Client Stories

Usability Evaluation and User Experience Study of a Data-Intensive Biological Computation Web Application at the Life Sciences Center at Mizzou (SoyKB, KB Commons)

Time Frame:

Fall 2019


  • Expert review
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Single-Ease Question (SEQ)
  • Survey
  • SUS
  • Task-based usability test
  • Think-aloud
Dr. Prasad Calyam at College of Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia

To conduct a user experience study including a task-based usability methods with users to understand their experience and usage patterns with the application; evaluating the efficiency and robustness of the application.

IE lab was provided with an early prototype of the web application. The study was conducted in two phases. First, the IE Lab conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with five users to understand their experiences and challenges with existing process of genome big-data analysis. Second, the IE lab conducted a usability evaluation of the prototype with seven participants using Morae software. The usability session comprised of a) task-based usability test with Think Aloud, SEQ survey and user observation, b) SUS Survey and c) follow-up reflective questions. Based on the findings and expert review, IE lab provided a usability report and design recommendations to the client to improve the next iterations of the application.


Overall, participants were able to complete the tasks but with difficulty.

  • The result of the task completion rating showed that participants were able to complete 87% of the tasks with ease, which means the difficulty level is between neutral to easy.
  • While the average time taken by the participants per task was 2 minutes and 34 seconds, the maximum time taken was 5 minutes and 13 seconds, and minimum was 1 minute and 11 seconds.
  • With an average SUS score of 58.2, the usability of the application can be interpreted as of “marginal” acceptability. It means participants were not satisfied with the application, and the system is considered as not user-friendly and not usable.

Further Information:
Lee, Y.M., Singh, K., Li, S., & Jahnke, I. (2019). Usability Evaluation of a Biological Computational Application System. University of Missouri-Columbia: Information Experience Lab.