Morgan and Borns: “360 Degrees of Usability”

Morgan, Michael, and Laura Borns. “360 Degrees of Usability.” Extended abstracts of the 2004 conference on Human factors and computing systems - CHI ''04. Vienna, Austria, 2004. 795. Web.



Project/Problem statement


recognition of a need for change for an item page on website.


Project 2 phases:


  1. redesign of existing page (user feedback thru online surveys, live site usability testing, community feedback from target group, 3 rounds  of ''rapid iterative protoype testing'' validation usability testing in US, 3rd party quant eval and live preview page.
  2. post-launch enhancement phase to make updates after updated went live.(live site usability testing phased feature enhancements, iterative testing, validation testing, and additional focus groups in community (796)


Product perspective: improvingunderstanding of bidding concepts and process, addressing Community feedback to live site, reducing barriers to successful bidding, and reducing download time on re-bidding.


Business perspective: reduce or eliminate barriers to bidding and buying activity; reduce need for cust support.


Background/Project participants


original page existed since 1995; added to repeatedly. No logical framework. 5 member product team.


  • Usability engineers
  • interaction designes
  • product managers
  • art director
  • content manager


Project dates and duration


Oct 2002-- first phase completed within 9 mos; phase 2 at 2 month intervals.




  • required first redesign of sellers revenue-generating page on site.
  • potential community impact
  • download speed, page weight, server load


relied heavily on user data.


Solution summary


  • baseline usability tests of live site to determine key usability issues
  • online surveys
  • ''voice of the customer'' conference calls
  • more online surveys
  • users given money to buy items. demonstrated bidding not as clear as it could be.


all info incorporated into redesign phase of project.


Live preview much more appealing to users, provided actual usage metrics.


Solution details


user data compiled from cust support, surveys, and eBay community chat boards. User community helped with design decisions. Tested in as real of an environment as possible.


Observable positive changes in bidding, buying, business metrics. Phase 2 planned in advance to ''tweak.''




both sites (original and redesign) maintained on site concurrently for 2 months (801). Improvements in community reaction, fewer c/s questions, increase in bid conversion metrics.


The ''long term'' look-- fom conception to post launch; invaluable, repeatable, useful approach.