The CIFter Project was created by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to promote the investigation and development of ways to evaluate and benchmark methodologies for assessing the usability of websites. CIFter is a compound acronym. The CIF is the Common Industry Format for reporting the results of usability studies with users. The "ter" refers to the "test, evaluation, and report" process.
There are two goals for the project. The first goal is to identify web usability practices that are efficient, economical, and effective. This will be achieved by having a number of usability evaluation groups perform evaluations of test website found on this CIFter CD. The data will be reported using the CIF. This evaluation data will be compared, contrasted, and analyzed to produce a set of evaluations for the website. The second goal is to use the results of the evaluations to create a benchmark against which other, future evaluations of this CIFter test website can be compared. The hypothesis is that this can be used for training usability evaluation specialists as well as comparing effectiveness of different methodologies.
The CIFter CD collection was created in collaboration with Wayne Gray of George Mason University and The Motley Fool. The CIFter test website is a frozen-in-time version of The Motley Fool website. Participant evaluators have volunteered to evaluate the site according to the instructions on this CD. The original letter of invitation can be found on this CD. Briefly, you are being asked to conduct a summative evaluation of The Motley Fool website by using the specially constructed extract included on this CD. Your testing methodology and the results of your test are to be reported using the Common Industry Format (CIF). Your results will be analyzed along with those of other evaluation teams to:
The full contents of the CD with a brief description of each item can be found in CD_contents.html
The following table shows the legal combinations of components for performing an evaluation of The Motley Fool website.
|Common Industry Format (CIF)
|JWANDS delay server
After browsing the above documentation, decide which of the Methods you would like to use for your evaluation. Follow the appropriate set of instructions given below:
For late-breaking info, consult http://www.nist.gov/cifter.
The production of the collection has only been possible because of the contributions and dedication of our collaborators. Thanks to The Motley Fool team for undertaking this time-consuming tasks of preparing their site, getting permission from their sponsors, developing the task set. It was our pleasure to work with so many of the Fools!
Professor Wayne Gray was a key contributor to this collection. In addition to his infectious enthusiasm, he brought terrific problem-solving skills to the table. We are grateful to his students, Jeni Paluska and Anthony Harrison, for evaluating an early version of the site and for their helpful suggestions.
Thanks also to Professor Andrew Sears for sharing his Wands tool and supporting data.
This CD and the NIST Web Metrics software tools are part of a research product developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code this project's materials are not subject to copyright protection and are in the public domain.
The CIFter project is an experimental system. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.
If your organization has a presence on the web and would be willing to share your website's usability problems with the general public in future benchmark developments, feel free to contact us at cifter [at] nist.gov ( cifter[at]nist[dot]gov).
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