SunGardHE Summit: Usability Evaluation of myWSU Portal

(Notes from SunGardHE Summit on Tuesday, April 15)

Wichita State University shares information gathered over two myWSU usability tests. Results were similar to many of our findings.

It was interesting that they noted a similar problem with students not really recognizing the existence of tabs in the Luminis layout. The difference being that WSU noted this issue across both usability exercises. In our second test which happened two years after the first exercise we noted a distinct awareness of the MyPCC tabs. Both tests included a mix of new and current students, and both communities consistently noticed and made us of the tabs. While we aren’t positive why the tabs were now “visible” there was discussion that the growing use of websites such as MySpace and Facebook helped with the overall comfort of our audience with complex web applications. In the case of myWSU, the speaker noted that the strong header graphic of myWSU might be an influential factor in the invisibility of their tabs.

In their testing they included some eye track mapping. They were wondering if a mini-‘f’ pattern would be seen for each channel within a portal page. Tests of two-column and three-column layouts were shared. The two-column mapping showed an ‘s’ pattern across and down rows. Three-column layouts were more of a zig-zag pattern starting in the middle-upper column, back to the left, back across to the right and then down and back to an ‘s’ pattern. These tests were done with textual layouts so that graphics would not impact results.

It was interesting to learn that the testing was conducted by a WSU faculty member associated with their Software Usability Research Laboratory.