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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32908

Title: The Challenge of Web Design Guidelines: Investigating Issues of Awareness, Interpretation, and Efficacy
Authors: Szigeti, Stephen James
Advisor: Cherry, Joan
Department: Information Studies
Keywords: Guideline
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2012
Abstract: Guidelines focusing on web interface design allow for the dissemination of complex and multidisciplinary research to communities of practice. Motivated by the desire to better understand how research evidence canbe shared with the web design community, this dissertation investigates the role guidelines play in the design process, the attitudes designers hold regarding guidelines, and whether evidence based guidelines can be consistently interpreted by designers. Guidelines are a potential means to address the knowledge gap between research and practice, yet we do not have a clear understanding of the relationship between research evidence, guideline sets and web design practitioners. In order to better understand how design guidelines are used by designers in the practice of web interface design, four sequential studies were designed; the application of a guideline subset to a design project by 16 students, the assessment of ten health information websites by eight designers using a guideline subset, a web based survey of 116 designers, and interviews with 20 designers. The studies reveal that guideline use is dependent on the perceived trustworthiness of the guideline, its source and the alignment between guideline advice and designer experience. The first two studies found that guidelines are inconsistently interpreted. One third of the guidelines used in the second study were interpreted differently by participants, an inconsistency which represents a critical problem in guideline use. Findings showed no difference in the characteristics of guidelines which were consistently interpreted and those for which interpretation was the most inconsistent. Further, research evidence was not a factor in guideline use, less than half the designers are aware of evidence-based guideline sets, and guidelines are predominantly used as memory aids. Ultimately alternatives to guidelines, such as checklists or pattern libraries, may yield the best results in our efforts to share research knowledge with communities of practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32908
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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