Evaluation Techniques for Interactive Systems

  • Assess system functionality and usability
    The functionality of the system is very essential because it has to meet the needs of the users. This level of evaluation can analyze the performance of the system in supporting the task by measuring the performance of the user.
  • Assess effect of interface on user
    It is essential to evaluate the user experience for the interaction and how it has affected them. Also, factors such as how easy the system is to learn, how usable it is, and how satisfied users are with it. This includes his satisfying and emotional response, especially in leisure or recreational things.
  • Identify problems with the system
    This goal helps identify specific design issues. These can be design elements that, when used in their intended context, can create unintended consequences or cause confusion among users. However, it focuses primarily on identifying potential problems and then fixing them.
  1. Without the participation of the real users. (Evaluation through expert analysis)
  2. With the participation of the real users
  • Cognitive walkthrough
    This is one of the most efficient and most cost effective way to increase the usability of a computer. Most users prefer to do things to learn a product rather than reading a manual or following a set of instructions. Therefore, with this evaluation, it is ensured that a newcomer will take the design easily and take less time to gain expertise in using the design.
  • Heuristic evaluation
    Heuristic Evaluation is an application review method for computer software that identifies utility issues in a user interface (UI) style. Heuristic evaluation is a technique developed by the Nielsen Norman team to assess the utility of a digital product.
    This is usually done by a set of utility experts who review a product against a set of thumb rules derived from the Norman group. These thumb rules are sometimes edited by utility engineers to allow for additional inventions. The best way to enhance the user experience or usability of a product is for the user to test it, which gives better results even when consuming more resources.
  • Review-based evaluation
    This is a model based evaluation method. which means using a model of how a human would use the proposed system to obtain the predicted application by calculation or simulation. This method can be used to filter design options. Design rationality can also provide useful evaluation information in that filtration process.
  1. Laboratory studies — Users are taken out of their normal work environment to take part in controlled tests, often in a specialist usability laboratory.
  2. Field studies — This type of evaluation takes the designer or evaluator out into the user’s work environment in order to observe the system in action.

Observational Methods

  1. Think Aloud
    In this method the user is asked to perform a task and is asked to describe what he is doing, why, what he thinks. Relatively simple but with an interface that can provide useful insights and show how the system is actually used. But there is a big drawback here, these answers are user based.
  2. Cooperative evaluation
    A variation on think aloud is known as cooperative evaluation in which the user is encouraged to see himself as a collaborator in the evaluation and not simply as an experimental participant. As well as asking the user to think aloud at the beginning of the session, the evaluator can ask the user questions (typically of the ‘why?’ or ‘what-if ?’ type) if his behavior is unclear, and the user can ask the evaluator for
    clarification if a problem arises.
  3. Protocol analysis
    Protocol analysis is one of the most successful approaches for evaluating an information system’s usability and determining which components of the system should be modified to increase usability.
  • Paper and pencil
  • Audio recording
  • Video recording
  • Computer logging
  • User notebooks

Query techniques

Another set of evaluation techniques relies on asking the user about the interface directly. Query techniques can be useful in eliciting detail of the user’s view of a system.

Evaluation through monitoring physiological responses

Eye Tracking
Eye movements are thought to indicate the amount of cognitive processing required by a display and, as a result, how simple or difficult it is to process. As a result, tracking not just where people look but also their eye movement patterns may reveal which parts of a screen they find easy or difficult to comprehend. Here some measurements,

  • Heart activity, including blood pressure, volume and pulse.
  • The activity of sweat glands: Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)
  • Electrical activity in muscle: electromyogram (EMG)
  • Electrical activity in the brain: electroencephalogram (EEG)



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