Evaluation of the usability of the virtual learning spaces game user interface.
This thesis reports on a usability study conducted on the Virtual Learning Spaces (VLS) computerbased educational adventure game. The aim of the game is to improve the acquisition of knowledge through play in an interactive, entertaining and intrinsically motivating computer-based environment. The objective of this study centred on assessing the quality of the VLS game user interface, and determining faults and problems that may hinder implementation Literature on usability of virtual reality educational game systems and related phenomenon of usability of other types of computer application systems was reviewed, including, to a lesser extent, literature on usability of web pages. The major issues of interest included, usability issues concerning principles of good user interface design, factors that influence how a user interface promotes user satisfaction and the objectives of playing the game, from player, game and the game as medium of learning perspectives. These principles provided a set of usability requirements for the VLS game user interface on which the evaluation was based. A series of data collection methods comprising a cognitive walk through, heuristic evaluation, usability testing and post-test questionnaire, were used in this study. Despite some usability problems, results indicate that the VLS user interface design conformed, extensively, to the principles of good user interface design in appearance, interaction and user help. It was also found to be engaging, comprehensible and unbiased (in terms of gender and variable computer skills).