar user interactions produce similar results for similar content (Ambler) Control design mirrors real-world control designs - familiarity with design Controls/content behave like real-world items - - easy to intuit/use Clickable areas/buttons do not resemble ads User interactions parallel user expectations - what audience expects/is used to Limited reliance on "next" button - more engaging in the way of advancing the flow of content Application provides ease of recovery from errors Application's work flow is logical and intuitive Work flow is not necessarily linear and homogenized; can support multiple avenues goal, as per user preference Application provides feedback, indicating advancement/progress to completion User receives "gentle guidance" through work tasks User interface is empowering such that it grants the user the impression that she is "in control" Navigation areas have prominent placement on the stage Different echelons of navigation controls are highlighted appropriately, in "tiers of importance/ prominence" "Like" features/ options are grouped together Help options &/or a site map are provided Scrollbars are "standard" in look and conduct - what audience is used to to the same
==> Learners are, each one, different in their learning styles and previous experiences. They should, therefore, be able to "control" the use of a learning application to best accomplish their learning goals/objectives. In an application that involves navigating through materials, the navigation controls should not prove to be a hindrance to their learning. They are a mere means of working through the tasks/information at hand. The word "educate" comes from the Latin...
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