University Libraries & Learning Sciences Faculty and Staff Publications

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



Designing online learning environments poses many challenges. One critical issue is the design of appropriate user interfaces so that the interface does not become a barrier to the learning process. The interface of a web site may be described as the sum of the visible (and/or audible) elements which convey to a user what functions and resources are available at the site and provide access to, or control over, those functions and resources. The interface is a key element of usability, where usability means the ease or difficulty with which the user can complete the intended tasks. Following a brief discussion of the context in which instructional web site evaluation has evolved, this paper will discuss four techniques the authors have found useful. These are use of a heuristic during the design process, use of target participant interviews, use of a participant response form, and usability testing.


Open University of Hong Kong Press

Publication Title

Distance Education and Technology: Issues and Practice

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Last Page


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Interface design, online learning environments


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