Friday, March 06, 2009

M364 Block 1, Unit 2, Computer Activity 1

Using the definitions given in Block 1, Unit 2, Review Question 2, informally evaluate how well the CBeebies and Chelsea Football Club websites satisfy each of the user experience goals: satisfying, enjoyable, fun, entertaining, motivating, aesthetically pleasing, supportive of creativity, rewarding and emotionally fulfilling.

[... R]ole play exploring the site as a member of the likely target audience - for the CBeebies site, as a teacher or parent of a five-year-old, and for the Chelsea site as a Chelsea supporter. In both cases, you may actually be a member of the target audience, which should make it much easier for you.

As it is easier to evaluate an interactive product with a particular task or tasks in mind, I suggest that for the CBeebies site you:
  • find out what, if anything, is on the television at the time you explore the site
  • find an interesting activity to play
  • explore the site, finding anything else that might interest you or activities that you may find enjoyable
Now explore the Chelsea Football Club site. I suggest that for this site you
  • find out who the various goalkeepers are and the countries from which they originate
  • find out who was manager from 1962 to 1967
  • explore the site, finding anything else that may interest you or activities you may find enjoyable
Whilst you are exploring the sites, I suggest you sketch the findings of your evaluation using a radar diagram. [... Rate both sites on the same diagram.] This representation enables you to compare the websites along a number of different axes.
The CBeebies site appears to be as much addressed to toddlers as to adults - much real-estate is given over to clickable images of series or characters, and only one out of 17 left-hand navigation options is labelled "Grown-ups". Nevertheless it was easy ([PgDn] > "What's On") to find out what was currently showing.

I also found games rapidly ("Fun and Games") and played the Fimbles "Arty Tunes" which I suspect my pre-literate toddler would have been able to handle quite easily - for reference, he can explore DVD menus using the DVD player's cursor arrows, but cannot play the Ker-wizz maze game without adult assistance (which is why he is - sadly - no longer allowed on the CBeebies website). The obviousness of the game, and the ease with which new characters, objects or dots could be placed on the canvas to be played as "music" with timing and pitch depdning on their X and Y position made the game quite rewarding, but the fact that you still end up with a slow-motion cacophony was not very satisfying.

Having done that I hopped to "The Fimbles on the bus" which popped a media player in a box. This was Real Player, and I was surprised to find that I had to click on the Start button to start playback. Apart from this minor annoyance, it just worked.

The Chelsea site tasks proved trickier. I was able to find the first team players immediately ("Players" > "First team") but ended up cycling through most of the 27 players in order to find the Czech Petr Cech's substitute, Welshman Rhys Taylor. 

Finding the club history was once again an easy start ("Club" > "History") followed by an enjoyable bit of burrowing through the narrative in order to identify Tommy Docherty as manager for the period (though neither the word "manager" nor his start or end dates are mentioned). This was an example of reduced usability - efficiency, to be more specific - leading to enhanced user experience - entertainment, or perhaps emotional fulfilment depending on how far the user identified with the club.

I entertained myself by finding William "Fatty" Foulke, mentioned in the team history as their 22 stone first goalkeeper, in the historical Player Database, and admiring his photograph.

Finally, here is a radar chart comparing user experience scores by category for the two sites - click on the thumbnail to see the full size version.

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