What is evaluation? Evaluation is an integral part of the design process, where for example a system is evaluated throughly. Evaluation focuses on both the usability of the system and the users experience when interacting. The reason behind evaluations is plain and simple to enhance the system and have a further understanding of how users or potential users perceive the design. There is four pillars which keeps the evaluation roof steady, the why,what,where and when. "Why evaluate?",
"What to evaluate?", "Where to evaluate" and "When to evaluate?". There is no need to go in depth of these four pillars as the title is pretty much self explanatory. However there is also three broad categories of evaluation, which depends on the setting, user involvement and level of control.
1. Controlled settings involving users: The users activities are controlled and measured/observed to test hypotheses.The main method are usability testing and experiments.
2. Natural settings involving users: Unlike controlled setting the user is not restricted or controlled here, the user is free to do as he/she pleases. The main method is usually field studies.
3. Any settings not involving users: Since there is no users in this method the researchers predict,critique and model aspects of the interface to identify the obvious usability problems. There is a lot of methods, for example inspections, heuristics and walkthroughs to name a few.
What is Heuristics and Walkthroughs? It is inspection methods carried out by experts role-playing the users, meaning that no users has to be present.
Heuristics: Experts role-playing as users evaluates the user-interface elements guided by a set of usability principles known as heuristics.
Walkthroughs: Just as the name suggest, walkthroughs are basically a method where developers walk through the design noting the problematic usability features
Question: What is the most effective evaluation method, with or without users?