You and Me and Usability

My Q is a site used by Quinnipiac University undergraduate and graduate students as well as staff and faculty. The purpose of the site is to direct users to information, forms and third party applications related to the University. Usability tests were conducted on three participants to determine how difficult or easy it is to navigate My Q in its current state.

The participants included:

#1: 30 years old. Woman. Full time teacher. Doesn’t use My Q. Uses the internet recreationally, somewhat familiar with Facebook but mostly uses it to online shop.

#2: 55 years old. Man. Full time accountant. Familiar with My Q. Uses the internet for work, doesn’t use it recreationally.

#3: 22 years old. Woman. Full time data analyst. Doesn’t use My Q but is familiar with the type of site. Uses the internet frequently, very familiar with social media and the functions of computers as a whole.

The participants were asked to complete five tests to find various offshoots on the My Q website. These tasks included:

    • Open Blackboard (This should take One click, the blackboard link is on the homepage)
    • Find the hours of operation for the gym on Mount Carmel Campus Mon- Fri (This should take Two clicks)
    • Find the schedule for the New Haven Town and Train Shuttle Service (This should take Two clicks)
    • Find your mailbox combination number (This should take Three clicks and is the most difficult task)
    • Find the New Student Health Services Requirements (This should take 2 clicks)

As a whole the participants did very well in the testing. They understood what was being asked of them and acting in a calm professional manner. That being said the testing did bring up some concerns from the participants. Immediately when testing began Participant #2 exclaimed that they couldn’t see the website at all. The testing paused while she went to grab her glasses, but when she returned ready to begin again with her glasses she still found the site difficult to see. I had considered this problem briefly before but I hadn’t realized that it was such a hassle for people that might not have the best eyesight.

For the first task I noticed that instead of scrolling down slightly to click on the large graphic image of the BlackBoard link, all three participants clicked on the smaller BlackBoard link listed under the quick links tab. I had a theory that the larger graphic images weren’t actually very usefully and this confirmed it.

During the third task I had one of the participants start to express some real frustration. Their task was to locate the New Haven Town and Train shuttle schedule information. When I explained that to the second participant she replied with, “Now where the hell would that be?” It’s obvious that at this point she had realized how many options the My Q website offered to click on and knew it was going to be difficult to find that information. However she found the information faster than the other two participants and was in reality just overwhelmed at the amount of choices, not the difficulty of navigating them.

Before testing began I knew I wanted to include test #4. While I was an undergrad student using My Q I also had difficulty finding my mailbox combination number and even now it sticks out to me how frustrated I was trying to remember the right tabs to click. That’s why I was not surprised in the slightest when all three of the participants could not complete the task.

Coupled with this I found it very interesting that Participant #3 was the only one to try to utilize the search bar function. She tried searching for “mailbox” and had no results pop up. If the search bar was functioning she would have been able to find it easily. Unfortunately because the search bar does not function to its best ability she could not use her only life line and inevitably gave up on the task.

To sum it up simply I believe that My Q’s two biggest problems come from the issue that the site itself is designed poorly, aesthetically speaking. The text is difficult to read and the graphics are either redundant or completely useless. In addition to that the organization system is either too complex or too broad. Too many things fall under “student life” and having to click through upwards of three times to reach your desired location is far too many.




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