Research on Financial Web Sites Designed for Teenagers (Fall 2001) IPRO 359
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The proliferation of the Internet in recent years has led to more people using, and being confused by, computer interfaces. Usability testing is a formal laboratory procedure used to identify problems with user interfaces during the development of a product. It involves creating tasks for users to accomplish and watching whether they can complete the given tasks. More importantly, the testers observe how users interact with the interface in an attempt to understand why they perform the actions they do. The testing allows developers to identify issues with their designs early enough in the product development cycle to be able to change them, saving money and resources later, in addition to creating an easier-to-use product. Unfortunately, many companies do not implement usability testing or do so too late into development to make any substantive changes suggested by the testing. The result is often a product that is needlessly hard to use. The team will conduct usability tests during the semester to gain first-hand experience in all aspects of usability testing. This project will test the interfaces of products produced by other IPROs and will work closely with other teams to identify and address issues arising from their work so that students on this team and others can appreciate the value of usability testing and designing with the end users in mind. A major focus of the team's work during the Fall 2001 semester will be to develop a business plan for the IIT Usability Testing and Evaluation Center (UTEC), and in particular to develop a marketing strategy for establishing UTEC as the Underwriter's Laboratory of the internet, whereby a web site authorized by UTEC to display the (UTEC) seal of approval will hold the distinction of having met minimum standards of usability for its intended user populations.