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JUS Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809

Journal of Usability Studies 3

Editors:Avi Parush
Dates:2007/2008
Volume:3
Publisher:Usability Professionals' Association
Standard No:ISSN 1931-3357
Papers:20
Links:Journal Home Page | Table of Contents
  1. JUS 2007 Volume 3 Issue 1
  2. JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 2
  3. JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 3
  4. JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 4

JUS 2007 Volume 3 Issue 1

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
Problems and Joys of Reading Research Papers for Practitioner Purposes BIBAHTMLPDF 1-6
  Caroline Jarrett
In her editorial, Jarrett discusses reasons that practitioners read research papers and the obstacles that they face when reading research papers. Jarrett provides several examples and suggestions for improving the accessibility of research papers for practitioners. Her suggestions include writing clear titles, ensuring that the abstract states the study population and limitations of the study, and ensuring that the conclusions are written clearly. She also discusses her criteria for determining whether or not a research paper is relevant to her work.
A Structured Process for Transforming Usability Data into Usability Information BIBAHTMLPDF 7-23
  Jonathan Howarth; Terence S. Andre; Rex Hartson
Much research has been devoted to developing usability evaluation methods that are used in evaluating interaction designs. More recently, however, research has shifted away from evaluation methods and comparisons of evaluation methods to issues of how to use the raw usability data generated by these methods. Associated with this focus is the assumption that the transformation of the raw usability data into usability information is relatively straightforward. We would argue that this assumption is incorrect, especially for novice usability practitioners. In this article, we present a structured process for transforming raw usability data into usability information that is based on a new way of thinking about usability problem data. The results of a study of this structured process indicate that it helps improve the effectiveness of novice usability practitioners.
Decision Models for Comparative Usability Evaluation of Mobile Phones Using the Mobile Phone Usability Questionnaire (MPUQ) BIBAHTMLPDF 24-40
  Young Sam Ryu; Kari Babski-Reeves; Tonya L. Smith-Jackson; Maury A. Nussbaum
A comparative usability evaluation was performed using various subjective evaluation methods, including Mobile Phone Usability Questionnaire (MPUQ). Further, decision-making models using Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and multiple linear regression were developed and applied. Although the mean rankings of the four phones were not significantly different across the evaluation methods, there were variations across the methods in terms of the number of rank orderings, preference proportions, and methods to select their initial preference. Thus, this study provided a useful insight into how users make different decisions through different evaluation methods. Also, the result showed that answering a usability questionnaire affected a user's decision-making process for comparative evaluation.
Clustering for Usability Participant Selection BIBAHTMLPDF 41-53
  Juan E. Gilbert; Andrea Williams; Cheryl D. Seals
User satisfaction and usefulness are measured using usability studies that involve real customers. Given the nature of software development and delivery, having to conduct usability studies can become a costly expense in the overall budget. A major part of this expense is the participant costs. Under this condition, it is desirable to reduce the number of participants without sacrificing the quality of the experiment. If a company could use a smaller participant pool and get the same results as the entire pool; this would result in significant savings. Given a participant pool of size N, is there a subset of N that would yield the same results as the entire population? This research addresses this question using a data-mining clustering tool called Applications Quest.

JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 2

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
A Voyage to Maturing Usability BIBAHTMLPDF 53-59
  Effie Lai-Chong Law
In this article, the chief editor of the recently published book Maturing Usability: Quality in Software, Interaction and Value reports her experiences, from the very beginning when the book project was conceived to the time when the book was delivered. The two-year process was marked with different problems. It required trust, optimism, patience, and commitment of the contributors to overcome these challenges.
    The book aims to provide an understanding of how current research and practice have contributed to improving quality from the perspectives of software features, interaction experiences, and achieved value. Specifically, the Q-SIV framework addresses quality in software by looking at how using development tools can enhance usability and other qualities, and how methods and models can be integrated into the development process.
   The book addresses quality in interaction by applying theoretical frameworks on the nature of interactions and methodologies to evaluate qualities, such as usability, reliability, and pleasure; It addresses quality in value by assessing the impact that a system has in the real world, focusing on both increasing value for software development and on increasing value for users and other stakeholders. While the voyage to Maturing Usability has been anchored, other voyages to matured usability are envisioned and will likely be set sail in the near future.
A low-cost test environment for usability studies of head-mounted virtual reality systems BIBAHTMLPDF 60-73
  Ahmed Seffah; Jonathan Benn; Halima Habieb Mammar
There is a need to develop new usability testing environments and methodologies for unconventional interactive systems. Pursuant to that need, we developed a low-cost test environment for a Head-Mounted Display (HMD)-based, virtual reality system called Osmose. Osmose was difficult to test for many reasons, one of which was its style of interaction. We began setting up the testing environment about two weeks before the start of the usability testing. We learned many lessons throughout the experience. This paper summarizes the study findings, both methodological -- how to setup and conduct a usability lab for such an environment -- as well as conceptual -- the human experiences and behavioral patterns involved in using an immersive environment.
How may I help you? An ethnographic view of contact-center HCI BIBAHTMLPDF 74-89
  Howard Kiewe
This study used an applied ethnographic research method to investigate human-computer interaction (HCI) between call center agents and agent-facing software in the context of contact-center culture. Twenty semi-structured interviews were completed, along with non-participant observation at two contact centers, one that followed a user-centered design (UCD) process for software development and another that did not. Agent productivity and satisfaction at the non-UCD center were hampered by poor task-UI integration, ambiguous text labels, and inadequate UI standardization. Agents required multiple applications to complete a single task, leading to long task times and cognitive strain. In contrast, the UCD center used a unified UI that reduced task times and decreased cognitive strain. In both centers, the workflow was reported to be stressful at times; however, management at both companies employed high involvement work processes that mitigated this stress. Implications for possible high-involvement UI design are considered and a strategy for applied ethnographic research is discussed.
A new approach to analyse human-mobile computer interaction BIBAHTMLPDF 90-98
  Jurgen Kawalek; Annegret Stark; Marcel Riebeck
This paper describes a tool for log file recording and a method for quickly and easily analysing human-computer interaction with mobile devices. The tool logs screenshots and quantitative interaction data, such as number of clicks and timestamps. The analysing tool provides the ability to evaluate the interaction sequences and to export an MS Excel®-sheet for statistical analysis. To evaluate the tool, a usability study was conducted comparing the effectiveness of this tool in the laboratory and in the mobile context. Findings show that the tool is the first step toward a very effective, unobtrusive analysing method for user interaction in the mobile context. Combined with debriefing methods, it would be an optimized way for usability testing with mobile devices.

JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 3

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
User Experience Design: The Evolution of a Multi-disciplinary Approach BIBHTMLPDF 99-102
  Deborah J. Mayhew
An Empirical Investigation of Color Temperature and Gender Effects on Web Aesthetics BIBAHTMLPDF 103-117
  Constantinos K. Coursaris; Sarah J. Sweirenga; Ethan Watrall
Limited research exists on the relevance of hedonic dimensions of human-computer interaction to usability, with only a small set of this research being empirical in nature. Furthermore, previous research has obtained mixed support for gender differences regarding perceptions of attractiveness and usability in Web site design. This empirical research addresses the above gap by studying the effects of color temperature and gender on perceptions of Web site aesthetics. A 2 x 2 between-subject research design manipulates the temperature of a Web site's primary and secondary colors. Each color pair consists of adjacent hues and is categorized as either warm or cool.
   Findings include significantly more favorable perceptions regarding a Web site design's aesthetics when cool color combinations (blue-light blue), as opposed to warm color combinations (red-orange), are used; direct effects of classical aesthetic dimensions (e.g., cleanliness) on expressive aesthetics items (e.g., creativity); and no effects of gender on either set of aesthetics.
A Study of the Effect of Thumb Sizes on Mobile Phone Texting Satisfaction BIBAHTMLPDF 118-128
  Vimala Balakrishnan; A Paul; H. P. Yeow
This paper investigates the effect of participants' varying thumb sizes in relation to the experience of using mobile phone keypads for sending text messages. The keypad design factors considered in the study were key size, shape, texture, space between keys, layout, and simplicity. One hundred and ten people participated in the study. Their age ranged between 17 to 25 years old. The researchers recorded the participants' thumb lengths and circumferences. Participants' positive or negative satisfaction with using mobile phone keypads correlates to their thumb length and circumference. For example, if a participant's thumb circumference was large, he or she tended to be dissatisfied with the key size and space between keys. Results confirm that varying thumb sizes affect users' text messaging satisfaction. Mobile phone manufacturers and designers can use the findings in this study to design customized mobile phones that cater to users with large thumbs. This may increase their customer's text messaging satisfaction.
Examining Users on News Provider Web Sites: A Review of Methodology BIBAHTMLPDF 129-148
  William Gibbs
This project implemented and reviewed several methods to collect data about users' information seeking behavior on news provider Web sites. While browsing news sites, participants exhibited a tendency toward a breadth-first search approach where they used the home page or a search results page as a hub to which they returned and then linked to other pages. Generally, they browsed before using search. Information seeking patterns were consistent within-user but varied somewhat across users. Most behaviors were characterized as visually scanning with users spending much time scrolling.
   The methods used to identify information seeking behavior: (a) information seeking trails, (b) interaction variance, (c) Web pages recurrence, (d) URL frequency, (e) browse behavior identification, and (f) sequence analysis appear particularly useful for detailed analysis of browsing behavior. They afforded information about browsing directionality, complexity, and temporal order. A profile of user browsing behaviors was outlined in the project.

JUS 2008 Volume 3 Issue 4

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
New Frontiers in Usability for Users' Complex Knowledge Work BIBAHTMLPDF 149-151
  Barbara Mirel
For usability professionals, one of the top priorities of the coming decades is to assure that products are usable and useful for people's complex work in complex systems. To meet this challenge we need to better understand the nature and practices of various domain-based complex tasks and the flow of people's work across tools. This essay gives an overview of articles in this issue that address these challenges and their implications for usability and usefulness.
Creating Effective Decision Aids for Complex Tasks BIBAHTMLPDF 152-172
  Caroline Clarke Hayes; Farnaz Akhavi
Engineering design tasks require designers to continually compare, weigh, and choose among many complex alternatives. The quality of these selection decisions directly impacts the quality, cost, and safety of the final product. Because of the high degree of uncertainty in predicting the performance of alternatives while they are still just sketches on the drawing board, and the high cost of poor choices, mathematical decision methods incorporating uncertainty have long held much appeal for product designers, at least from a theoretical standpoint. Yet, such methods have not been widely adopted in practical settings. The goals of this work are to begin understanding why this is so and to identify future questions that may lead to solutions. This paper summarizes the results of several studies by the authors: two laboratory studies in which we asked product designers to use various mathematical models to compare and select design alternatives, and a set of ethnographic studies in which we observed product designers as they worked so that we could better understand their actual practices and needs during decision making. Based on these studies, we concluded that the mathematical models, as formulated, are not well suited to designers' needs and approaches. We propose a research agenda for developing new approaches that combine decision theoretic and user-centered methods to create tools that can make product designers' decision making work easier, more systematic, more effective, and more reportable.
Switching Between Tools in Complex Applications BIBAHTMLPDF 173-188
  Will Schroeder
Large software applications are made up of many specialized tools. In Microsoft Word the document editor is supported by tools to create and fix drawings and tables. Programming environments have custom views (difference editors) and analyses (performance reports) to help developers make robust code. Every application has tools to help users sift the documentation.
   In usability, we usually test a tool at a time, yet complex work requires many tools, and this brings a new set of issues. How do I know when I should be using a different tool? What tool do I need when the one I am using is not working? How do I get to it? How quickly can I start using it?
   In complex or creative work, our observations show that users seldom choose the correct tool as soon as work progress dictates. This erodes productivity and creativity and is a prime target for improved designs.
   Usability practice needs a procedure to identify, record, count, and highlight tool switch events for study. This paper describes one that supports the trained observers on which User-Centered Design relies to detect problems and causes, and evaluate design changes.
Unexpected Complexity in a Traditional Usability Study BIBAHTMLPDF 189-205
  Tharon W. Howard
This article is a case study of a demonstration project intended to prove the value of usability testing to a large textbook publishing house. In working with a new client, however, the research team discovered that what our client thought were simple problems for their users were actually complex problems that required the users to evaluate potential solutions in a surprisingly complex context of use. As Redish (2007) predicted, traditional ease of use measures were "not sufficient" indicators and failed to reveal the complex nature of the tasks. Users reported high levels of satisfaction with products being tested and believed they had successfully completed tasks which they judged as easy to complete when, in fact, they unknowingly suffered failure rates as high as 100%. The study recommends that usability specialists expand our definition of traditional usability measures so that measures include external assessment by content experts of the completeness and correctness of users' performance. The study also found that it is strategically indispensable for new clients to comprehend the upper end of complexity in their products because doing so creates a new space for product innovation. In this case, improving our clients' understanding of complexity enabled them to perceive and to take advantage of a new market niche that had been unrealized for decades.