Evaluating Online Travel Agencies’ Usability: What Heuristics Should We Use?
Online travel agencies’ customers have nowadays a wide range of alternatives and are more demanding. Usability is a basic attribute in software quality. Heuristic evaluation is arguably the most popular usability inspection method, well-known and widely used. A heuristic evaluation may be performed based on generic or specific heuristics. Many sets of specific (usually domain-related) usability heuristics were published. Heuristic quality scales to validate and/or evaluate new heuristics were proposed. The paper analyzes evaluators’ perception on three sets of usability heuristics, when evaluating the same product: Nielsen’s generic heuristics, a set of cultural-oriented heuristics for e-Commerce, and a set of heuristics for smartphones applications (SMASH). We made an experiment with 38 Computer Science students, enrolled in a Human-Computer Interaction introductory course, using the online travel agency Expedia.com as case study; the web and mobile versions were evaluated. We assessed students’ perception based on a questionnaire that rates each heuristic individually (Utility, Clarity, Ease of use, Necessity of additional checklist), but also the set of heuristics as a whole (Easiness, Intention of future use, Completeness).
KeywordsOnline travel agency Heuristic evaluation Usability heuristics Heuristic quality
We thank all the students involved in the experiment. They provided helpful opinions that allowed us to prepare this and (hopefully) further documents.
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