March 31, 2011
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them
George Bernard Shaw
We have just finishing usability and user experience testing on www.mycareerjourneys.com a very interesting online software service that provides career coaching. This is a web based resource for career self-development and planning from Rational Careers.
Before testing, we always take some time to fully understand the product we are looking at and I had the opportunity to go through this programme on-line. This requires you to complete a variety of different exercises and to reflect about what is important to you in your career and your life. It is not difficult, and the sections are well thought out to guide you through a series of steps that eventually lead you towards a career plan. But it does take a bit of time to really think about where you think your skills lie and what is of value to you. Very thought provoking!
Here’s what John Costello, CTO of Rational Careers had to say about the whole experience of usability testing in NELL.
“For us Usability Testing with NCI was an input to a significant product redesign. We learned a lot about how users perceived our product, what they thought it was, what added value they got from it and what their expectations were. Also, being able to witness the testing was a rich learning experience and we got an excellent report at the end of the testing. We are currently in the middle of our redesign and the Usability Testing is a real help in guiding us.”
This research was funded by Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher Initiative.
January 31, 2011
We were delighted that students of Ph.D. in Technology Enhanced Learning worked with Special Olympics Ireland to undertake user experience research on the Special Olympics website. The aim of the research was to find out if the website encourages users to donate to Special Olympics and/or become volunteers with the association.
Research involved a pre-test questionnaire, an ethnographical observation including eye-tracking and a post-test interview. Testing was conducted here in the National E-Learning Laboratory and took place Nov to Dec 2010.
We observed one very interesting pattern through data analysis. On the homepage of the website, there is a very prominent red ‘Donate Now’ Button, please see image below. However, eye-tracking data shows us that this button appeared to be somewhat “invisible” to testers. This is an interesting take on what Jacob Neilson calls banner blindness; that is that users don’t like looking at anything they think might be an advertisement, no matter how obvious it is.
All of us here in NCI congratulate the good folks at Special Olympics Ireland on the great job they are doing and wish them all best in the future!
For more information on this research please contact:
Bernie O’Driscoll, eMarketing Manager, Special Olympics Ireland. Bernie.O’Driscoll@specialolympics.ie
Special Olympics Ireland are delighted with the user experience research undertaken by the students of the Ph.D in Technology Enhanced Learning at the NCI. The results of this research have provided us with valuable insights into how users navigate on www.specialolympics.ie and will guide future developments on the website, with a special focus on fundraising and volunteer recruitment. As a charitable organisation, we appreciate the invaluable support of NCI & its fantastic National eLearning Laboratory.
Bernie O’Driscoll at Special Olympics Ireland
December 15, 2010
Our study will then produce a report detailing students’ behaviour and guidelines on which teaching practices will improve the learners’ experience.
Our objectives are:
- To identify a list of most common tasks currently performed by students in VLEs.
- To conduct user study on NCI’s VLE (Moodle) including eye-tracking, usage observation and interview.
- To produce a report on students’ experience, highlighting usability issues and suggesting areas of improvement.
- To produce a booklet with instructional guidelines for lecturers on how to improve the use Moodle in their teaching practices.
- To conduct development workshops for NCI facutly to advise them on how to integrate recommendations into current learning and teaching practices.
- Through research and practitioner networks, make results of this study (lessons learned) available to other interested stakeholders, other HEA institutions, VLE and Moodle Learning and Teaching Networks.
This research is funded by NAIRTL and will run from Nov 2010 to June 2011
August 5, 2010
Here in NELL we have just finished a really interesting usability research project working with IPSO Consulting. IPSO are developing a management training game via e-learning and commissioned testing to understand more about the users’ experience in this game.
While analysing data we looked at good practice in design of e-learning games. A recent study on the design and motivation of learners in e-learning games produced a scale highlighting the important areas to consider when designing games for e-learning (EGame Flow: A scale to measure learners’ enjoyment of e-learning, Fong-Ling, Rong-Chang & Sheng Chin 2009).
The EGame Flow Scale talks about 8 key factors to consider when analysing e-learning games. We found this scale very useful when analysing the players behaviour and experience during the game. Those 8 factors are identified as:
- Goal Clarity
- Social Interaction
- Knowledge Improvement
Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students http://pics.tech4learning.com/
July 19, 2010
Are you an experienced researcher in the area of technology enhanced learning/e-learning?
Would you like to develop your career through a 2 year Research Fellowship in the National College of Ireland?
P7: MARIE CURIE INTRA-EUROPEAN FELLOWSHIPS FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT (IEF) - (FP7-People-2010-IEF)
For more information on how to apply for this, check out the NCI Research website.
Deadline for submission of proposals: 17.00 Brussels time, 17 August 2010.
Improving the user experience in the National E-learning Lab (NELL):
NELL is a research facility specialising in usability testing for human computer interactions. We would like to hear from researchers who are interested in conducting research on how to improve the user experience in e-learning.
School of Computing
Adaptive e-Learning Systems, Quality of Experience, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, User Experience, Dialogue Systems, Blended Learning, Usability, Evaluation.
March 16, 2010
There has been awful lot of talk about Cloud Computing and how it’s going to be the next big thing in IT and business applications. However, recent research from Europe tells us that us that while most companies do see the potential benefits of Cloud Computing, many are still unsure of its implementation. The survey carried out by Vanson Bourne for CA, interviewed people from 550 companies in 14 countries across Europe. It showed that the firms main concerns re Cloud Computing were management (48 percent) and security (36 percent). That said, companies in the report did say that they see Cloud Computing as here to stay.
One Irish company operating in this space and going from strength to strength is Aspeon business Intelligence. Aspeon deliver a range of business applications and software solutions over the Internet. Aspeon are currently working with our research team here in NELL to undertake user experience and usability testing on one of their helpdesk applications. We look forward to learning more…
Image from: Dupuy, Nancy. cloud1.jpg. 2007. Pics4Learning. 16 Mar 2010 <http://pics.tech4learning.com>
March 2, 2010
- Facebook has more than 400 million active users worldwide
- 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
- The average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
- The average user has 130 friends on the site (better get inviting!)
- Despite all the parents and grandparents continuing to join, most Facebook users are still relatively young with 80% of US users between the ages of 13-44
- The most popular game of 2009 continues to be Farmsville, with approx 75 million active users a month (Dec 2009)
- The most popular page on Facebook (March 2009) is Barack Obama, followed by Coca-Cola
- ‘Facebook login’ is fastest-rising search term on Google (Dec 2009)
- Currently (Feb 10) there are 1.34 million Irish users of Facebook (thanks for the update Damien)
What does it all mean?
First off, that unlike some of the other declining social media sites such as Bebo or MySpace, Facebook is growing in popularity. Facebook is here to stay; at least for the time being…
So what? Well, with 1.34 million Irish users, and 1 million of them logging on daily, Facebook is worth taking a further look at. We would like to understand some more about why users engage in Facebook and what do they do once they get on there. And the million dollar question.. How do you make money through Facebook?
Well, we can’t answer that question, but we are looking forward to working with our friends from Mulley Communications and Calom Technologies to undertake usability research to further delve into the minds of the Facebook user.. Watch this space..
These research projects are funded through the Innovation Voucher Initiative from Enterprise Ireland.
November 13, 2009
The future of TV is on the Internet?
We are delighted to be undertaking usability research this month with Calom Technology (finalists in Dublin Best Emerging Seedcorn Business Competition ). We will be testing their new web application which streams live TV and provides catch up TV over the Internet; http://ipic.tv
NCI students will be participating as testers of this website in the NELL laboratory. We are excited about gaining more insights into peoples’ behaviour when they view media over the internet and learning more about what they think about the experience.
We will let you know how we get on…