CMPT 479/817 Usability Engineering

Assignment 1


The purpose of this assignment is to provide students with experience in performing a guided expert evaluation of the usability of an existing system.

Students will select an e-Commerce Web site and evaluate it based on the principles contained in Chapter 4 of the class text.

NOTE: This is a complex assignment. It is worth 20% of the year's mark and thus takes considerable work to complete. Be sure to fully understand both the steps in completing this assignment and the marking structure to ensure that you fully answer what is needed.


Steps in completing this assignment:

  1. Identify a suitably complex e-Commerce web site that sells a variety of products.
    1. Find a reasonably complex e-Commerce site that sells products of interest to you
    2. E-mail a request to use this web site to the instructor
      1. Make sure that your request has as its subject: CMPT 479/817 Web site claim request.
      2. Make sure to include both the name of and a link to the e-Commerce site.
      3. Make sure to include your name with your request.
    3. The instructor will attempt to provide feedback on web pages that are not approved as soon as possible.

NOTE 1: amazon.com and ebay.com are not eligible for being selected.

NOTE 2: be sure to consider how well a site will work for doing this assignment. I.e. you want a site that has both good and bad elements in its design and that is complicated enough to identify a number of different good and bad elements. 

  1. Apply the principles from Chapter 4.4 of the class text to identify examples of where they have been successfully applied and where they might suggest opportunities for improvements.
    1. You must have a minimum of 20 examples in total, 
      1. 10 examples of good applications of principles
      2. 10 examples of bad applications of 

NOTE 1: each example must be significantly different from the others. Examples that are deemed to be redundant will not receive marks.

NOTE 2: If you include additional ones, you will receive marks for the best examples, provided that they meet the remaining criteria (below).

    1. You must use at least 5 of the 12 principles from Chapter 4.4, and each principle must have a minimum of 2 examples to be counted as being used.
  1. Develop a well-structured and well-written report on your evaluation (in a Word (.doc or .docx) or pdf format) . Each example needs to include:
    1. identification and explanation of the example
      1. an identification number of each example (that can be used by the marker to refer to examples in your assignment)
      2. a short descriptive name for the example
      3. the url of the page that contains the example
      4. a short description of the what was found on the page (with a screen capture where needed to understand what was found in any page that was dynamically created and that might not be able to be revisited)
    2. discussion of the principle it relates to (see text chapter 4.4)
      1. identification of principle that it is a good or bad example of and whether it is a good or bad example
      2. a short discussion of either:
        1. for good examples: why it is an example of the principle being successfully applied
        2. for bad examples: what improvement the principle suggests should be made
    3. evaluation of the significance of this example (see text chapter 4.5.1.2) 
      1. your rating of how good or bad an example it is 
      2. a brief discussion of why you would give it this rating
  1. Submit your assignment electronically via e-mail to Prof. Carter by noon on Thursday, October 6, 2016

Marking Structure

20 distinct examples are required.
For each example the following marking will be used:
NOTE: The following constraints will be placed on the marks: