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Web site design: a case study in usability testing using paper prototypes

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1 Author(s)
H. M. Grady ; Dept. of Tech. Commun., Mercer Univ., Macon, GA, USA

Paper prototypes are a low-tech, low-cost, but highly effective, form of usability testing for Web site design. Creating a Web site is relatively easy, given the technology and tools now available. All too often, Web site developers tend to be enamored with the technology and forget the needs of the end user. As a result, many Web site developers delay usability testing until their Web site is completely designed, only to uncover significant interface, content, or structural problems with the site once the customers try to use it. Significant redesign may be impossible due to time, cost, or personnel constraints. This paper discusses the benefits of using paper prototypes to conduct usability testing of a Web site for Mercer University's School of Engineering Center for Excellence in Engineering Education (CE3). The design of the CE3 is a project of a team of senior technical communication students in the Department of Technical Communication at Mercer University. This paper also discusses the importance of training technical communicators to be user advocates

Published in:

Professional Communication Conference, 2000. Proceedings of 2000 Joint IEEE International and 18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation (IPCC/SIGDOC 2000)

Date of Conference:

2000