usability-lfcycle - The Usabilitv Engineering Life Cycle d...

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A usability engineering The Usabilitv d Engineering Life Cycle Jakob Nielsen, Bellcore omputer user interfaces have become more important with the increase in number of users and applications. The personal-computer revolution C and falling hardware prices made computers available to ever broader groups of people who use computers for a larger variety of tasks. Initially, when computers were used by only a few people performing specialized tasks, it made some sense to require a high degree of user expertise. Also, because computers were so expensive, it was not unreasonable to let users suffer a little in favor of computational efficiency. Now. however, it pays to dedicate a large portion of computational resources - CPU cycles. memory use. communication bandwidth, screen space, and development effort - exclusively to making life easier for the user. Users are becoming less willing to put up with difficult or uncomfortable interfaces since experience with some current interfaces has shown them that software can indeed be easy to learn and pleasant to use. In an unpublished study from 1990, Tim Frank Andersen of the Technical University of Denmark read 70 reviews of software products in various personal computer magazines and counted 784 comments on the usability of the reviewed software. This is an average of 11.2 usability comments per software review. Many of these comments were fairly superficial. but their sheer number indicates the importance of usability to today's users. High usability is thus desirable. but it does not magically appear just because we want it. To ensure the usability of interactive computer products, we must actively include usability concerns in the software development process. Of course, nobody deliberately sets out to design an unusable interface, but only a systematic usability effort using established methods can qualify as usability engineering. Good inten- tions are not enough. This article presents a practical usability engineering process that can easily be incorporated into the product dcvclopment process as steps to be taken in roughly chronological order. Because the article considers the life cycle, several of the COMPUTER 001X-916?/~?/0100~001?S0i 00 t 1992 IEEE
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steps are iterative and some may over- lap. The actions needed to ensure us- ability form the usability process. The model presented should therefore be seen as advice about what to include in the design and implementation process. In this context. I am not giving advice about the properties of the product of this process. Many such guidelines ex- ist, and studying and applying selected guidelines is one of the recommended steps. Usability engineering model The model presented here is a modi- fied and extended version of Gould and Lewis’ “golden rules”: early focus on users, user participation in the design, coordination of the different parts of the user interface. empirical user test- ing, and iterative revision of designs based on the test results.’ Further inspi- ration and modifications came from work on usability engineering.’
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This note was uploaded on 10/07/2009 for the course ENSC 12517 taught by Professor Evangraham during the Spring '08 term at Simon Fraser.

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usability-lfcycle - The Usabilitv Engineering Life Cycle d...

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