Linda Hansson; Ulrika Persson , pp. 36. Inst. för Programvaruteknik och Datavetenskap/Dept. of Software Engineering and Computer Science, 2001.
Virtual communities are getting more and more common since the Internet has become an important tool for interaction and communication between people. The purpose of this report is to investigate if there is a connection between the graphical design of a virtual community and usability. To be able to draw a conclusion we have chosen to study two virtual communities, called braknehoby.net and norsjo.net. This report will also present general recommendations about how to design virtual communities that support good usability.
The method used in this investigation is a "usability test" where five people answered questions and solved tasks concerning braknehoby.net and norsjo.net. The group selected consisted of students studying at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola.
The most important result, appearing from the usability test, is that braknehoby.net was found difficult to navigate. One of the reasons was that the test group thought it was hard to differ between links and headings on the web page. Furthermore, the design of menus made the searching of information harder as the naming of the menu alternatives was not obvious to the user.
According to the usability test, norsjo.net was found much easier to navigate. The main reason was that the menu alternatives were self-explanatory and the user could immediately figure out how to use the web page.