Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Greenstein, Joel S.

Committee Member

Gramopadhye , Anand K.

Committee Member

Cho , Byung Rae

Abstract

Synchronous remote usability testing, involves a facilitator conducting a usability test in real time, interacting with a participant who is remote. This study proposes a new methodology for conducting these studies using a three-dimensional virtual world, Wonderland, and compares it with two other commonly used synchronous usability test methods: the traditional lab approach and WebEx, a web-based conferencing and screen sharing approach.
The study involved 48 participants in total, 36 test subjects and 12 test facilitators. These 36 were equally divided among the three environments with the 12 test facilitators being paired with one participant in each of the environments. The participants completed 5 tasks on an e-commerce website. The three methodologies were compared with respect to the dependent variables, the time taken to complete the tasks; the usability defects identified; the severity of these usability issues; and the subjective ratings from the NASA-TLX, the presence and post-test subjective questionnaires.
Most importantly, the three methodologies agreed closely in terms of the total number defects identified, number of high severity defects identified and the time taken to complete the tasks. However, there was a significant difference in the workload experienced by the test participants and facilitators, with the traditional lab condition being the least and the Wonderland and the WebEx conditions being almost the same. It was also found that both test participants and test facilitators experienced better involvement and immersive experiences in the Wonderland condition, than the WebEx condition and almost the same for traditional lab condition.
The results of this study suggest that participants were productive and enjoyed the Wonderland condition, indicating the potential of a virtual world based approach as an alternative to the conventional approaches.

Share

COinS