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Walkthrough Setup

Evaluation Completed by: Gary Thompson
Date: September 19, 2007
Environment/URL: MyUW

Scope of Walkthrough

uPortal: Public/Guest page, Login, Home Page, Academics Page, UW Course Resources, Logout

User profile(s) and context of use

Persona: Ed McClellan, Undergraduate
Ed is in his freshman year. Ed has used the portal a few times and recognizes that there are a few valuable (though not highly usable) services within the portal. Ed is accessing the portal via his laptop from his dorm room.

User Expectations & Conventions


Ed is searching for his instructor's contact information to email a question regarding his assignment.


Guest Page and Login

As I had to use the demo account, I could not properly evaluate the login or the guest page.

Home Page

Usability Issues



Suggestions for solution

Component Identified?

(plus) Easy recognition of My UW brand.

Visibility of system status, Aesthetic and minimalist design




(minus) Header links in the top right corner get lost in the graphic image.

Aesthetic and minimalist design


Re-design the header imagery to clearly display the header links

Header, Host Links

(plus) Tab navigation is recognizable and current tab is visually identified. Labels are decent.

Match between system and the real world


Do some user research and cardsorting activities to determine best labels

Main Navigation/Tab Navigation

(minus) Quicklinks below the tabs are confusing because of their spacial relationship to the tabs and unfamiliar icons.

Match between system and the real world


Delineate the links from the tabs, give the group a label, and use familiar/standard icons

Quicklinks/Featured Links

(minus) Login/logout status and links are hard to locate

Visibility of system status, User control and freedom


Move the login status and info to a prominent place in the header

Login Status/Logout

(minus) Customize this page links are always visible and at the same time get lost within the page

Aesthetic and minimal design, Flexibility and efficiency of use


Hide customization links in a menu under a single "Customize" label. This removes information when it is not wanted, yet provides a mechanism for quick access.

Customization Menu

(minus) Content is not immediately recognizable with a whole page scan, and forces the user to read and interpret each box of content (the weather portlet is an exception in that it pretty clearly identifies itself by the images/icons; on the contrary, even though the calendar portlet has some styling and icons, it is not easily recognized as a calendar). Portlet titles are difficult to read.

Visibility of system status, Match between system and the real world, Recognition rather than recall


Clearer, more readable titles. Content should better match user convention of popular applications.

Portlet Container

(minus) Links are not recognizable as links

Consistency and standards


Use conventional underlining of links


(minus) No course information is found on this page, so Ed goes hunting through the tabs and picks "Academics". Clicking the tab takes Ed to the Academics page


Match between system and the real world, Recognition rather than recall, Flexibility and efficiency of use

It seems that there may be a better label than Academics, but would require some research. Some kind of accelerator would be nice to see some kind of Academics status on the home page

Main Navigation/Tab Navigation, Quicklinks/Featured Links, Content Cameo

Academics Page

Usability Issues



Suggestions for solution

Component Identified?

(minus) Student Center content is the same as the home page, but now has a different location, which is just enough to be troubling (have to spend the time seeing if it is really the same thing)

Consistency and standards


Put the content in the same place or only have it in one place or the other


(minus) Content overload - there are multiple complex interfaces presented together with no clear starting point

Match between system and the real world, Aesthetic and minimalist design


Design better content cameos that gradually introduce the information and applications, use progressive disclosure

Content Cameo

(minus) Though Ed am uncertain of how to proceed with what he is presented, he finds no contextual help

Help and documentation, Recognition rather than recall


Provide contextual help. Better yet, design a better presentation of the content such that help is less needed

Contextual Help

UW Course Resources

Usability Issues



Suggestions for solution

Component Identified?

(minus) Sifting through the information, Ed begins to understand that the Campus Resources channel is a list of his classes.

Recognition rather than recall


A cleaner, more readable and digestible course list; use a consistent grid

Course List

(minus) Ed identifies his General Botany class and sees that there is a "contact" and "Webpage" link next to the instructor's name

Match between system and the real world


Rename the link to Contact Instructor, and/or link the instructor's name. Consider following a standard contact card type of format. Provide a picture of the instructor to both increase speed of recognition and to associate the information as contact information (tied to a person)


(plus) (minus) Ed clicks the contact link and a popup window appears displaying a non-portal webpage of the UW Directory search. The page shows the instructor's institution (name, title, department, etc.) and contact information (mailing address, phone, email). The instructor's office hours are listed in the portal, but not in the popup information; Ed has to shift windows to check office hours in the portal to verify that he can call the instructor at the current time and reach him.

Recognition rather than recall


Display the contact information in the portal, coupled with the office hours. Avoid popup windows

Contacts, Balloon Content

Ed calls his instructor on the phone and talks about the assignment.

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