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Back to School: Design Usability

All of us have encountered websites that are painful to use. We know what doesn't work, and we might even have said "This site would work better if..." but how many of us have examined our own websites with these thoughts in mind? Maybe it's time for a fresh look. Eliana Stavrou takes you through the basic issues of design usability.

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By: Eliana Stavrou
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 19
January 05, 2005
  1. · Back to School: Design Usability
  2. · Usability principles
  3. · More usability principles
  4. · Evaluation Questionnaire

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Back to School: Design Usability - Evaluation Questionnaire
(Page 4 of 4 )

The interface of any application is the first thing a user interacts with, and therefore must be taken into consideration when evaluating any product or service.

This section includes a sample questionnaire you can use, based on Nielsen’s interface usability criteria, in order to evaluate the interface of web sites, tools, applications, and so forth. You can enhance the sample by adding more questions on issues that interest you.

The questions on the survey are formed as statements. To answer each statement, a scale of 0 - 4 was created (0 being “strongly disagree,” 1 for “disagree,” 2 is “neutral,” 3 for “agree,” and 4 means “strongly agree”). The user who has to answer the questionnaire must select the choice that best represents his or her opinion. At the end of the questionnaire you can calculate the average based on the provided answers,  designate an expert to evaluate the results of the questionnaire and suggest improvements you should make. 

You can use the following table to gather users' opinions on each statement:

Please choose 0-4











Structure and navigation

  • The content of the website is logically organized between and within pages.

  • The navigation is clearly recognizable and located in the same place on each page of the website.

  • I always know where I am as well as all of the available destinations.

Appearance and aesthetics

  • The layout directs your eye to the main content.

  • The design is appropriate for the purpose of the website and for the intended audience.


  • The website is consistent with respect to the following:

    • Display format (page layout, use of color, fonts, images and background).

    • Wording / Terminology (appropriate for the purpose of the site).


  • I was able to learn to use the services easily.

  • The names of menu options and form fields are meaningful.

  • It is clear what each function does and what I have to do to achieve my goal by using a given function.


  • The system informs me about its progress while processing a query or request.

  • The provided feedback is helpful and the error messages are informative and non-disruptive.

  • The system gives error messages that clearly tell me how to fix the problem.

Help and Documentation

  • The manual and documentation is:

    • Useful

    • Easy to use

    • Comprehensive

    • Logically organized


The scope of this article was intended to remind you about some important principles you should keep in mind in order to develop aesthetically pleasant and logically organized websites. It also provided you with a sample questionnaire you can use to develop you own in an attempt to evaluate the design usability of any website.

I believe that it is important to return to school once a while to freshen up our knowledge and practices. By doing so, we develop products that are based on good foundations. Our websites need to maintain a high quality to get accepted by the users.  


DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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