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Table 7 Usability evaluation guidelines for academic websites

From: Qualitative usability feature selection with ranking: a novel approach for ranking the identified usability problematic attributes for academic websites using data-mining techniques

Category ISO 9241-151 guidelines [23, 24] Other heuristic guidelines
Content organization 1. Keeping the content up to date
2. Making the date of the last update available
3. Enabling communication with the site owner
4. Accepting online user feedback
5. Multi-language: Does the website contain multilanguage support?
6. Scope: Is multi-language option available in different parts/pages of the website?
7. News comprehensibility: Are updated news kept on the prominent place on the website with reachable links, clear news headlines and with summarized content?
8. Contact data: Does the website offer easy access to require details like contact nos., email address, postal address etc. of the university?
Design process and evaluation 1. Analyzing the target user groups and their goals
2. Appropriateness of content for the target group and tasks
3. Completeness of content
4. Text design: Does the website provide simple design text? Is there sufficient contrast between text and background?
5. Liquid design: Does the website use the liquid design? Does the website flow effortlessly into given space either on the desktop or mobile devices?
6. Color design: Does the user observe uniform color distribution on most of the website’s pages?
7. Labeled images: When the mouse is moved over the image, does the title of the image appear?
8. Animated components: Does the website contain animated components?
9. Compatible for the visually impaired person: Is the website accessible for physically disabled persons?
Navigation 1. Showing users where they are
2. Consistency between overview and content
3. Subdividing long pages
4. Providing a site map
5. Organising the navigation in a meaningful manner
6. Mobile navigation: Does the website support exact navigation of desktop version on mobile devices?
7. Access to homepage: Does the homepage of website always accessible from any navigational level?
Search 1. Availability of search
2. Ordering of search results
3. Relevance-based ranking of search results
4. Descriptiveness of results
5. Provide a simple search facility
6. Scope of a search
7. Advanced search
8. Full-text search
9. Error-tolerant search
10. Giving suggestions for unsuccessful searches
11. Desired search results: Does the user obtain desired search results?
12. Search time: Does the user find search results quickly?
13. Image and video based search: Does the website support images and videos based search feature?
Links 1. Distinguishing links from each other
2. Distinguishing navigation links from action links
3. Dead links
4. Identification of links
5. Using descriptive link labels
6. Redundant links
7. Highlighting previously visited links
8. Link length
Headings, titles, and labels 1. Placing title information consistently
2. General page information
Scrolling and paging 1. Avoiding horizontal scrolling  
Page layout 1. Quantity of text per information unit/page
2. Using frames with care
3. Avoiding scrolling for important information
4. Consistent page layout
5. Use of “white space”
6. Making content fit the expected size of the display area
The home page 1. Recognizing the purpose of a web application
2. Directly accessing relevant information from home page
3. Linking back to the home page
4. Informative home page
5. Avoiding unnecessary start (splash) screens
6. Recognizing new content
Accessibility 1. Making web user interfaces accessible
2. Providing alternative text presentations
3. Providing alternatives to frame-based presentation
Optimizing the user experience 1. Avoiding opening unnecessary windows
2. Printable pages
3. Providing printable document versions
4. Acceptable download times
5. Providing help
6. Error pages
7. Naming of URLs
Graphics, images, and multimedia 1. Identifying the site and its owner
2. Choice of suitable media
3. Selecting appropriate media objects
4. Identifying all pages of a site
5. Writing style
6. Readability of text
7. Supporting text skimming
Internationalization 1. Showing relevant location information
2. Making supported languages identifying
Mobile   1. Font size legibility: Is website’s text readable on mobile devices?
2. Touchscreen readiness: Are website’s menu/links/buttons perfectly large enough to be easily readable and tapped on mobile devices?
3. Mobile compatibility: Does website require any plug-in or embedded object to load on mobile devices?
4. Mobile viewport: Does website content fits within the specified viewport size of the mobile device?
5. Load time: Does website quickly load in the mobile device?
6. Device independent: Does website load perfectly in multiple devices?
7. Search option: Does website provide search option on mobile devices?
Security   1. SSL secure: Is university website’s using SSL certificate to have a secure transaction or encrypted connection between users and website’s server?
2. Does the university’s website show any warning message related to malicious software etc.?
Social media   1. Media to help: Does the website contain any digital storytelling media to help the users?
2. Blog: Does the website contain a blog to engage the user and to increase online visibility?
3. Facebook page: Does the website have the Facebook page? Is University socially active on social networking sites?
4. Google+ page: Does University website contain Google+ page?
5. Twitter account: Does university’s website contain twitter’s account? Is University socially active on social networking sites?