A Heuristic Evaluation Approach with a Case Study of University of Sialkot Website

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About this sample


Words: 2495 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 2495|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Related Work
  3. Methodology
  4. Pilot Study
    Pre-usability Testing
    Pre-usability Testing Result Graph
    Post-usability Testing
  5. Conclusion
  6. References
  7. Authors’ Profiles

Abstract— this research will indicate the degree of usability of a web interface. Using a case study of University of Sialkot official website. The usability of such a website displaying content for millions of users is very important to maintain because of its high usability. Nowadays every business information is on the website so a user or a student user of a university website can easily view the information what they want. Designers are working hard to make a minimalist design for better user experience. Usability inspection is a technique of evaluating the different problem in the design of a website (i.e. navigations, interactivity, relevancy, and reliability) there are several methods of evaluating the usability of a website that helps designers to develop a user-friendly design, Heuristic evaluation is one of them. Identifying the different usability problems from the previous website using pilot study method and implementing heuristic points on a new website. The results of the difference between both the website designs will clearly show that the website which is designed by following the heuristic evaluation points is far more usable than the previous website.

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Index Terms—Heuristic Evaluation, Website Design, User-Friendly Design, Pilot Study, Website Usability Inspection


Website usability inspection with the heuristic evaluation and pilot study is a research and development based project which will help website users to experience a realistic and authentic user interface. Having an education website under review this website will be more user friendly. There are hundreds of students are applying to different education institutes every year.

The University of Sialkot is a higher education council (HEC) recognized university in Sialkot. Every year almost 2 thousand students apply online through the website. So it is very important to have a fully user friendly website that can itself help users to find whatever they need to know about the university. We have applied a usability inspection test to figure out how the website is offering information to the users. Requirement gathering is the very first and important method of usability inspection. For requirement gathering we have reviewed this website with pilot and got to know that it is not as usable as required by the users. In this pilot study we have focused on the time constraint. A questionnaire of 9 questions will helped us identifying the major problems of usability in the website. We had prepared 9 tasks on a questionnaire paper. These 9 tasks was then implemented by users of different programs and departments. Mostly Students having Information Technology background can easily understand the functionalities of a website and can navigate to whatever section they want to go on the website. Our research specifically identify the usability problems that are occurred to a non IT user and an IT user of the website. Every user involved in this research will perform these 9 tasks on the website. We will record the screen of the device in which the user will perform the task. These tasks involve several functionalities testing of the website and to test how often a website is easy for a user to understand the functionalities.

In our research, we have 9 users had performed this activity and we had recorded the video of each. As we got the material for inspection we have watched each video gradually and identified how much time is taking to complete the single task by the users. By completing the following exercise we had recorded all the data in an Excel sheet to compare with the new website.

As we had completed the research on the previous website we have developed a new website with a new design and keeping in mind all the problem points that we had found in the previous website research. When the new website development and design were ready and live we had repeated the exercise on the new website and drafted the results.

In the new website we keep on solving all the problems in the problems in the previous one as well as focus to implement the heuristic evaluation rules on our new website. Heuristic evaluation is also recognized as one of the best usability inspection method we have focused in our study.

Jakob Nielsen has identified 10 heuristics from a paper of 249 usability principles. Following are the 10 heuristics we have applied on our new website.

  • Visibility of the system
  • Match between system and real world
  • User control standards
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalistic design
  • Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors
  • Help and documentation

This website design is according to the standards of Neilson Heuristics. This website design is developed after a complete research and user feedback. The final output is discovered from comparing the study of both previous website and the new website. This study involve on focusing the key factors of Human Computer interaction (HCI) which also include effectiveness, efficiency, controllability, attractiveness and satisfaction.

Related Work

This section provides literature reviews which focus on usability attributes, metrics and also techniques used by other researchers in these recent years which related to the usability evaluation on websites and web portals.

Roy, Pattnaik, & Mall, 2014 [5] focus on evaluating usability and accessibility on three educational institutions websites. They started by conducted the pilot study to identity some of the frequent tasks that are ordinarily performed on academic websites by students with IS undergraduate students. They evaluated the usability in terms of attractiveness, controllability, efficiency, helpfulness and learnability using W AMMI questionnaire and also evaluated the effectiveness based on task success by identifying whether users able to complete the tasks successfully, efficiency based on task completion time in terms of time taken to complete one task successfully and number of clicks that the users had to perform on the website to complete a task and satisfactions with 68 participants. For accessibility, they evaluated based on Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 using 'AChecker' tool. Result of the study shows the usability score for each of the attributes for the website and also found the positive impact of task completion time on participant's satisfaction levels.

GraniC, Mitrovic, & Marangunic in 2011 [2] evaluated eight (8) most visited broad-reach portals in Croatian in two stage of study, four (4) portals in each study. The ~~in objective of their study is to see the result of both usability testing method and heuristic evaluation in terms of usability evaluation result and found that both method are compliment to give better usability evaluation result. They started by conducting the pilot study to identity the tasks need to perform the usability evaluation. In first stage of study, they conducted scenario-guided user evaluation with 30 users by performing semi-structured interview to measure attractiveness, task- based user testing to measure efficiency based on time on task and effectiveness based on percent of task completed; and subjective assessment using System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire to measure user satisfaction. In second study, they conducted same approach with first study but with reduced number of participants which are 16 users, four instant experts and four human-computer interaction (HCI) experts. The main contribution of this research is that the outcome for both rounds of evaluations result was very sharp and clear which suggested that both kinds of assessments are complement to each other in usability evaluation.

In the study conducted by A. Jabar, Usman, & A wal in 2013 [6], they were assessing the usability of University website from the perspective of 364 university students in order to investigate whether the area of specialization taking by the students has significant impacts on the usability factors. They conducted a survey by using the W AMMT questionnaire to evaluate attractiveness, controllability, helpfulness, efficiency and learnability and converted the result from the 39 assessment in form of merit point in order to know the usability level for each of the usability factors. Results from the study identifies that the area of specialization taking by students derived different perspectives in the usability evaluation result. Because of that more consideration should be given to the usability factors in designing an educational website


The study include all the aspects of usability inspection and implementation of HCI Standards. The table shows the pilot study which include all the procedures for usability inspection and enhancement.

Stages Techniques Character Attribute

Pre-Usability Testing • Heuristic Evaluation • No of Tasks completed

• Time Taken to perform each task

Post Usability Testing • Heuristic Evaluation • Score

Pilot Study

Pilot study is conducted to identify some specific tasks that ordinarily performed on the website by the users of the website. Since the university provides variety of information related to the university to the students. Most commonly student’s online application for admission. Courses list and fee structures of each course and all the other details like events, news and important dates. There were 10 tasks drafted to test different functionalities of the website and its performance. All the tasks are based on Neilson Heuristic evaluation rules.

Pre-usability Testing

Pre-usability testing is categorized into two section observation and survey. Observation of the system was done to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the website. The survey was conducted to evaluate the heuristic evaluation rules on the website.

For observation of effectiveness there were two metrics which are measured that have included the number of completed tasks and the number of accurate tasks conducted by the samples. Ten (10) sample users were asked to perform drafted task on the website for evaluating the efficiency of the website. The response from these tasks had been recorded. Icecream video recorder was used to record the screen while the sample user was performing the task on the website. This gave the exact report of time that had been taken by the user for performing a specific task. The time chosen for the observation and survey was according to the requirement where the site performance assessment must be undertaken in the peak hours of use which are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:pm to 4:00 am on working days.

The survey was conducted by physically going to each department for conducting data from all the departments which are using the university website as a source of information. The recorded videos include a complete assessment of each task from each department. The distribution was accordingly as IT departments are more likely familiar with the online websites and portals so we have conducted our survey from non IT related users who were not familiar with the backend functionalities of the website.

Pre-usability Testing Result Graph

The results gathered from the samples would then be organized into a graph of found and the results which are not found by the sample users. The Graph shows the results from each sample questions.

The blue line in the graph shows the number of results found and the red line show the number of questions which are not found in the results.

Post-usability Testing

Post-usability testing is done on the new website we will have created after analyzing the results taken from the pre-usability testing of main website. Post usability testing involve two steps survey and collection of results.

The blue line in the graph shows the number of results found and the red line show the number of questions which are not found in the results.


In this paper a set of heuristics is applied to a website to enhance its usability. Websites are the most common and best way to know about someone business. In this case websites of schools, colleges and universities are under sample review. As we know that most of universities, schools and colleges are offering online admissions to the students. So it is very important for university or college website to be user friendly and help students to apply easily.

In this research we are considering every student or applicant under review like a student who is not related to information technology or do not have any technology information like a student of medical or political sciences.

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This user friendly interface of the website will help such type of applicants/Students to apply easily online without any problem. This will also help university, college or school to display their notices on the website and a user/student can easily find it on the website. In short the website with least complexity and maximum ease of use.


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Authors’ Profiles

  1. Muhammad Shoaib received his BS Software Engineering degree in 2019 from university of Gujrat and he is conducting research for Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
  2. Ahsan Ul Haq received his BS Software Engineering degree in 2019 from university of Gujrat and he is conducting research for Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
  3. Syed Qasim Ali received his BS Software Engineering degree in 2019 from university of Gujrat and he is conducting research for Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
  4. Dr Javed Sheikh a UI researcher and Certified Knowledge Manager who has more than a decade of international teaching and research experience. I am now the Director QEC and Computing & IT – but before that, I was Campus Director of the University of Lahore, Gujrat Campus and the Associate Director of the faculty of Computing and IT, University of Gujrat.
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A Heuristic Evaluation Approach with a Case Study of University of Sialkot Website. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
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