Netscape 6.1/Mozilla 0.9.4 Usability Summary Report

August 13, 2001


A usability evaluation was conducted with the Netscape 6.1 client on August 8 & 9, 2001. Issues that are relevant to Mozilla, as well as the commercial client, are summarized here.

A total of six users participated, in the evaluation. User experience ranged from intermediate to advance. Overall, participants were able to effectively use the products once they had located them. It was difficult in some cases for the people to find the various products with the menus or from icons that are provided in the interface. Also, there was a significant amount of confusion regarding the difference between the client based products and the web based counter parts that are provided as part of the Netscape website.

The main issues uncovered during testing are summarized below.

Issue

Recommendation

Ambiguous terms used in some of the products.

Re-evaluate the terms used for top level menus and icons.

Confusion regarding the difference between client based and web-based products.

TBD

Difficulty locating various parts of the client (i.e. address book).

Re-evaluate the menu system and icon locations for products.

Inability to close the sidebar

Provide an easy way to close the sidebar.


Problematical Tasks

  1. Read email and reply to messages
  2. Add sender to address book
  3. Use imported book mark
  4. Add address to address book from card

 


Key Findings

Each usability concern is given a severity rating of 1 to 5 weighted by the issue‚s expected frequency of occurrence and impact to the customer‚s work.

 

Client Address Book vs. Web Address Book

Issue

Description

Severity

Recommendation

Finding the client address book.

Users in the evaluation had a very difficult time finding the client-based address book.  The looked first to the tool bar and then to the sidebar for the address book.  Most of the users never noticed the icons and the bottom left of the screen that accessed the address book

2

Add a button for address book to the toolbar of the mail client.

Consider having a sidebar tab for address book.

Confusion between the address books

Several of the participants accessed both the client address book and the web address book during the test.  These users believed that these were the same address book and would contain the same information.

3

TBD

Collected addresses

Users did not know what the term „collected addressesš meant.  This was particular problematic for the less experienced users.

4

Consider alternate naming for this address book.

Moving addresses

The less experienced users had no idea how to move an address from one address book to the other.  These users tended to edit an address and find a way to move it.

4

Provide a drop down in address edit mode to select the address book where the card will be located.

 

Toolbars

Issue

Description

Severity

Recommendation

Tasks menu item

The tasks menu item is ambiguous and not well understood by users.  They tend to translate this menu item in a literal sense (as tasks in a to do list).

2

Consider renaming this menu item to a term that is better understood by the users.

Icons

The more advanced users in the test wanted a way to get rid of the icons on the toolbar and have only text.  These users tried the arrows but this resulted in the bar closing completely.

5

Provide a way to display only text in the toolbar.

AB - New Card

The term „new cardš was a bit confusing the people in the test.

5

Consider changing the name of this button „New Addressš or another term.

 

Sidebar

Issue

Description

Severity

Recommendation

Usage

5 of 6 users in the test used the sidebar to add buddies and to use Instant Messenger.  1 users in the test used the search sidebar tab when searching.  1 user in the evaluation used the sidebar to read the news.

Info

 

Closing the sidebar

Several users wanted to close the sidebar during the test.  However, none of the users were able to close it.  One user attempted to drag the sidebar closed but it kept popping back open.  The rest of the users expected to find an X button of similar control.

 

 

 

Misc. Issues

Issue

Description

Severity

Recommendation

Hot Keys

The advanced users in the evaluation looked for hotkeys to perform various repetitive tasks during the test.  However, in most cases they were not able to find the hotkeys.

3

 

Right Mouse Menus

Often times, there were no right mouse menus when users attempted to right click on various items.  This was most apparent in the bookmark list.  Users expected to be able to delete bookmarks directly from the list using a right mouse menu.

3

Provide right mouse menu support consistently throughout the client.

Online Help

Several users accessed online help during the test.  However. Once in the help system there is no way to search the contents.

3

Provide a search engine for the help contents.

Searching

Most of the users in the evaluation went to an outside search engine when asked to search the internet.  Users mainly went to Google and Yahoo to perform the searches.

Info

 

Feedback when adding a bookmark

Users expected to have some sort of feedback when adding a bookmark.

4

Add some feedback when adding a bookmark.

Application icons

Only one user discovered the application icons located at the bottom left had side of the screen.

Info

 

 


Task Scenarios

  1. You have just heard the Netscape 6.1 is available for download. Download Netscape 6.1 and install it on your computer.
  2. Read all of your email messages.
  3. Go to the email message with the subject „When are you free for lunchš and add the sender to your address book.
  4. You would like to catch up on the latest news, go to the website www.cnn.com and read the news.
  5. Add the following people to your Buddy List: JonQAnnoyer, JTGeyerman and HFU1.
  6. You have several people that you would to send an email to and let them know what you have been doing. Send an email to Fred Jones, Mary Sommers, and Jeff Williams and tell them what you have been doing of late. (Hint: All of these people are in you address book).
  7. You need to update an address in your address book. Change John Smith‚s email address to HFU1@aol.com in your address book.
  8. See if JTGeyerman is currently online. If he is, send him an Instant Message.
  9. You like to visit the web site Amazon.com to shop for stuff. You recall that you added Amazon to your list of bookmarks before you installed Netscape 6.1. See if Amazon.com is still in your list of bookmarks.
  10. You are thinking about taking a trip to the Grand Canyon. Search for a web site with information about the Grand Canyon. When you have found a web site that you like, add it to your bookmarks.
  11. Your were given a business card the day and wanted tokeep track of the information on the card. Add the information on the business card to your address book.
  12. You no longer visit the web site ESPN.com. Remove this site from you list of bookmarks.