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ViDLog: Understanding Website Usability through Log File Reanimation

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Title: ViDLog: Understanding Website Usability through Log File Reanimation
Author: Menezes, Chris
Department: School of Computer Science
Program: Computer Science
Advisor: Nonnecke, Blair
Abstract: Webserver logfiles are an inexpensive, automatically captured text-based recording of user interactions with a website. In this thesis, a tool, ViDLog, was created to take logfiles and reanimate a user session with the purpose of gaining usability insights. To evaluate the effectiveness and value of reanimating user sessions, 10 usability professionals viewed logfile-recorded website usage using ViDLog and were then asked to infer users’ goals, strategies, successes or failures, and proficiencies; and afterwards, rate, ViDLog across multiple dimensions. ViDLog’s logfile reanimation proved successful for gaining usability insights; usability professionals were able to infer users’ goals, strategies, successes or failures, and proficiencies. Participants were able to do this without ViDLog training, without familiarity of the website being evaluated (Orlando), and without domain knowledge of the subject depicted in the user sessions (women’s literature). However, they were only able to infer users’ overarching goal, not specific goal criteria; and were only able to determine relative proficiencies after viewing both user sessions. They also expended a good deal of mental effort when comprehending ambiguous user sessions, and found inefficiencies in ViDLog’s user interface.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3923
Date: 2012-07


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