Revista Latina

Referees' reports - 2010

Revision Report - Article: 03 (2010) “Heuristic Evaluation of Optical and Optometry Franchise Websites”

The article shows the results of a research carried out to analyze franchise websites in the Optics and Optometry sector, one of the so-called “grown-up” sectors in the market because of its stability  in terms of time and its contribution to Economy.

By means of heuristic evaluation, the authors perform the diagnosis of usability in the studied websites and their usefulness for the users.

The article introduces the relationship between the franchise sector and Communication and Information Technologies, highlighting the importance of the Internet in the contact with the different publics. Apart from taking into account the communicative concepts, the article sets the economical aspect of the franchise.

It presents the concept of communication that can be applied as a model of reference in a system of franchise and it explains clearly what heuristic evaluation is, its purpose and use in this kind of study.

We are dealing with a descriptive research which analyzes seven of the main web pages in the sector in Spain.

Through the application of a series of indicators, the authors come to the conclusion that the web resource potential is totally misused and that it does not fulfill the requirements to reach the public and make it participate in a more direct way with the franchises.

In fact, it is a study which brings a useful and update vision to this type of entities in a traditionally very conservative sector when addressing the public.

The bibliography is complete and rich as far as the different topics of study the research focuses, namely franchises and heuristic evaluation.

Charts make the reading easier and the writing is clear in all its sections. Its publication is therefore recommended.– Patricia Castellanos Pineda PhD - Science Diffusion Observatory  (ODC) - University Autonoma of Barcelona.

The main aim in the analyzed article is to determine the degree of quality in the websites of Optical and Optometry franchises from the point of view of their interactivity and usability. To get this, the heuristic evaluation is applied in which a group of experts analyze and assess each one of the elements of an interface from a series of preestablished principles commonly accepted.

Bearing this goal in mind and applying a coherent and organized methodology, different concepts are explained in the research which have been based on an important bibliographical reference. The analysis definition used in the study also relies upon important documental sources. The used methodology is clearly specified and the different steps and indicators present in the study are subsequently described in full detail.

In this research, the heuristic principles used arise from Jacob Nielsen’s proposal, an approach which let us reduce the long lists by former studies to this method which provides ten general agreements later developed by authors such as Keith Instone, who adapts the specific analysis to the  world wide web.

After the analysis provided by the research team, most of the study refers to a chart in which the total scores obtained by the different websites are gathered and which shows the achievement of the main purpose of the study, being the starting hypothesis  therefore proved: the bad quality of the websites in the Optical and Optometry sector as far as contents, design and services offered.

Consequently,  the publication of this article is highly recommended. Besides, several aspects must be highlighted in reference to the authors of the article: since the research stresses the measure of quality in websites, which is based on the needs and levels of interaction of their users, this type of expert analysis should be complemented with tests from the users in their objective publics; in this case, customers and franchisees should offer their own evaluation.

Furthermore, I would suggest the specification of the characteristics from expert evaluators since, as it is shown in some studies, this aspect must be taken into account when selecting a team and it affects the final results of the research. A final suggestion: without forgetting the users as the main determining factor of the analysis and under the premise of going further from simple corporate catalogues, the users’ queries and needs should be crucial when evaluating web portals from companies.– Zulima Iglesias PhD - Pontifical University of Salamanca.

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