To carry out our experimental design we made the appropriate UI changes to our existing prototype. We built three versions of the site including our new “Dealbreaker” criteria for perspective users to test. Because our two new categories required a significant back end modification we just Incorporated non-functional mock-up of the two new categories.
After preforming a preliminary usability study with a group of individuals in the course we got feedback that the lack of functionally detracted from the user experience and would not give us valid results. Because we were unable to make the significant back-end changes necessary to support these new categories we shifted our usability study to focus on a different area which was much easier for us to test: indicating which listings extra info was being selected.
We got feedback in our heuristic evaluations that it was unclear which listing’s additional information was being displayed while browsing site results. As a team we ideated on different ways to solve this problem and narrowed it down to highlighting a listing or shifting a listing right or left. We were unclear which of these two options would be better for users so we created two versions of our prototype which incorporated both. We showed both examples to users and asked them to give us their feedback on which one they liked better. We quantified our results on a 0 to 5 basis (0 begin neutral 5 being significant improvement) for each users feedback on each design.
After surveying four users we received a unanimous vote that the color highlighting method was a better indicator which listing was selected than a physical shift in the listing. Ratings ranged from 2 to 5 with three ratings of 4’s and 5’s. Users said they liked how the color highlighting was less obtrusive to the site layout and effusively conveyed the necessary information to them. They felt the physical shift disrupted the flow of all the listings and did not covey state as quickly as highlighting. While our results are not significant we feel a larger test would yield similar conclusions with a larger number votes in the region of 2’s and 3’s.
In the next week we plan to fully implement listing highlighting with capabilities to quickly select and deselect listings by clicking on them. For our usability study we implemented highlighting but did not get around to get un-highlighting to work. One of the things we need to think about is which color to highlight the listing with to make it clear which one is selected. We received feedback that the physical shifting of listings was too disruptive to the flow and need to avoid a similar reaction to our highlighting option. In our user study we made the highlighted listing a darker shade of grey but think that might be too subtle for some users. We need to play with options to see which highlighting method both accomplishes our goals and flows with the theme of our prototype.