Assignment 2
Version 1.10

Usability Experiments

Due - Monday December 8 at 11:40 a.m.


The purpose of this assignment is to practice the techniques of usability engineering discussed in class.  This assignment involves designing a series of experiments and conducting them on users.

Problem Statement

You are to assume the role of the experimenter and to conduct usability studies of a system on subjects your have selected.  This will entail designing an initial experiment to measure the usability of the system.  Once the usability has been measured, you will create a hypothesis to see if the system can be improved.  You will then test this hypothesis.  You are expected to use whatever techniques are deemed most appropriate for the system and features being tested.  You should have solid reasons for your choices.  At the end of the experiment(s), you should identify your reasons, summarize the results of your experiments and draw conclusions from them.

Your subjects will contribute to the experiments that you conduct on them.  At the end of the experiments, they will review and critique the validity of the experiments and the techniques used by you, the experimenter.  This critique will include commenting on how effective the experiments were in finding out what the user really thought.  If different experimental techniques were employed, then they should be compared and conclusions on the efficacy of each technique drawn.


You should select one of the topics below.  Every experimenter should select a different topic so there is no duplication.  You may also pick a similar topic of your own if you obtain approval from your instructor.

  1. Measure the usability of typing computer code into Microsoft Power Point.
  2. Many of the browsers and/or email programs have the ability to access internet news groups.  Select one of these tools and evaluate the usability of subscribing to a new news group.
  3. Most mail programs allow multiple accounts to be set up.  Select one of these mail programs and measure the usability of creating a new account.
  4. Many web browsers have a composer feature which allows the user to edit HTML code visually.  Measure the usability of table editing using one of these tools.
  5. Microsoft Word has the ability to create a table of contents for a document.  Evaluate the usability of this feature by getting the user to perform certain tasks with it.
  6. Microsoft Word has the ability to let the user define their own paragraph styles and use them in preference to the built-in styles.  Evaluate the usability of this feature.
  7. Microsoft word has a set of drawing tools included with it for simple lines and shapes.  Evaluate the utility of these drawing tools.
  8. Windows has the ability to show a "security and sharing" tab on the properties sheet for any file.  Evaluate how easy it is for users to figure out how to enable and disable this feature.

Reserved Topics

Student Selected Topic
Thomas Brown 7 Microsoft word has a set of drawing
Anna Sobiepanek 4 Many web browsers have a composer feature
Cesar Gomes
Kalsang Gyurmey 8 Security and sharing
Simon Jung 3 Most mail programs allow ...
Tommy Lo
Justin Goncalves Usablility of using barcode scanning apps
Kevin Carl Lasconia usability of the pen tool in Photoshop
Aaron Train 2 Many of the browsers ...
Denise Catherine Rigato 5 Microsoft Word table ...
James Evangelista new bar code feature of the blackberry messenger
Joshua Satish Doodnauth
Johann Manzano install usb headset and configure audio


Present your results in the following form:

  1. A written document that describes the experiments, results and a critique of the results and the experimental method(s).  This is a formal document and will be judged upon the quality of the experiments and the results as well as the quality of the presentation of the material in the document.

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