In this paper, we analyze the application of the method of experiential contextual inquiry in the expert evaluation and provide the results and summary of evaluating the mobile application (Facebook) in the context of a broader perspective of the usability evaluation.
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Algorithms, Management, Measurement, Design, Experimentation, Human Factors, Standardization
One of the most efficient methods of expert evaluation is the method of experiential contextual inquiry that includes both the focus groups method and the method of interviews. One of the advantages of the method of experiential contextual inquiry is that it can be easily used for the evaluation of the websites and mobile applications. The mobile application that was chosen for the evaluation is Facebook since the method of experiential contextual inquiry would be convenient for analyzing different types of interactions.
The Description Of The Method Of The Experiential Contextual Inquiry
The most important components of the method of experiential contextual inquiry are the attention to user experience and observation in the real context. At this stage, it is important to point out that the expert evaluation, unlike the usability studies and other similar practices, has no interest in the detailed statistical data itself . The most important and valuable aspect of such an evaluation is its representativeness. Furthermore, for the results of the study to be representative, in the case of usability expert evaluation, the researcher acquires the role of an observer who is looking at the users’ experience.
The main objective of the expert evaluation process is to analyze and estimate the users’ experience. It is important to point out the fact that the idea behind the expert evaluation is that it is not only efficient because it generalizes the experience and impression but also easy to organize because of different methods of application available.
The role of the researcher or expert for the experiential contextual inquiry is very important. The experts construct the conversation with the users and, therefore, is responsible for the validity of the context. The most concerning issue is the level to which the results of the application of the expert evaluation represent the generalized market opinion . As a result, the crucial difference between the focus groups method and the method of the interview can also play a significant role. Overall, the method of interviews is preferable when the researcher requires a deeper insight into the customer’s opinion. In the latter case, the interviews may cover a fewer number of users.
The Application Of The Method And Setting Up The Study
The Method Selection
The usability experts in the situations where the resources of the evaluation are limited and the idea and feedback from the customers is a crucial aspect prefer the method of the contextual inquiry . Therefore, it is hardly replaceable for the workplace and customer interviews and small-scale marketing focus groups.
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For the evaluation of the mobile application namely Facebook, the method was selected because Facebook has multiple options of the interactions, therefore, with the inquiring method, it would be easier to analyze the perspective of the interviewees.
With the limited resources of expert and the absence of the specially designed software for the evaluation, the application selected for testing was the method of experiential contextual inquiry. This study applied the interviewing method for expert evaluation of the Facebook mobile application.
The Process of Application Assessment and Results
The first stage of the application was designing the questionnaire for the structured interview. The explicit criteria of the assessment were predetermined both by the method selected and by the specifics of Facebook’s functional options. The main criteria were assessing the engagement with the application, the preference of the mobile application over the website, and the preference of the particular interactive options. The next stage was the process of conducting the interviews with 5 users of the application.
The most important and challenging aspect was the observation of the negative and positive customers’ reaction simultaneously with monitoring their factual responses. Setting up the contextual inquiries in the real social context enhances the opportunities for manoeuvring interactions and identifying the triggers of the emotional responses. Due to such an approach, it is easier to evaluate the application users’ opinion on the different interactive options. Hence, the study can be replicated within a small group of users if the same criteria are used.
The advantage of the focus groups is that it helps to generate more ideas among the customers that can be used after the evaluation. Meanwhile, the method of interviews helps to perform a deeper analysis of the fewer number of users’ feedback.
Overall, the contextual inquiry is effective and efficient in terms of its interactivity and using the ideas and feedback from customers. It guarantees the economic use of resources and can be quickly organized. The main drawback of the method is its low level of generalization of data. In other words, the results of the Facebook evaluation are valuable within the context of the study but cannot be generalized. Therefore, the patterns observed within one study are not universal, which creates limitations to the method.
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