Students test Karlstad Municipality e-Services2013-05-24
How do we do when we search for information on the web, how do we navigate, and what catches our attention? Students from the IT-Design and Web and Multimedia programs are looking into these questions. The research is part of the Acquisition of course Information Systems at the Department of Information Systems and is pursued in cooperation with the municipality of Karlstad.
By logging in to the municipal test environment for e-Services, the students are able to perform various types of tests.
– The students often perform two tests, one based on individually designed test cases and one in our Ozlab, both designed to evaluate how well the e-Services work from a citizen perspective, says Marie-Therese Christiansson, course coordinator.
What is special about Ozlab is that all interaction is simulated. The technology is suitable for developing interactivity in all possible units. Here is more information about Ozlab (link).
Malin Wik, lab engineer at the Department of Information Systems at Karlstad University.
– We often make use of so-called eye tracking. Then we can see how the user’s gaze is wandering across the municipal homepage as they search for and use e-Services. The test results provide a gaze replay, a screen record showing where the user’s gaze has rested, as well as what was said during the test session. We also do a gaze plot and a ”heat map”, which through dots and colors shows how long and in what order the user looked at various points, says Malin Wik, lab engineer at the Department of Information Systems at Karlstad University.
For every test, there are designated roles that must be present: one test leader, two observers, and one user of the e-Serivce. Jonas Kanåker and Oskar Linderoth were two of the students who performed the tests.
Jonas Kanåker is testing navigation on Karlstad municipality web site.
– I thought it was interesting to find out where you actually look, and that the gaze just sweeps past certain things. With these tests, the municipality will probably see how well a webpage is laid out, if the menus are in the ”right place” and what information the user actually reads, says Jonas Kanåker.
Daniel Peterson and Oskar Linderoth are observing Jonas Kanåker as he is performing a navigation test.
– The experience gave me the chance to perform certain types of software tests. I can apply it to usability tests and even more function-based tests in my future career. What’s more, I have a collection of document templates that I can use for test purposes, Oskar Linderoth explains.
The cooperation with the municipality of Karlstad is a real booster, according to Marie-Therese Christiansson.
– With ”precise” course modules, the connection between theory and practice is more relatable to future careers, and when the students feel that they can directly contribute to development, it becomes more meaningful. The results of the students’ tests will also be part of a research study on service provider’s ability to communicate e-Services carries out at the Department of Information Systems
Per-Erik Karlsson, project manager in the municipality e-Office emphasizes that Karlstad has good experience of cooperating with the university about e-Serivces. He sees the students’ contributions as the beginning of a long-term cooperation with undergraduate student on structured testing of e-Services..
– The students’ work will be a source of valuable input for development and improvement of already established e-Services. Because the e-Office will support the implementation of e-Services in all of the county’s municipalities, their work will also be of great assistance in that process, says Per-Erik Karlsson.
Read more about other collaboration projects with the municipality of Karlstad (all in Swedish):
Smart services make smarter cities
Smart services improve service and democracy
Read more about research at the department of Information Systems and Project Management.