Ryan Schabel Homepage Evaluation of UNFCU.org San Jose State University 10/8/2013
Introduction When considering the design of a website, it is important to keep in mind its goals and purposes as well as the demographics of its users. The UNFCU is a website for United Nations employees and individuals who share financial responsibility with an employee of any related branch, organization, institution, etc. of the United Nations. There are over 100,000 members of the United Nations Credit Union from over 200 different countries. With that said, there is likely to be a large difference between knowledge of languages and other large differences between individuals in general. Therefore, the UNFCU website should be easily accessible to anyone who would like to use it. If any interface should be easily accessed, it is very important to include human factors principles in the design and development of the interface.
Global Principle - Identification Identification refers to the task of identifying the website on the home page. It is important for the user to receive information about the page they are viewing and the purposes the page is used for. Violation When a user first comes to the UNFCU website, there is no identity of the site other than the first letter of each word in the whole name displayed at the top of the page. It is surprisingly difficult to find anywhere the full title of the organization’s name. This violates the global usability principle of identification and can simply be resolved by having text at the top of the page that says “United Nations Federal Credit Union” next to the displayed “UNFCU” logo. There already is a clear space between the top menu items and the body of the page for the whole name of the website to be displayed. Furthermore, it would also be helpful to have a short description of the UNFCU.
United Nations Federal Credit Union
Local Principle – Visibility and Affordance Visibility refers to the ability of the user to find and identify a feature in the interface provided. An interface with high visibility will allow the user to easily accomplish all of the tasks they desire while also being shown the different possible tasks. An affordance is a quality which indicates the task of an object through bottom-up processing. For example, a handle can indicate pulling or holding while a door knob indicates twisting. Violation Although English is a widely used language throughout the world, it would be helpful to people who do not speak or read English to provide an easy-to-find tool to change languages. The language selection option is in a very discreet location of the top left corner of the page and it would be helpful to utilize multiple languages and also clearly indicate that the language is changeable. One way to make this option more visible is to enlarge the language option. Using a better symbol or indicators such as a Japanese or Chinese character will improve the affordances for the user if they are not familiar with the meanings of EN or FR. An ellipse is also a somewhat universal symbol that most people in the world will recognize which will indicate that there are more langue options, if they are made available by the UNFCU. | EN | FR | …
Local Principle – Grouping Grouping refers to the idea that similar items should be located in close proximity to each other because it reduces cognitive load on a user’s working memory. If similar items are visually close together, the user can more easily find the item they are searching for because they can expect certain items to be in certain locations. Violation The page seems to have three different menus which are displayed parallel to each other. However, the menu items are not organized or grouped in an intuitive layout.
The options in the menu above have been highlighted and categorized with color. The first options are Membership Services and have been highlighted in red. Become a Member, Account Services, and Accounts are all related to having an account or becoming a member. The items highlighted in green are in a General Information category, which simply provide the user with more information about the UNFCU. These items include FAQs, Contact Us, About UNFCU, Security Center (which is somewhat of a FAQ page), WebChat, and Seminars. The items in yellow are in a Financial Tools category. These include Current Rates and Financial Calculators, which are likely to be used in conjunction with each other. Finally, in orange, there are the Demographic-Location items, which include the language setting, Branch & ATM Locator, and Change Country/Currency. When organized into these categories, it is clear that these items are closely related and should be grouped together within the display of the webpage, making it easier for the user to find the menu item they are looking for.
Local Principle â€“ Gestalt Grouping â€“Similarity Gestalt Grouping refers to the idea that humans naturally perceive objects in organized patterns and groups. The principle of similarity refers to the idea that visually similar objects are naturally grouped by the human mind, allowing for differentiation between unrelated stimuli. Violation The third menu of the UNFCU website holds Special Offers, Accounts, Investments, etc. As shown below, the Special Offers item is in blue text whereas the other items are all in black. According to the similarity principle, a user would be led to believe they are viewing the Special Offers page. However, this is not the case. When one of the items of the menu is chosen, there is a larger border which surrounds the menu they are viewing. Instead, the Special Offers tab should be black along with the rest of the options.
Local Principle – Grouping –Proximity The Proximity principle states that objects that are close together are organized by the observer as the same object or group. Therefore, if there are very similar, those functions should be close in proximity so the user can expect one area of the interface to provide functions similar to each other. Violation – When a new user is planning on signing up for a membership or to get a new account, they are likely to search for a login option. This is partly due to previous experience with other websites, but also because a login signifies membership. It is also important to keep in mind that the UNFCU exists to provide services to its members, so making a new account should be an easy task. As shown below, not only are the Member Login and the Become a Member functions separated, but the Become A Member function does not stand out from the other, less important options.
To follow the proximity principle, the Become a Member function should be inserted into the open space of “Online Banking.” The text should also be increased in size and be changed to stand out among its surroundings.
Local Principle – Help and Documentation Heuristic The Help and Documentation heuristic describes the need to keep the user informed of any decisions they need more information about. For example, if a user is in an interface but is not sure of what action to take, the available options should be accompanied with more information for the user to base their decision on. Violation Under the “Member Login” space, there is an option for “Ease of Access Navigation.” When noticing this option, a first thought may be “Well, of course I want my navigation to be easy and accessible.” However, the option is unchecked, and more importantly, there is no way of getting more information about this option without trial-and-error, which is generally time consuming. The best way to resolve this issue would be to have either a small caption describing what “Ease of Access Navigation” is, or to have a question mark symbol which can be hovered over or clicked on to quickly and easily provide information on the options functionality. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what this option does without having login credentials.
Conclusion Overall, the UNFCU.org website has several issues that violate different human factors principles and heuristics. One global principle violated by the website is the identification principle. On the home page of the website, as well as all other pages, there is no clear information on the whole name of the organization. Visibility, Affordance, and grouping principles are violated by not grouping conceptually similar items close together in the menus, which seem to be randomly arranged. Using inappropriate names, colors, and locations for certain functions also violate these principles. Lastly, there is a lack of information provided for â€œease of navigation,â€? which will likely be ignored by most users. The UNFCU.org website has clear drawbacks which can be improved upon based on this usability evaluation.