Evaluation of an Informational Web Site: Three Variants of the Think-aloud Method Compared

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Abstract:

To evaluate Web sites, usability experts often use methods that were originally employed for the evaluation of software applications. In doing so, they assume that these methods will work exactly the same for both types of test objects. However, there is a major difference between transactional software applications and informational Web sites, a difference that could have an effect on the workings of various usability methods. As such, we felt that it was valuable to repeat one of our previous studies in which we compared concurrent think-aloud protocols, retrospective think-aloud protocols, and constructive interaction to evaluate a Web application, this time using a Web site. The results of our study showed that in some respects, the methods did work differently depending on the test object they were applied to. However, we conclude that the three methods are largely interchangeable and that the decision to choose one variant of the think-aloud method over the other should be based on practical considerations.

Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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