The Design of Application-Specific Heuristics for the Usability Evaluation of the Digital Doorway
Keywords:Design research, usability, accessibility, heuristic evaluation, Digital Doorway, digital divide
AbstractThe Digital Doorway (DD) is a joint initiative between the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The DD is a non-standard computer system deployed amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa with the objective to promote computer literacy. Since its inception, there has been no usability or accessibility evaluation of the software installed on the DD, mainly due to lack of usability engineering or interaction design expertise within the development team. The goal of the research presented in this paper was to design a solution to this problem by developing a suitable instrument that could guide DD application developers in the design and development of more usable DD software and interfaces. Design research was used as a research methodology. We first investigated the applicability of the standard usability and accessibility evaluation methods for evaluating the software installed on the DD. During the first cycle of design research, we established that a heuristic-like evaluation method would be an appropriate method for evaluating the usability and direct accessibility support provided by the DD. During a second cycle of design research, embedded in the first, we also developed a set of multi-category heuristics as the ‘instrument’ that could guide the developers during design of applications as well as in the first-level (formative) evaluation thereof. To verify the heuristics, we conducted a usability evaluation of the DD and triangulated the results with a direct field observation at a natural environment of DD use, together with user-administered questionnaires.
Research Papers (general)
Copyright of all work published here subsists in the authors. While SACJ retains right of first publication, subsequent re-publication is expressly permitted provided the original SACJ publication is acknowledged and cited, according to the terms detailed below. If plagiarism is detected during review, a paper may be summarily rejected and will not be accepted unless even minor infringements are corrected. Should plagiarism be detected after a paper is published, the Editor reserves the right to withdraw a paper from publication. We expect authors to be honest in representing work as their own, and to respect the time and effort our reviewers put in without an undue burden of policing plagiarism, and hence take violations seriously. SACJ applies the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 License (CC BY-NC 4.0) to all papers published in this journal. Authors who publish with SACJ agree to the following:
- Authors retain copyright and grant SACJ right of first publication. The work is additionally licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License that requires others who share the work to acknowledge the work’s authorship and initial publication in SACJ. Should anyone else wish to make commercial use of the work, SACJ cedes the right to the author to negotiate terms and does not expect to be paid any royalties.
- Authors may enter into additional arrangements for non-exclusive distribution of the SACJ-published version of the work (e.g., post it to a repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are required to refrain from posting their work online prior to completion of reviews so as not to compromise double-blind reviewing or confuse plagiarism checks.