Published on March 10, 2014
Team 02 Omid Farivar | Evan Kerrigan | Benjamin Nayer
Agenda 1. Introducing NEEShub 2. Methods Employed 3. PrioriGzed Findings & RecommendaGons 4. Summary
What is NEES? • Network for Earthquake Engineering SimulaGon is an NSF-‐funded research organizaGon • Serves as a network to coordinate and share data and research among earthquake, civil, and structural engineers and 14 diﬀerent laboratories throughout the U.S. • Oﬀers mulGple services including NEEShub, which is our focus
NEEShub? Project Warehouse? • Suite of soTware and tools to store, share, and analyze data—tailored to the needs of the NEES community • At its heart is the “Project Warehouse,” which serves as the repository for uploading, managing, and sharing research data • Also oﬀers an array of tools for visualizing and analyzing data outside of the Project Warehouse
Meet Dr. Hank Bryant • Professor at UCSD • Infrequent NEEShub & Project Warehouse user • More involved with researching than managing data
Meet Natalie Winkler • Graduate student • Frequent NEEShub & Project Warehouse user • More involved with uploading and managing data
Methods 1. Interviews 3 interviews (2 PhDs, 1 Prof.) resulGng in personas 2. ComparaGve EvaluaGon 7 total sites 3. HeurisGc EvaluaGon 3 Evaluators, 55 Total Findings 4. Survey 30 Complete Responses 5. Usability TesGng 5 users; 2 in-‐person tests & 3 remote tests
PRIORITIZED FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS
PrioriKzed Findings & RecommendaKons 1. Search & Browsing FuncGonality 2. DocumentaGon & Help 3. Management of Files & Data 4. Project Warehouse File Browser
Finding 01: Search & Browsing FuncKonality in the Project Warehouse • During interviews, users reported that searching and browsing through data in the Project Warehouse were challenging: “Other researchers have just called me to request the data…it’s easier to have a conversa5on than ﬁnd it through NEES.”
Finding 01: Search & Browsing FuncKonality in the Project Warehouse • Site-‐wide search doesn’t match user expectaGons: usability test subjects were frustrated that project and experiment data did not appear in its search results—separate “project search” box does, however…
Finding 01: Search & Browsing FuncKonality in the Project Warehouse • There were bright spots: one usability test subject thought the automaGcally provided subject tags would be helpful in structuring queries
RecommendaKon 01: MulK-‐pronged approach • Return project and experiment data in site-‐ wide search results or noGfy users that these data are not included • Improve training for users on how to navigate Project Warehouse data • Conduct further, deeper study on user’s behavior within the system’s ﬁle browser
Finding 02: Help DocumentaKon in the Project Warehouse • NEEShub has done some good work providing contextual help, parGcularly when compleGng online forms
Finding 02: Help DocumentaKon in the Project Warehouse • Usability test subjects and survey respondents liked that the help documentaGon was made available, but were oTen unable to ﬁnd what they were seeking • “There should be a ‘Quick Start Guide’ or something for newbies…”
RecommendaKon 02: Design Changes & Further Analysis Required • Perform audits of help resource contents as well as further, deeper invesGgaGons on usage – A/B TesGng – AnalyGcs • Make the “Quick Start Guide” more visually prominent and consider oﬀering a virtual “guided tour” on ﬁrst login
Finding 03: File & Data Management in the Project Warehouse • User interviews revealed that the data upload process is confusing, parGcularly regarding ﬁle types • HeurisGc evaluaGon supported this as well – Inconsistent documentaGon on acceptable ﬁle types – Unhelpful error responses for wrong ﬁle types – DocumentaGon for data & ﬁle formats are not proximal
RecommendaKon 03: Prevent errors & Provide helpful documentaKon • Provide clear, consistent, contextual help and documentaGon for ﬁle uploads • Validate ﬁle formats during ﬁle upload • Provide clearer, more accurate error messages with clear acGons for the user to take
Finding 04: File Browser Usage in the Project Warehouse • HeurisGc evaluaGon revealed a major issue: some directories with 10+ GB data appear to be empty upon access—what happened? – Is the data gone? – Has an error has occurred? – Do I have insuﬃcient privileges? – Is the system sGll loading? – Something else?
RecommendaKon 04: Provide accurate & appropriate noKﬁcaKon of system status • If the directory sizes are incorrect, provide correct labels • If the system needs addiGonal to load the view, provide users with a status indicator such as a spinner to inform them as such • Oﬀer helpful error noGﬁcaGons (e.g., “You do not have permission to view these data”) Photo source: Panic – hmp://panic.com/goods/
Summary • We have covered four primary areas for usability improvements – Search funcGonality – Help & documentaGon resources – File & data management – File browsing
Summary • NEEShub development team has addressed a number of usability issues that match those from our observaGons and analyses • We believe that addressing the four issues outlined today will improve usability and user saGsfacGon
Q & A
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