Evaluation of Subject-Specific Heuristics for Initial Learning Environments: A Pilot Study

Fraser McKay; Michael Kölling

Heuristic evaluation is a “discount” technique for finding usability problems in well-established domains. This paper presents thirteen suggested heuristics for initial learning environments (ILEs). To investigate the usefulness of these heuristics to other developers, we conducted a pilot study that compared two groups of evaluators: one using an older, generalised set of heuristics from the literature, and one using our domain-specific heuristics. In this study, we compare not just the number of problems found, but the way in which the problem reports were expressed. There was a significant difference in the length of written comments when problems were found (those from the new set being longer). New-set reviews touch on more themes – many make suggestions about what would improve the problem; many comments refer to a suggested cause-and-effect relationship. As designers, we find this detail helpful in understanding problems. Quantitative data from this study is not large enough to support any robust conclusions about the relative thoroughness of the heuristics at this time, but we plan to use lessons learned from this study in a larger version shortly.

Type of Publication: Paper
Conference: PPIG 2012 - 24th Annual Workshop
Publication Year: 2012
Paper #: 11
TitleEvaluation of Subject-Specific Heuristics for Initial Learning Environments: A Pilot Study
Publication TypePaper
AuthorsMcKay, F, Kölling, M
PPIG Workshop: 
2012-11-24th