I have chosen Kiplinger's business website to conduct a web usability analysis. Interactive design is an evolutionary process, when you take identified problems, visions, needs, and wants reported by user feedback, then incorporate or fix, and further evaluate to refine and increase the success of a given product. In this case the product is a website. Sharp, Rogers & Preece, (2007) said this about iterative design, "When problems are found in user testing, they are fixed and then more test and observations are carried out to see the effects of the fixes" (P. 425). The company website I have chosen will be analyzed using a critical eye that delves further into examples of specific factors that directly impact the usability of websites.
Cognitive-Affective Design Considerations
Reading, speaking, and listening and problem solving, planning, reasoning, and decision-making are examples of two cognitive factors that are essential to web usability analysis.
Although the meaning of reading, speaking, and listening remains the same regardless of media, however, the ease of reading, speaking and listening differs from one person to another. Websites that provide cognitive aides such as interactive tools, animation, multi-media, podcast, that assist all users especially users with dyslexic, hearing, and sight challenges. In an example, Sharp, Rogers & Preece, (2007) explains the marked differences between people and their preferred communications skills, “Some people prefer reading to listening, while others prefer listening. Likewise, some people prefer speaking to writing and vice versa" (P. 113). Kiplinger provides users with various options for retrieving information to satisfy preferred reading speaking, and listening requirements. Information is available in written form, podcast, slideshows, and other video formats. When thinking about problem solving, planning, reasoning, and decision-making, it is important to present information in a way that aides rapid and critical decision-making and carry out actions more effectively. Kiplinger's provides simple and memorable search links, features, and helpful pop up list that act as a road maps for novice users while at the time they provide more advance tools and functions for experienced users. Sharp, Rogers & Preece, (2007), explains why this is vital due to a novice users tend to have limited knowledge and may not be able to think ahead while performing task. "In contrast, experts have much more knowledge and experience and are able to select optimal strategies for carrying out their task" (P. 115).
Analysis of Task Sets
Task analysis techniques help to investigate existing systems and current practices, Sharp, Rogers & Preece, (2007), explained it like this, "It is used to analyze the underlying rationale and purpose of what people are doing: what are they trying to achieve, why are they trying to achieve it, and how are they going about it" (P. 515).
Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) is a popular version used and starts with a user goal and breaks task down into different levels of subtask until the identified goal is achieved.
Analysis of Task: Finding a take home pay salary calculator
From Kiplinger's home page, users are invited to research a wealth of personal financial information and much more free of charge and without a need to register. A new user should navigate to the Tools & Calculators link located on the left side of the web page, there is also a site map link located in this area or just type calculator in the search option located at the top right of the homepage. This brings up the Tools page which displays information logically according to customer's most popular subject such as investing tools, money management tools, retirement tools, and spending wisely tools. A user searching for a take home pay calculator would have to scroll down to the money management tools area that deals with taxes. Under taxes, there is a...