UI Navigation Test Tool Documentation

Sourcefourge Project Site


This is the read me file for the project. We will build a nicer looking introductory site in a little while.

The UI Nav Test Tool is a web based application for testing the usability of labeling and structure for navigation systems. It allows a researcher to create a test comprised of one or more tasks to be performed on a proposed navigation structure. The test tool presents the tasks to a research participant and collects data as they interact with the system. A report screen presents the test results allowing for quick assessment and provides the ability to download the data for further statistical analysis to be performed.


This is a demo of the navigation test;

Please see notes about changing browser settings to capture the back button clicks below.


The UINT Tools require a system running the following applications;
Notes on Requirements
For information on installing and running the above applications consult the respective websites and the documentation. A few notes follow specific to certain operating systems.

It is highly recommended to use the Apache web server even on a Windows system. While PHP can be made to work with Microsoft's IIS web server, it sometimes can be very difficult to get to work. If the IIS/Personal web sharing server is running you will need to turn it off. If you need it to run and you intend to use Apache you will need to set the Apache to run on a different port. There are a couple of tools that will install all the above in one easy package. And for those who like pain and suffering a tutorial.

Mac OS X
Macs already have Apache and PHP installed. You can either activate those or install the XAMPP or MAMP package which will also install and set-up the MySQL database server. Xampp includes a lot of other server tools which are not needed for this application to run. You can also use Marc Liyanage's excellent precompiled PHP with all the bells and whistle modules.


The test tool is available at sourceforge.
Navigation Test Tool v0.31

Installation of Nav Test Tool

Please check that the required software noted above is installed and configured. If the required software is ready, simply follow the steps below.
  1. Unpack the navtest.zip file into the document root of your web server
  2. Using your Mysql admin tool of choice select or create the database that you will use (default is "navtest") and import the navtest.sql file found in the inclds folder.
    This will load the standard test navigation set into the database. You can make modifications to this file of you want to change the test. Alternatively you may use a MySQL admin tool to modify the content after it has been loaded.
  3. If you are setting up the server on your local system then you will also need to create the user and password for the database as well. Select "mysql" for the database to work with. then import the mysql_user.sql file into the mysql database. Follow this with a flush priveleges command.
  4. Update the processor.php file (under the inclds folder) to point to your web server, database server and to have the right user and password for the database
  5. Open a web browser and go to the following location http://[servername]/navtest/teststart.php. Replace [servername] with the name of the server to be used. For local testing that will usually be:

That's it

How to run a test

Before participants arrive set up the environment
  1. Configure browser
    It is recommended to use the FireFox browser for tests. Other browsers can be used as long as the caching can be turned off.
      For FireFox go into the preferences/options and do the following:
    1. Under the Privacy section uncheck all History options
    2. Under Advanced > Network set the Cache to 0 "zero"
    3. Click OK to keep the settings
  2. Point browser to start page. For a locally configured server that will be
  3. Now you are ready to bring in a user and start a test session
  4. To prepare for the next session simply start at the teststart.php page. No need to clear the browser cache between sessions. The test will automatically reset itself.

Creating new tests

The Nav Test comes with a test navigation preloaded. You can modify this test or load/configure a completely new test as needed.
Not ready yet. There will be an admin tool to make creating and managing tests simple to do from the browser.
Manual Test setup
Until the admin is ready, a new test nav can be setup as follows:
  1. Create a new menu using the new_menu.txt file under the resource folder
    This file is a bracket formatted file. Each menu item is on a single line, each submenu starts with a new curly bracket on a line by itself and then the first menu item on the next line. Make sure that each submenu has a closing bracket as does the whole menu.
  2. Edit then run the load menu script in the rsrc folder by loading it in a browser
    You must update the navset id to the next available number. You should update the file name on line 50 to match your file (if you did not just reuse the new_menu.txt file itself without renaming it)
    $lines = file('your_new_menu.txt');
  3. Manually create entries in the ui_tests, ui_tasks, ui_navsets tables
    Use the next available number for test id, use the id from the load script for the navset id in the tables where needed.
    To create tasks first grab the link ids for the items that you want to test from the ui_navlinks table. For tasks that start at the home/top page enter 32 "0"s in the start field (the filed will only take 32 cahracters so you can just hold down the 0 key), otherwise grab the link id of the page you want to start on from the ui_navlinks table
  4. Change the static variable test id in the teststart.php, testnav3.php, and navtest_report.php files to the new test id
That should be all that is needed. Go to the teststart.php file via your web server address in a browser and run through your test to ensure all is working as expected. Run through the test at least twice, then check the report page to make sure it is working. Enjoy!


There shall be no problems. Just kidding, consult below for getting fully set up.
You may need to alter the Appache config to make sure the directory can be viewed.
<Directory "/www">
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all 
PHP Config
Well, depending on the PHP configuration there may be errors reported. If it is the error of uninitialized variables simply change the php.ini file to suppress these messages. Find the error_reporting line and change it as follows
error_reporting  =  E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_STRICT
You will also most likely need to change the short_open_tag setting to on.
short_open_tag = on

The above should not be needed anymore, but are listed in case you have problems

Other problems may also be the result of settings that can be changed in the php.ini file. Do a google search for the error and you will typically find the setting that needs to be changed.

It is highly recommended to use the WAMP on Windows or the MAMP on Mac to set up a local testing environment. If you use Linux then you should be able to compile everything from source :-).

Browser issues
FireFox is the recommended browser to ensure that the back button clicks are logged. Other browsers may be used but may pose problems.

Internet Explorer on Vista will allow the cache to be set to no lower than 8mb. The important option to change for Internet Explorer is the "Check for newer version of stored pages:", set this to "Every time I visit the page"

Safari browser can be made to track the back click by enabling the debug menu and unsetting the "use back/forward" cache. To turn on the debug menu requires use of the terminal. Use the following command to make the debug menu appear the next time Safari is started.

defaults write com.apple.safari IncludeDebugMenu 1


Copyright 2007 James Lofton
This application and its documentation are under the terms of the GNU General Public License and the GNU Free Document License respectively.

The Navigation Test Tool is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation

Navigation Test Tool is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with Navigation Test Tool; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA