Computer science project discussion

Part A::: Choose one application that you do not use on a regular basis. Identify the application and analyze the help feature for sensitivity to the following:

  • Background
  • Reading level
  • Cultural background
  • Universal design
  • Cognitive load

List any advantages and disadvantages to the developer’s approach, along with recommendations for improving the design.

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Reply to two of your peer’s post. In response to your peers, extend the conversation by offering additional recommendations and suggestions.

Peer 1 Post: While I do use a wide variety of Google applications regularly, one Google application that I have never even touched on is Google Forms. Looking at what Google Forms does it is a form building tool that allows the user to create surveys, forms, and quizzes for other users. When analyzing the help feature for Google Forms it does provide a decent amount of background on the application by providing a brief tour of the different features including adding questions, picking themes, accessing settings, and viewing the responses of other users. This tour also helps to decrease the cognitive load for the user as it goes through and personally shows the user how to interact with the application through various explanations. The help feature also does a great job of providing the user information on the universal design of Google Forms as it highlights the various places that users are able to navigate to and interact with inside the application. The help feature is also very good at providing information on how to change the language for a form allowing the application to support a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and reading levels for users. Overall, the help feature for Google Forms is very detailed and easy to use for the user as it provides an entire database full of information that the user is able to search and use manually.

Peer 2 Post: The application I chose is Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/). I had never visited this site until today, and after a little searching I found a link to the help feature in the footer of the webpage. The help page has a header with a dark blue background that includes white type and contains a field where a user can type in a question, and the body of the page has links to featured “help” articles that consist of black type with a white background. Both the light text on a dark background of the header and the dark text on a light background of the body make the page easy to read. The verbiage used in the title of the help articles contain no uncommon or unfamiliar vocabulary, so the average user can easily understand each article topic. The vocabulary used in the articles allows users with an average reading level to comprehend the information. The help page has some functionality that supports users from different cultural backgrounds. Specifically, there is a language setting at the footer of the page where a user can choose from one of eight language options. However, there are very few graphics used as metaphors to represent the actions contained in the article links. Consequently, users who speak a language other than one of the eight options would have difficulty understanding the contents of the help page.

The Etsy help page does contain some elements of universal design, but there are some shortcomings. For example, other than the aforementioned ability to change languages, there are no other obvious features that support usability for users with diverse abilities. It is also not configurable to adapt to any individual preferences. That said, it is simple to use, and the functionality is easy to understand. There is also some error tolerance built into the application. For instance, if a user types in a question that does not return any results, the application displays an easily understood message the no results were found. A user’s cognitive load is reduced by the simple design of the help webpage. The layout is very similar to many help pages, so navigating the page and using its functionality will be intuitive to new users. Also, the search functionality provides auto-completion when a user’s search criteria returns a large number of results. This speeds up the search process and reduces the mental stress on a user.

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