Empirically proven Layout Decisions with the Help of Usability Tests
Usability issue: Which presentation variant is the most suitable one?
What is the most suitable presentation and combination of different pieces of information? This question arises on the one hand when systems are developed with varying options for presenting the contents; on the other hand, this is also an issue when a migration is due or when an integrated overall solution is to be created from various systems. Larger monitors with higher resolutions also offer more freedom regarding the arrangement of information. Considering usability and the speed of cognitive processing, one important issue is, for example, whether information should be presented in one or two columns. This is not only a challenge faced by web designers, but also by all large IT service companies, such as Finanz Informatik, the IT service provider of the Sparkassen Financial Group, whose total banking solution OSPlus is already being used Germany-wide by more than 185,000 employees.
Study design. Evaluation. Statistically verifiable results.
Fraunhofer IESE designed a usability test whose empirical and statistically verifiable results serve to clarify usability and user experience issues – in this particular case regarding the optimal arrangement of information within OSPlus. In the study, an objective eye-tracking process was used instead of observation. This process tracks and records a user’s eye movements on the monitor. This makes it possible to accurately detect weak spots in the design and in the interaction. 50 study participants with and without knowledge of the system took part in the study. 40 participants formed a neutral group. This allows achieving results that are independent of both prior experiences of a general kind as well as experiences with specific systems of Finanz Informatik. Both subjective data and objective eye tracker data were collected and evaluated. The analysis of the empirically elicited data showed a clear result. This enabled us to make concrete recommendations regarding the structuring of information, which also became part of the company-internal style guide.