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Journal of Usability Studies 4

Editors:Avi Parush
Dates:2008/2009
Volume:4
Publisher:Usability Professionals' Association
Standard No:ISSN 1931-3357
Papers:19
Links:Journal Home Page | Table of Contents
  1. JUS 2008 Volume 4 Issue 1
  2. JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 2
  3. JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 3
  4. JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 4

JUS 2008 Volume 4 Issue 1

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
Card Sorting: Current Practices and Beyond BIBHTMLPDF 1-6
  Jed Wood; Larry Wood
A Modified Delphi Approach to a New Card Sorting Methodology BIBAHTMLPDF 7-30
  Celeste Lyn Paul
Open card sorting is used by information architects to gather insights from users to incorporate feedback into an information architecture. In theory, it is one of the more inexpensive, user-centered design methods available to practitioners, but hidden costs make it less likely to be conducted properly and affect the quality of results produced. The following proposes a new card sorting method called the Modified-Delphi card sort to replace the Open card sort. The Modified-Delphi card sort is based on a well-known forecasting technique called the Delphi method. Instead of producing individual models that are then analyzed as a whole, participants work with a single model that is proposed and modified throughout the study. The Modified-Delphi card sorting method produces more useful results to aid in the design of an information architecture than the Open card sorting method.
   A series of studies were conducted to directly compare the Modified-Delphi and Open cart sorting methods. First, two parallel studies using both methods were conducted with the same dataset and number of participants. Then, two studies were conducted on the results of the parallel studies: a heuristic review and ranking with information design experts and an Inverse card sort with additional users of the proposed architecture. The Modified-Delphi card sorting method produced results that were found to be at least as good as the Open card sorting method results and in some cases, better.
The Usability of Computerized Card Sorting: A Comparison of Three Applications by Researchers and End Users BIBAHTMLPDF 31-48
  Barbara S. Chaparro; Veronica D. Hinkle; Shannon K. Riley
This study reports on the usability of three commercially available electronic card sort applications (CardZort, WebSort, and OpenSort) by researchers (Study 1) and by end users (Study 2). Both groups of participants conducted a series of tasks representative of their user group with each program. Researchers focused on the set up and analysis of an open card sort exercise while end user participants conducted an open card sort. Task success, completion time, perceived difficulty, user satisfaction, and overall preference data was gathered for all participants. Results indicate different preferences for the two user groups. Researcher participants preferred WebSort for creating and analyzing the card sort, and end user participants preferred OpenSort for completing the card sort exercise. Usability issues related to each program are discussed.
Heuristic Evaluation Quality Score (HEQS): Defining Heuristic Expertise BIBAHTMLPDF 49-59
  Shazeeye Kirmani
This paper identifies the factors affecting heuristic expertise and defines levels of expertise permissible to conduct an evaluation. It aims to standardize skills or define heuristic expertise worldwide and also suggests ways to improve issue categorization.
   An online heuristic evaluation competition was hosted on the World Usability Day website in November 2007 by Usability Professionals' Association (UPA), Bangalore. Twenty contestants from the U.S. and India with heuristic evaluation experience ranging from 0 to 10 years participated. Contestants were judged on a quantitative framework that assigns weights to the severity of the identified issues (Kirmani & Rajasekaran, 2007). Results indicated that the group with average heuristic experience of 2 years found a mean HEQS% of 8% in 1 hour. Previous studies identified that evaluators found a mean of 34% of issues but did not address issue quality (Nielsen & Landauer, 1993). Further studies on heuristic expertise quality would make the standards more reliable.

JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 2

Introduction BIBHTML i
  Avi Parush
Tips for Usability Professionals in a Down Economy BIBAHTMLPDF 60-69
  Tom Tullis
The usability profession is experiencing the current economic downturn just like everyone else. This article offers ten tips for usability professionals trying to weather this economic storm:
  • Be More Efficient with Your Usability Tests
  • Get More Data with Less Work
  • Deepen Your Usability Skills
  • Broaden Your Other Skills
  • Demonstrate Business Value
  • Keep up on Technology
  • Keep Tabs on Competitors
  • Maximize Your Visibility
  • Compare Design Alternatives
  • Don't Re-invent the Wheel
  • Specific suggestions and examples are provided for each tip.
  • Usability of Electronic Medical Records BIBAHTMLPDF 70-84
      John B. Smelcer; Hal Miller-Jacobs; Lyle Kantrovich
    Health care costs represent a significant percentage of a country's GDP. Implementing electronic medical records (EMR) systems are a popular solution to reducing costs, with the side benefit of providing better care. Unfortunately, 30% of EMR system implementations fail, often because physicians cannot use the EMRs efficiently. User experience problems, based on our experience at several clinics, are wide-spread among EMRs. These include loss of productivity and steep learning curves.
       To help usability professionals contribute to the creation of more usable EMRs, we share our insights and experiences. Essential to understanding EMRs is the physician's task flow, which we explain in detail. It is also helpful to understand the different work styles of physicians, variations in the pace of work, the use of nurses, the mode and timing of data entry, and variations in needed functionality. These variances in task flow, work styles, and needed functionality lead us to propose solutions to improve the usability of EMRs focusing on: flexible navigation, personalization and customization, accessing multiple patients, delegation of responsibility among medical personnel, and enabling data variations and visualizations.
    Usability Testing with Real Data BIBAHTMLPDF 85-92
      Alex Genov; Mark Keavney; Todd Zazelenchuk
    Usability practitioners run the risk of misreading the results of usability evaluations, either identifying false positives when artificial user data interferes with a user's product experience or overlooking real problems when they use artificial user data. In this paper, we examine a strategy for incorporating users' real data in usability evaluations. We consider the value and the challenges of this strategy based on the experiences of product teams in a consumer software company.
    Flexible Hardware Configurations for Studying Mobile Usability BIBAHTMLPDF 93-105
      Antti Oulasvirta; Tuomo Nyyssönen
    The main challenges for mobile usability labs, as measurement instruments, lay not so much on being able to record what happens on the user interface, but capturing the interactional relationship between the user and the environment. An ideal mobile usability lab would enable recording, with sufficient accuracy and reliability, the user's deployment of gaze, the hands, the near bodyspace, proximate and distant objects of interest, as well as abrupt environmental events. An inherent complication is that the equipment will affect these events and is affected by them. We argue that a balance between coverage and obtrusiveness must be found on a per case basis.
       We present a modular solution to mobile usability labs, allowing both belt- and backpack-worn configurations and flexible division of equipment between the user, the moderator, and the environment. These benefits were achieved without sacrificing data quality, operational duration, or light weight. We describe system design rationale and report first experiences from a field experiment. Current work concentrates on simplifying the system to improve cost-efficiency.

    JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 3

    Introduction BIBHTML i
      Avi Parush
    International Standards for Usability Should Be More Widely Used BIBAHTMLPDF 106-113
      Nigel Bevan
    Despite the authoritative nature of international standards for usability, many of them are not widely used. This paper explains both the benefits and some of the potential problems in using usability standards in areas including user interface design, usability assurance, software quality, and usability process improvement.
    Determining What Individual SUS Scores Mean: Adding an Adjective Rating Scale BIBAHTMLPDF 114-123
      Aaron Bangor; Philip Kortum; James Miller
    The System Usability Scale (SUS) is an inexpensive, yet effective tool for assessing the usability of a product, including Web sites, cell phones, interactive voice response systems, TV applications, and more. It provides an easy-to-understand score from 0 (negative) to 100 (positive). While a 100-point scale is intuitive in many respects and allows for relative judgments, information describing how the numeric score translates into an absolute judgment of usability is not known. To help answer that question, a seven-point adjective-anchored Likert scale was added as an eleventh question to nearly 1,000 SUS surveys. Results show that the Likert scale scores correlate extremely well with the SUS scores (r=0.822). The addition of the adjective rating scale to the SUS may help practitioners interpret individual SUS scores and aid in explaining the results to non-human factors professionals.
    Extremely Rapid Usability Testing BIBAHTMLPDF 124-135
      Mark Pawson; Saul Greenberg
    The trade show booth on the exhibit floor of a conference is traditionally used for company representatives to sell their products and services. However, the trade booth environment also creates an opportunity, for it can give the development team easy access to many varied participants for usability testing. The question is can we adapt usability testing methods to work in such an environment? Extremely rapid usability testing (ERUT) does just this, where we deploy a combination of questionnaires, interviews, storyboarding, co-discovery, and usability testing in a trade show booth environment. We illustrate ERUT in actual use during a busy photographic trade show. It proved effective for actively gathering real-world user feedback in a rapid paced environment where time is of the essence.
    The Effect of Culture on Usability: Comparing the Perceptions and Performance of Taiwanese and North American MP3 Player Users BIBAHTMLPDF 136-146
      Steve Wallace; Hsiao-Cheng Yu
    A study of how 23 Taiwanese and North American subjects use a consumer electronic product shows that culture strongly affects the usability of the product. Survey data shows that North American users had much lower levels of user satisfaction and perceptions of effectiveness and efficiency than Taiwanese users. On the other hand, results on performance were unclear, indicating similar levels of effectiveness for both cultural groups and conflicting results on levels of efficiency.

    JUS 2009 Volume 4 Issue 4

    Introduction BIBHTML i
      Avi Parush
    Visual Attention in Newspaper versus TV-Oriented News Websites BIBAHTMLPDF 147-165
      William J. Gibbs; Ronan S. Bernas
    Eye-tracking has been employed in usability engineering for many years because, among other things, it affords usability practitioners information about where users focus their attention. It helps practitioners identify the extent to which the visual display elements presented on many interactive products enhance or detract from the user experience. Eye movement data offer system developers and usability engineers information about visual attention, visual search efficiency, and visual information processing while users interact with a system.
       In this study, we tracked participants' eye movements as they viewed newspaper and TV-oriented news Websites. We used several visual attention measures (number of fixations, fixation duration, gaze time, and saccade rate) and scan path analysis to investigate whether ocular behavior differed by type of news site.
       We found that newspaper and TV-oriented site types did not influence measures of visual attention. However, the areas where participants fixated differed by site type. In addition, there was greater across-user variability in the viewing of newspaper homepages compared to TV homepages. Finally, we report on the utility of examining visual attention using scan path analysis and string-editing methods. These methods were especially useful for identifying fixation areas as well as variability in participants' scan paths.
    Insights for the TV Interface from the Mobile Phone Interface BIBAHTMLPDF 166-177
      Younghwan Pan; Young Sam Ryu
    We reviewed the service structure, needs analysis, user interface model, and interaction analysis for television (TV) and mobile phones. Due to the increasing use of services such as electronic program guide (EPG), digital video recorder (DVR), and pay-per-view (PPV), we concluded that text input for the TV interface will be inevitable. Furthermore, jumping interaction will remain as the main interaction for TV. Based on the successes and failures of various interaction technologies for mobile phones, we present a prediction of new input paradigms for the TV interface. Finally, cooperative design by TV manufacturers and service operators will be significant for the success of advanced interactive TV services.
    A Methodology for Measuring Usability Evaluation Skills Using the Constructivist Theory and the Second Life Virtual World BIBAHTMLPDF 178-188
      Debra J. Slone
    The skills of usability analysts are crucial to software success, so mastery of these skills is essential. This study presents a methodology for teaching and measuring usability evaluation skills of graduate students using the constructivist theory, diaries, checklists, and final reports. As part of the study, students spent 4 months as active participants in Second Life, an online virtual world. In the end, most students had a manageable amount of measurable usability evaluation skills in that they could identify a number of heuristic problems with the Second Life software. A smaller number of students had a greater amount of skill; they could explain a heuristic problem with the software and then explain why it was problematic.