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Funmi Adebesin, PhD Candidate

Qualifications

  • BSc Computer Science and Information Systems, 2007, UNISA [Cum Laude]
  • BSc Honours, Information Systems, 2009, UNISA [Cum Laude]
  • MSc Information Systems, 2011, UNISA [Cum Laude]

Career Progression

  • PhD Studentship, CSIR Meraka Institute, South Africa (Current)
  • MSc Studentship, Meraka Institute, CSIR, South Africa (March 2009 - March 2011)
  • Postgraduate Student Assistant, School of Computing UNISA, South Africa (June 2007 - February 2009)

Publications

Journal Publications

Funmi Adebesin, Paula Kotze. 2012 The Design of Application-Specific Heuristics for the Usability Evaluation of the Digital Doorway. South African Computer Journal, Vol 48, June 2012, p.9-30.

The Digital Doorway (DD) is a joint initiative between the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The DD is a non-standard computer system deployed amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa with the objective to promote computer literacy. Since its inception, there has been no usability or accessibility evaluation of the software installed on the DD, mainly due to lack of usability engineering or interaction design expertise within the development team. The goal of the research presented in this paper was to design a solution to this problem by developing a suitable instrument that could guide DD application developers in the design and development of more usable DD software and interfaces. Design research was used as a research methodology. We first investigated the applicability of the standard usability and accessibility evaluation methods for evaluating the software installed on the DD. During the first cycle of design research, we established that a heuristic-like evaluation method would be an appropriate method for evaluating the usability and direct accessibility support provided by the DD. During a second cycle of design research, embedded in the first, we also developed a set of multi-category heuristics as the ‘instrument’ that could guide the developers during design of applications as well as in the first-level (formative) evaluation thereof. To verify the heuristics, we conducted a usability evaluation of the DD and triangulated the results with a direct field observation at a natural environment of DD use, together with user-administered questionnaires.

Masters Dissertation

Adebesin, T.F. 2011. Usability and Accessibility Evaluation of the Digital Doorway. School of Computing, UNISA.

The Digital Doorway (DD) is a non-standard computer system deployed to promote computer literacy amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa. Since its inception there has been no usability evaluation of the software installed on the DD. This study investigated the applicability of standard usability and accessibility evaluation methods to evaluate the software installed on the DD. It involved two cycles of design research phases to develop a set of multi-category heuristics for evaluating a selection of interfaces and applications installed on the DD. The heuristic evaluation method was found to be an appropriate method for evaluating the usability of the software as well as the direct accessibility support provided on the DD. As a triangulation exercise the heuristic evaluation was complemented with direct field observation and questionnaires. The study also confirmed the complementary role of using a combination of evaluation methods. The dissertation is available here.

Conference Publications

Adebesin, F; Kotze, P; Gelderblom, H. 2011. Design research as a framework to evaluate the usability and accessibility of the Digital Doorway. Proceedings of the 2011 Design, Development and Reseach Conference, edited by Eddie Appiah, Nhlanhla Mlitwa and Dzigbordi Anyomi, p. 306 - 323, ISBN: 978-0-620-52128-4.

The usability and accessibility of interactive system interfaces, as well as their evaluation constitutes important focus areas of human-computer interaction (HCI). One of the families of evaluation methods that can be used to assess the usability and accessibility of a given interface is the heuristic evaluation method. Heuristic evaluation can be conducted by applying general purpose heuristics or through heuristics that are specifically developed for the given interface. Developing specific heuristics hardly ever involves the use of a sound and recognized research methodology. Design research is increasingly being used as a theoretical and methodological framework for information systems research in general, and HCI research in particular. Design research is a problem-solving approach, involving the creation of artefacts through a rigorous process of design-evaluate-redesign. In a novel approach, we first utilized the design research paradigm in the development of application-specific heuristics, and then also to evaluate the usability and direct accessibility support provided by the Digital Doorway, a non-standard computer system deployed amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa with the aim of promoting computer literacy. This paper discusses the approach we followed. Another version of the paper is available here .

 

Adebesin, F; Kotze, P; Gelderblom, H. 2010. The complementary role of two evaluation methods in the usability and accessibility evaluation of a non-standard system. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 1 - 11, ISBN: 978-1-60558-950-3.

The paper received the ' Best Paper by a Masters Student Award'.

 

Adebesin, F; Kotze, P; Gelderblom, H. 2010.  The impact of usability on efforts to bridge the digital divide. Proceedings of 4th IDIA Conference 2010 Exploring Success and Failure in Development Informatics: Innovation, Research and Practice; edited by J Steyn, Monash University. ISBN: 978-0-620-47590-7.

There is growing efforts to narrow the digital divide both locally and internationally. One such effort is the Digital Doorway project driven by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Meraka Institute of Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR). It involves a non-standard computer system housed in a rugged, custom-designed kiosk. The preloaded software applications run on the Ubuntu Linux operating system, but the interface is not standard Linux. The project has mainly focused on providing physical access to computers in underprivileged communities around South Africa, without any formal usability evaluation of the software installed on the system. Our belief is that unless basic usability concerns are addressed in these types of development projects, the dream of the providing effective access may remain just that – a dream. This paper highlights the important role that usability plays in the drive towards narrowing the digital divide. We report on the outcome of a usability evaluation field study conducted on the Digital Doorway. The results suggest that there is a need for in-house usability standards to guide the various developers (in-house or external) who build applications for the Digital Doorway. A draft version of the paper is available here.

 

Adebesin, Funmi, De Villiers, Ruth; Ssemugabi, Samual. 2009. Usability Testing of e-Learning: an Approach Incorporating Co-discovery and Think-aloud.  In: Proceedings of the 2009 Annual Conference of the Southern African Computer Lecturers Association (SACLA 2009). ACM Press, p. 6 - 15, ISBN, 978-1-60558-683-0.

Computer applications developed to support learning in the cognitive domains are quite different from commercial transaction processing applications. The unique nature of such applications calls for different methods for evaluating their u ability. This paper presents the application and refinement of the framework for usability testing of interactive e-learning applications proposed by Masemola & de Villiers. In a pioneering usability testing study, we investigate the effectiveness of the think-aloud method when combined with co-discovery testing. Another version of the paper is available here.

 

Awards

  • UNISA Council Platinum Award for College of Science, Engineering and Technology (2010)
  • CSIR Meraka Institute Excellence Awards (Best Student Award 2012)

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