REPORT: THE SCANABILITY AND USABILITY

OF THE DEL MAR COLLEGE HOMEPAGE

Table of Contents
Project Information
Project Description
Project Purpose
Audience Information
First Impressions
Scanability/Usability Questions
Recommendations/Suggestions
Conclusion
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Project Title: Report: The Scanability and Usability of the Del Mar College Homepage
Start Date: October 25, 2009
End Date: December 6, 2009
Project Administrator: Edward Quintana
Contact: Brad Cravy/Information Technology Department

Project Description

I have conducted a usability and scanability analysis of the Del Mar College Homepage. Interviews were conducted and questionnaires were handed to 20 randomly selected people in the Del Mar College Testing Center. The survey consisted of 8 questions concerning the usability, scanability, and the overall presentation of the Del Mar college homepage. The information collected was used to analyze and make suggestions that will increase usability and scanability for the homepage. With this information, I will report on the modifications/suggestions that can be made for the Del Mar College homepage.

Project Purpose

  • To survey a random sample of 20 people in the Del Mar Testing Center to get their impressions of the Del Mar College homepage.
  • Make recommendations and suggestions that would make the website more user friendly.

Audience Information

The audience for this project is the general community. Del Mar College serves the South Texas region and can be prospective visitors to the college homepage. People who may be interested in attending Del Mar College or are already attending are the people who could be affected by this project. The audience covers a wide array of individuals with no regard to race, financial background, or age.

First Impressions

My first impression when I visited the Del Mar College Homepage was that it seemed a bit cluttered. There were useful links throughout the page but some of these could be organized differently depending on what the students use and need more. Also, the general public may be overwhelmed with the attention grabbing techniques of the website.

Scanability/Usability Questions

A questionnaire was given to 20 random people in the Del Mar College Multiservice Center. The short survey consisted of 8 questions designed to gauge the usability and scanability of the Del Mar College homepage. These people consisted of students, would-be students, and online distance learning students.

What is your first impression of the Del Mar College Homepage?

  • Like/Appealing - 14
  • Do not like/Cluttered - 6

Are the Quick Links helpful?

  • Yes - 16
  • No - 4

Which Quick Links could be added? Deleted? Moved?

  • Added - 0
  • Deleted - 13 (Strategic Planning, Give to DMC, Capital Improvements)
  • Moved - 0

Do you like the slide panel?

  • Yes - 11
  • No - 9

Is the Campus News and Events subheading informative and helpful?

  • Yes - 13
  • No - 7

Is the Focus subheading informative and helpful?

  • Yes - 15
  • No - 5

Are the dropbox links at the top of the page helpful?

  • Yes - 9
  • No - 11

Do you like the overall presentation of the Del Mar College Homepage?

  • Yes - 17
  • No - 3

Recommendations/Suggestions

Scanability

When this project report was first started, my first impression of the Del Mar College homepage was that it looked cluttered. The questions formed were geared to approve or disprove my notions. For instance, one of the things I disliked about the homepage was the huge slide panel across the top of the webpage. So this became a question in the survey.

The first two questions were formed to gauge the scanability of the webpage. My first impression of the homepage was that it looked cluttered. Compared to other websites viewed throughout the semester and learning about space and scanability, the Del Mar College homepage is actually very well organized and not cluttered at all. The results to the first 2 questions attest to this.

Recommendation/Suggestions: The use of a sans font throughout the homepage gives it a nice clean look. The spacing between the Quick Links is nicely done. Scanability is very good. There are no recommendations or suggestions.

Usability

The next 6 questions were designed to gauge the usability of the Del Mar College homepage.

Since a majority of the participants are students or prospective students at Del mar College, the Quick Links section of the homepage has many useful links. 80% of the respondents found this section usable.

Asked if there were any links that should be added, deleted, or moved, only 13 people responded to this question by stating that there should be deletions. No one suggested adding or moving links for heirarchial purposes. The links that should be deleted according to the survey were Strategic Planning, Give to DMC, and Capital Improvements. 65% say that some or all the aforementioned links should be deleted.

According to the survey, the slide panel seems to be a personal preference because the results show a slight edge to approval with an 11 to 9 vote.

The next questions focused on the CAMPUS NEWS and EVENTS and FOCUS subheadings and their usability. The responses were favorable showing a 65% and 75% approval for both subheadings respectively.

The next question asked if the links at the top of the homepage were useful. This was the only question with a negative approval response. My take on this is that since many of the respondents were students, they had no need to use the links at the top of the page. The links they normally use are within the Quick links section.

The questionnaire ended by asking for the overall presentation of the Del Mar College homepage. 85% responded with a positive approval rating.

Recommendations/Suggestions: According to the survey, the usability of the Del Mar College homepage shows a positive approval for usability. The only close or negative results were found in the use of the slide panel, the deletion of a few links within the Quick Links section, and the use of the dropbox links at the top of the homepage.

  • A suggestion could be to maybe change the slide panel more frequently so the same ones do not become redundant.
  • A suggestion could also be made to remove the Strategic Planning, Give to DMC, and the Capital Improvements links and place them under another subheading. They may be pertinent to the Del mar community, but the results show students and would be students did not find them helpful.
  • I believe the negative response to the usability of the dropbox links at the top of the homepage has to do with the fact that students do not generally use these links. While they may be useful to others in the general public or employees of Del Mar College, students do not use these links. But since they are used, the recommendation is to leave them alone.

Conclusion

This Report on the Scanability and Usablity of the Del Mar College homepage shows a positive approval rating. There were a few suggestions to the website that could be done. But the last question in the survey shows an 85% approval rating on the overall presentation of the website. There is just minor tinkering to be done when a webpage can garner that high an approval rating.

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