Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The ease with which a website visitor can find what they need is positively correlated with visitor satisfaction(Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement, 2008). Web usability is a field that studies what factors affect the visitor’s ability to navigate through a website. Although there are publications outlining specific usability guidelines, many of them have little or no academic research to support the claim. HHS developed a list of 209 guidelines and rated each according to their strength of evidence (research-based support, 5 – high, 1 – low). Using heuristic evaluation and usability testing, this study provides additional research-based knowledge for those guidelines rated with a low strength of evidence. Results indicate that users desire printer-friendly webpages, require feedback on their location within the website, find linking to related content helpful, and expect a search option to be provided on every page. Additional research is necessary to determine if providing descriptive page titles or labeling pushbuttons clearly is important to web usability.

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