Designingand Evaluating a Self-Help Website to Reduce Teen Alcoho
Thequestionnaires were administered to the continuing and fresh collegestudents. The sample size comprised of 300 students. The College LifeAlcohol Salience Scale (CLASS) was used. The procedures used in datacollection were used in a way to enhance the ecological validity.Class was administered to three student samples with the total numberof students being 300 (N=300).
Testinga website design is critical to ensure that whatever is produce isimportant. This requires establishment of appropriate techniques thattest usability, design and aesthetic. Having a series of designmethodologies may be wrong without checking the subject of theresearch design. Among the most fundamental principles of headscape’sdesign is the design using data.
Designis subjective and can often result into argument between the studentsand the researcher on the best approach that the research shouldtake. This can only be resolved through testing. Focusing on the usershifts the argument from the requirements of the design to what theuser wants. Normal route for resolving such problems is by focusingon user requirements rather than what the researcher wants.Nevertheless, often, this shifts the argument on what the designshould appear to what the user want. This is only resolved throughtesting.
Testingthe usability of a site is easy. This can be tested through questionsto determine the content that best suits the users. In this case, 300respondents over 18 years of age were asked to give their responseson statements provided based on Likert scale. The results are aspresented below.
Thecharacteristics of the client responses
Fifteenstatements were administered to the respondents. The students were torate their level of agreement/disagreement to the statement given.
Parties with alcohol are an integral part of college life.
To become drunk is a college rite of passage
I would prefer it if my college was not considered a party school.
The reward at the end of a hard week of studying should be a weekend of heavy drinking.
I think that the students who do not go out to parties or bars are not enjoying their college experience.
Missing class due to a hangover is part of being a true college student.
A college party is not a true college party without alcohol.
Alcohol is not an important aspect of college life.
Attending parties with alcohol is the easiest way to make friends.
Drinking alcohol is a social event in which every college student partakes
The5-point Likert scale was used. This ranged from strongly disagree(SD) to strongly agree (SA). The maximum level, 5, indicated thatstrongly agree while the minimum level depicts the strongly agree.The mean of more than three is an indication that the respondents hada high level agreement to the statement posed while a mean of lessthan three depicted that the statement posed was to some extent notagreeable.
Partieswith alcohol are an integral part of college life
Studentswere to give their level of agreement on whether the parties withalcohol are a part of their college life. The responses on bases ofrating, frequency, percent and cumulative percent is (SD=5, D=35,N=10, A=40, SA=210). This is an implication that parties with alcoholin colleges are considered as an integral part of the college life.
Tobecome drunk is a college rite of passage
Thisstatement sought an answer to whether drinking is considered are arite of passage for college life. A rite of passage depicts somethingwhich is very critical for one to be considered to have passedthrough college. The results obtained are (SD=50, D=95, N=10, A=95,SA=50). From these results, it appears that half of the studentsbelieve that for one to be considered to have gone through collegelife, alcohol should come into place while on the other hand, half ofthe students were opposed to the alcohol being a rite of passage incollege life.
Iwould prefer it if my college was not considered a party school
Inthis statement, the researcher sought to determine whether thestudents were opposed to parties in school. In this case, it would beeasier to design the website based on their level of agreement. Theresults are (SD=100, D=150, N=10, A=29, SA=11). A higher SD and Dimplied that most students disagreed that parties should be scrappedoff. Therefore, this is an implication that the website would beinstrumental to offer guidance to students on the need to controlthemselves in those parties and how to conduct themselves in case ofalcohol instances.
Thereward at the end of a hard week of studying should be a weekend ofheavy drinking
Inthis case, the researcher sought to determine whether the studentsesteemed weekends of heavy drinking. A high level of agreement/disagreement could have been a major sign that the website wouldeither be necessary or unnecessary for students to curb underagedrinking. The results obtained are (SD=46, D=96, N=14, SA=14 andA=45). This implied that about 47.3% (SD=15.5%, D=32%) of thestudents were opposed to this statement and 48% agreed (A=33%,SA=15%). As such, almost half of the students believed that heavydrinking on weekends was necessary while half were opposed. Thissignals the researcher the need to develop the website to change someof these mentalities. Alcohol should at not any one point beconsidered as part of enjoyment after hard week of studying.
Ithink that the students who do not go out to parties or bars are notenjoying their college experience
Thisstatement aimed at investigating the beliefs of the students onalcohol and enjoyment. Therefore, the students were to rate theiragreement to the statement on the students who do not get drunk andtheir enjoyment of college experience. The results obtained were(SD=35, D=95, N=12, A=99 and SA=59). It can therefore be seen that43.4% disagreed (SD=11.7% and D=31.7%) and 52.7% (A=33.0%, SA=19.7%)agreed that those students who do not go out to the parties do notenjoy life. A high level of agreement, 52.7% is a red signal onalcohol destructions among students. Ideally, those who do not go outto drink are supposed to be considered as morally upright and arewell aware that alcohol is destructive. Therefore, the website willbe crucial in handling the students and helping them change suchperspectives on alcohol and alcohol usage.
Missingclass due to a hangover is part of being a true college student
Amongstthe effects of alcohol hangover is missing classes. Therefore, inthis statement, the researcher sought to determine the acceptancelevel of the students for missing classes due to hangovers thatresult from drinking. The results obtained are (SD=50, D=95, N=10,A=95, SA=50). The level of agreement and disagreement is the same.This implies the need to act as fast as possible to help change thebeliefs that alcohol is part of the student life and missing classesbecause of hangovers is acceptable hence the need for the website.
Acollege party is not a true college party without alcohol
Alcoholhas considered by the students as part of the college parties. Thisprompted the researcher to seek evidence on the level of agreement bythe students of their quantification of college party in terms ofalcohol availability. The results obtained are SD=10, D=30, N=5,A=55, SA=200). This implies that only 13.3% (SD=3.3%, D=10%)disagreed with this statement while 85% (A=18.3% and SA=66.7%) agreedthat the college party should have alcohol for it to qualify to becalled a party. This implies the need for control measures that willsee a change in this attitude and belief. From a student perspective,this is okay but from a parent or teacher’s perspective, this iscompletely wrong. It is undoubtedly true that effects of alcohol incollege parties has detrimental effects since most underage studentsnormally misbehave after irresponsible drinking. Therefore, thewebsite is anticipated to play a major role in curbing this belief.
Alcoholis not an important aspect of college life
Inthis statement, the researcher’s main objective was to examinewhether alcohol is considered as an important component of thecollege life. This was to help in determine the importance of thewebsite and designing it based on the students’ responses. Theresults are (SD=58, D=82, N=16, A=106, SA=38). This shows that 46.6%(SD=19.3%, D=27.3%) disagreed with this statement while 48%(SA=12.7%, A=35.3%) agreed with the statement. From a glance, it canbe considered that almost half of the students agree that alcohol isan important aspect as they go about their college life, while theother half is opposed to alcohol being an important aspect of theircollege life. This reflects the rottenness in the colleges whereunderage drinking is considered to be part and parcel of life. Thisshould not be the case, and to handle this, proper measures should beput into place to help change this perspective amongst the students.
Attendingparties with alcohol is the easiest way to make friends
Makingfriends and alcohol usage has always been mistaken. Therefore, theresearcher wanted to determine how the students considered impacts ofalcohol when making friends. From history, students have been knownto consider making friends as a major achievement in their collegelife. However, there are those students who believe that alcoholgives them confident to approach others in the name of establishingfriendship. The results obtained for this statement are (SD=38,D=96, N=11, A=100, SA=55). This reflects a very high level ofagreement of 51.6% (A=33.3%, SA=19.3%) compared to the level ofdisagreement of 44.7% (SD=12.6%, D=32%). This implies that moststudents believe that alcohol is necessary in their making of newfriends. This is contrary to the expectations where students areencouraged to engage in proper manner, especially when making newfriends. It was once said that ‘show me your friends and I tell youyour character’ hence making of friends through the influence ofalcohol implies that even the friends made are most likely to bedrunkards. This means that proper measures should be put into placeto control such behaviors, and website development with the materialsand resources regarding the same will be of great benefit.
Drinkingalcohol is a social event in which every college student partakes
Alcoholhas been highly esteemed amongst students. One of the major belief isthat alcohol is a social event where every students is required topartake. The researcher sought to determine the level of agreement bystudents of this statement. The results obtained are (SD=42, D=100,N=11, A=96, SA=51). This shows that the level of disagreement was47.3% (SD=14.0%, D=33.3%) while the level of agreement was 49%(SA=17.0%, A=32%). It can be observed that the level ofagreement/disagreement is more or less the same meaning that almosthalf of the students believe that alcohol is necessary and should betaken by every students while other the other half is opposed to thisbelief. This implies the need to put some control measures to ensurethat those who are yet not into alcohol are protected from gettinginto it and those who are into it can be assisted to come out of it.The website presents a powerful tool for this assignment.
Collegeis a time for experimentation with alcohol
Inmost cases, college students are previously, before they joincollege, not allowed to engage in drinking. Therefore, many of thesestudents tend to consider college as a place of experimentation withalcohol. This is mostly because most of them have all the freedom toact on their own without the influence of their school teachers,principals or even parents. The results obtained are (SD=102, D=152,N=12, A=21, SA=13). This implies that the greatest percentage of thestudents, 84.7% (SD=34.0%, D=50.7%) disagreed that college is a timeof experimentation with alcohol as opposed to 11.3% (A=7.0%, SA=4.3%)who agreed. This is quite impressive but raises many questions as towhy alcoholism is rampant despite the fact that many people areopposed to the college providing ample time to engage in alcoholism.Therefore, a website with relevant resources is critical to enablestudents air some of their views regarding the reasons why theyengage in alcoholism and help them handle such issues.
Agood college party should include drinking games such as beer pong,flip cup, power hour, etc.
Theresearcher sought to determine the beliefs of the students as to whatcomposes a god college party with regards to alcohol. The results are(SD=38, D=96, N=11, A=99, SA=56). This shows that 44.7% (SD=12.7%,D=32%) disagreed with the statement while 51.7% (SA=18.7%, A=33.0%)agreed hence indicating that a higher percentage of the studentsesteem alcohol and related games in their parties so that they canenjoy. This is completely wrong as enjoyment is parties is dependenton various factors, with alcohol being of insignificant effects asfar as enjoyment in college parties is concerned. There is,therefore, need to help the students in changing these beliefs sincethey are detrimental to one’s health and also affect themacademically. The website will address all these issues to ensurethat students are mobilized on alcohol and the appropriate measuresto curb alcoholism.
Blackingout or forgetting part or all of the previous night’s events is tobe expected in college
Blackingout and forgetting the events that unfolded is a common phenomenonamongst the students, especially if they become drank. This isdangerous since it encourages the students to continue with drinkingsince they cannot ‘remember’ the things that happened when theywere drank. The results obtained for this statement are (SD=7, D=25,N=8, A=48, SA=212). This translates to 86.7% (A=16.0%, SA=70.7%)agreement as opposed to 10.6% (SD=2.3%, D=8.3%) disagreement. It can,therefore, be observed that the greatest percentage of the studentsbelieve that blacking out is expected in colleges. These results arenecessary in designing the content of the website to ensure thatstudents are educated on the need to be mindful of all that they doto avoid a repeat of the same.
Itis okay to drink in college, even if you are under age
Mostof the students in colleges are underage. Meaning they are 18 yearsand below. The researcher sought to determine the perspective of thestudents regarding underage drinking. The main aim of this statementwas to help in designing the resources to be included in the website.The results obtained are (SD=7, D=28, N=3, A=45, SA=217). This isequivalent to 85.3% (SA=72.3%, A=15.0%) agreement versus 11.6%(SD=2.3%, D=9.3%) disagreement to the statement. This implies thatmost students have accepted drinking even when underage. This isrisky as it comes with poor academic performance and irresponsibledrinking behaviors. There is, therefore, a great need to address allthe issues relating to underage drinking and change the mentality ofthe students regarding the same. This implies the need for a websiteto address these issues.
Thechance to drink and party in college is just as important as theacademic experience
Theresearcher sought to determinehow the students rate drinking in comparison to academic experience.The results obtained are (SD=10, D=30, N=6, A=54, SA=200). This isequivalent to 84.7% (A=18.0%, SA=66.7%) agreement relative to 13.3%disagreement (D=10.0%, SD=3.3%) disagreement. The level of agreementis overwhelmingly higher meaning that some measures need to be putinto place. Academic experience should not be in any way compared todrinking and partying. Academic excellence is of more importance thanany other business as far as learning and college life is concerned.
Inthis testing, 50 students, out of the 300 used in usability testing(CLASS) were requested to give their responses regarding theaesthetic appeal of the web site. Though the questions were moresubjective, they were critical as far as web design and aestheticappeal are involved. In this case, 8 questions were administered andtheir responses are as shown below.
Isthe site’s design aesthetically appealing?
Inthis question, the researcher wanted to determine whether the color,images, text fonts and presentation are appealing to the users. Theusers were to answer either YES or NO. Their responses are as shownbelow
Fromthe responses, it can be observed that the color was not so muchappeal to the users (No=35, Yes=15). The test on use of imagesshowed that this was wanting (Yes=10, No=40). The use of text fontscan be considered to be almost perfect (Yes=49, No=1). Thepresentation was considered to be excellent with (Yes=45, No=5).
Therefore,it is critical for the researcher to improve the design by ensuringthat more appealing colors are incorporated, especially because teenswill be the main users. Color attracts the users and creates a desireto read whatever content is presented therewith. Also, use of imagesneeds more improvement. Nevertheless, the presentation and text fontsused were excellent.
Doesthe menu have the right tabs?
Inthis question, the researcher wanted to determine whether the websitedesigned had the right tabs. The students were required to give theirresponses of yes or no whether they needed something to be added,remove what was unnecessary or make any changes to what was alreadythere. Their responses are as shown in the figure below. The questionon any changes had the responses as (No=40, Yes=10), anythingunnecessary (No=50, Yes=0), anything added (Yes=25, No=25).
Itcan be perceived from the responses that that there is still someusers who feel that something need to be changed and added. It wasclear that many students felt that maybe tabs should be addedcontaining information on the people who may be contacted for furtheradvice or help. Despite the fact that the website is self-help innature, alcoholism is such a sensitive issue that may require justtalking to a person to get healing. Nevertheless, the students feltthat everything that was there was critical.
Doesthe navigation make sense?
Theresearcher aimed at determining the effectiveness of the navigationthrough the website. The responses are as shown below. These are:anything added (Yes=7, No=43), unnecessary (Yes=1, No=49), changed(Yes=2, No=48).
Fromthe results, it is evident that there are things that should be addedin navigation but not necessarily removed or changed.
Isthe writing style appropriate?
Inthis question, the researcher wanted to determine the appropriatenessof the writing style used. The results are: the rate at which it canbe understood (Yes=47, No=3), the appropriateness of writing styles,choice of words and tone (Yes=49, No=1). These are presented in thefigure below.
Fromthe results, it can be observed that the writing style, choice ofwords and tone are okay and it is understandable. This is quiteimpressive since the teens should be able to understand the websitewith associated resources.
Isthe information appropriate?
Theresearcher wanted to determine whether the information contained inthe website was appropriate. Therefore, she asked the students togive their responses on appropriateness of the information containedin the website. The results are as shown below: anything changed(Yes=1, No=49), unnecessary (Yes=4, No=46), added (Yes=3, No=47).
Fromthe results, it can be observed that very few individuals felt thatthe information contained in the website needed to be changed,removed as it was unnecessary and added. Therefore, it can beconcluded that majority of the students felt that the informationcontained there-in was very appropriate.
Arethe links and other resources helpful?
Inthis question, the researcher aimed at determining whether the linksand resources used were resourceful in terms of content. The resultsare as shown below: anything changed (Yes=2, No=48), unnecessary(Yes=5, No=45), added (Yes=7, No=43).
Theresults in the figure above implies that the links and the resourceswere helpful though there was need to do some additions and mayberemove some sections that were observed as unnecessary. Howdo you think teenagers and older adolescents will react to thewebsite content?
Thisquestion sounded subjective as every respondent was to give his/herreaction on how the adolescents will tend to react to the contentpresented in the website. From the analysis of the responses, thevariation in the responses was minimal with many of them pointing tothe same thing “they will like it since it appears helpful withwide range of resources and detailed content on how to controloneself in case of addiction, for the normal drinkers and those whohave not yet gotten into alcoholism”.
Whatelse would you like to see on this site?
Inthis question, the researcher required to understand what need to beincluded in the website apart from that which is there. Manyrespondents have different views on what else they needed to see onthe site. Some of the main recommendations include the inclusion ofcase studies of adolescents and teens who have succumbed under theinfluence of alcohol, improvement of the coloring, may be to includesome warmer colors rather than the plain white that is currentlythere, information/links to the contact persons such as churches,NGOs and any other institution that is directly involved in dealingwith alcoholism cases,
Fromthe analysis above on Likert scale, the researcher was able todetermine the kind of the content or resources that will be mostcritical for teenagers. From the results presented, it is clear thatteenagers have different perspectives regarding alcoholism andacademics, friendship establishment and partying. Therefore, it isfrom this that the researcher can be able to design the website andchoose the most appropriate content to be included. Any issue thatreceived a high level of agreement or disagreement, such asalcoholism being part of the academics, should receive highestpriority even as the designer designs the website.
Aftertesting the usability, the researcher sought to determine theresponse on aesthetics. This entailed testing of the best colors,styling and typology amongst others. This aimed at ensuring that thedesign communicated the right personality and feel to the users. Thisinvolved asking the users what they think should have been includedand is currently missing in the current website. This is because itis not just enough to show the users a design and request for theirlikes or dislikes. Asking the user whether they like it or not maynot be the best criteria to judge it. For instance, the students maynot like the design of the website maybe because it is too formal fortheir personal preferences but may leave them having the right feelabout the resources due to their trustworthiness and candidness inaddressing alcoholism as it should.
Regardingthe issue of brand and personality, the researcher sought todetermine whether the design presented is a reflection of whatever isrepresented therein. This required a very strong idea on thecharacteristics of the vision of the content developer. Adherence tothis will ensure that a strong feel of users’ personality isdeveloped. The list words chosen were strong enough to help intesting against. According to Paul Borg (2013), the design shouldcommunicate a passionate feeling of the researcher to the users.
Thisresearch used a snap test to evaluate the responses from the users.In snap test, the researcher focusses on getting the informationbased on the first impression. Users tend to make judgment about thesites within a blink of an eye and this should be accommodated. Anegative impression of the website triggers the users to look at thesite more critically on basis of usability and content. The siteshould therefore have a good initial impression.
Snaptest is simply as it sounds. The users get to see the design for afew minutes and then give their reactions. Due to limited time, mostusers tend to struggle in their judgment of the design. Hence theneed to choose the keywords very wisely. Nevertheless, it is possibleto determine their reaction of whatever they see from their reaction.From the 300 sample size used to determine the content, in testingthe aesthetics, 50 respondents were used.
Aestheticsmatters so much just like the usability and content. Therefore, itwas critical to ensure that the content developed and the designfocused on the user requirements. This calls for a user centricapproach that emphasizes on user testing and rightly so. When a siteis incredibly usable but totally unforgettable, the originalintentions of the researcher and the designer may be lost. Thiscreates the need to test the content and aesthetics.
Addison,C. (2000). Webwatch: Promoting Your Website. InformationDevelopment16 (3), 32-34.
Albert,B, Tom, T., and Donna, T. (2010). Beyondthe Usability Lab: Conducting Large-scale Online User ExperienceStudies.Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann.
McCracken,D. D. and Wolfe, R. J. (2004). User-centeredWebsite Development: A Human-computer Interaction Approach.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Sisson,S. D., Felicia, H. and David, L. (2010). How to Improve MedicalEducation Website Design. BMCMedical Education10 (1), 30.