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JUS Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809

Journal of Usability Studies 6

Editors:Joe Dumas; Marilyn Tremaine
Dates:2010/2011
Volume:6
Publisher:Usability Professionals' Association
Standard No:ISSN 1931-3357
Papers:16
Links:Journal Home Page | Table of Contents
  1. JUS 2010-11 Volume 6 Issue 1
  2. JUS 2011-02 Volume 6 Issue 2
  3. JUS 2011-05 Volume 6 Issue 3
  4. JUS 2011-08 Volume 6 Issue 4

JUS 2010-11 Volume 6 Issue 1

Invited Essay

From 0 to 365: My First Year as a Design Executive BIBAHTML 1-7
  Catherine Courage
As I think about my career in User Experience and Design, much of it has unfolded in an organic way rather than following a detailed career plan. I have always kept my eyes open for the next engaging and interesting career opportunity that would offer a challenge and something new, but never had a prescribed notion of what each step would be. As I sat in my last role as a director of user experience, I did not have focused ambitions of joining the executive ranks. I never ruled it out, but it was not by mission -- then opportunity came knocking.
   Approached by an executive recruiter regarding a vice president position at a well established and growing company with interesting technology I suddenly found myself asking... is this something I am interested in pursuing? How would it differ from my current role? What are the upsides? What are the risks? Would it nurture me?

Peer-reviewed Articles

Rent a Car in Just 0, 60, 240 or 1,217 Seconds? -- Comparative Usability Measurement, CUE-8 BIBAHTML 8-24
  Rolf Molich; Jarinee Chattratichart; Veronica Hinkle; Janne Jul Jensen; Jurek Kirakowski; Jeff Sauro; Tomer Sharon; Brian Traynor
This paper reports on the approach and results of CUE-8, the eighth in a series of Comparative Usability Evaluation studies. Fifteen experienced professional usability teams simultaneously and independently measured a baseline for the usability of the car rental website Budget.com. The CUE-8 study documented a wide difference in measurement approaches. Teams that used similar approaches often reached similar results. This paper discusses a number of common pitfalls in usability measurements. This paper also points out a number of fundamental problems in unmoderated measurement studies, which were used by 6 of the 15 participating teams.
Improving the Usability of E-Book Readers BIBAHTML 25-38
  Eva Siegenthaler; Pascal Wurtz; Rudolf Groner
The use of e-book readers (e-readers or electronic-readers) has become increasingly widespread. An e-reader should meet two important requirements: adequate legibility and good usability. In our study, we investigated these two requirements of e-reader design. Within the framework of a multifunctional approach, we combined eye tracking with other usability testing methods. We tested five electronic reading devices and one classic paper book. The results suggested that e-readers with e-ink technology provided legibility that was comparable to classic paper books. However, our study also showed that the current e-reader generation has large deficits with respect to usability. Users were unable to use e-readers intuitively and without problems. We found significant differences between the different brands of e-book readers. Interestingly, we found dissociations between objective eye-tracking data and subjective user data, stressing the importance of multi-method approaches.
Examining the Order Effect of Website Navigation Menus With Eye Tracking BIBAHTML 39-47
  Alex J. DeWitt
We analysed the eye-tracking data of 147 participants as they used a total of 15 separate website navigation menus to complete key activities. The hypotheses for this study were that (a) the psychological phenomenon of the order effect would manifest in that items at either end of a menu would be located more quickly than those in the middle and (b) that the items that were relevant to completing the user's tasks would be located more quickly through peripheral visual identification of these items. Although items relevant to the user's task were acquired 1.8 seconds faster on average, both of the hypotheses were rejected as no statistically significant patterns were found. It was concluded that each user was likely to have his or her own searching behaviour and this could be affected by other factors such as the graphic design of the menu.

JUS 2011-02 Volume 6 Issue 2

Invited Essay

Tough Sell: Selling User Experience BIBAHTML 48-51
  Misha W. Vaughan
I have the luxury of working for a mature user experience (UX) organization. One of the benefits of working for such an organization is that we get to tackle a range of challenges not all organizations have the bandwidth to attack. In my case, the challenge was posed by my boss who asked, "I need you to figure out how to align with our sales force." I returned his request with a question, "I help develop product. I don't know a thing about selling it. Why is this a good idea?" His response was, "Our sales organization could benefit greatly by understanding how to position UX with customers, but they don't have a clue how to do it."

Peer-reviewed Articles

A Strategic Approach to Metrics for User Experience Designers BIBAHTML 52-59
  Carl W. Turner
User experience (UX) designers asked to justify return-on-investment (ROI) for UX activities often rely on published ROI studies and UX metrics that do not address decision makers' concerns. With a little knowledge of business strategy and metrics and an understanding of their own value to an organization, UX practitioners can (a) identify the financial and non-financial metrics and goals that drive change in their organizations, (b) draw a clear picture for decision makers of the connection between their value and the company's goals, and (c) demonstrate a positive return on investment in UX activities.
User-Centered Design in Procured Software Implementations BIBAHTML 60-74
  Jen Hocko
Beginning in 2008, the author's IT department started looking at Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products as an alternative to custom developed applications. Over the next two years, the company would transition from a "build" to "buy" philosophy, and it would be necessary to evolve the role of usability specialists to help incorporate user-centered design practices into both COTS evaluations and implementations. This case study describes how the author contributed to an enterprise-wide implementation of Microsoft SharePoint, as well as some of the challenges faced and lessons learned. It also suggests other ways that usability specialists can participate in COTS implementations.
Usability Evaluation of Email Applications by Blind Users BIBAHTML 75-89
  Brian Wentz; Jonathan Lazar
In this article, we discuss results of usability evaluations of desktop and web-based email applications used by those who are blind. Email is an important tool for workplace communication, but computer software and websites can present accessibility and usability barriers to blind users who use screen readers to access computers and websites.
   To identify usability problems that blind users have with email, 15 blind users tested seven commonly used email applications. Each user tested two applications, so each application was tested by three to five users. From the results, we identify several ways to improve email applications so that blind people can use them more easily. The findings of this study should also assist employers as they make decisions about the types of email applications that they will use within their organizations. This exploratory research can serve as a focus for more extensive studies in the future.

JUS 2011-05 Volume 6 Issue 3

Invited Essay

Overlap, Influence, Intertwining: The Interplay of UX and Technical Communication BIBAHTML 90-101
  Janice (Ginny) Redish; Carol Barnum
In the first part of this essay, Ginny Redish extracts highlights from and builds on her recently-published commentary (Redish, 2010) about the intertwined history of technical communication and user experience. In the second part, Carol Barnum asks deep questions about roles that people with technical communication training have -- and could have -- within user experience (UX).

Peer-reviewed Articles

Discourse Variations Between Usability Tests and Usability Reports BIBAHTML 102-116
  Erin Friess
While usability evaluation and usability testing has become an important tool in artifact assessment, little is known about what happens to usability data as it moves from usability session to usability report. In this ethnographic case study, I investigate the variations in the language used by usability participants in user-based usability testing sessions as compared to the language used by novice usability testers in their oral reports of that usability testing session. In these comparative discourse analyses, I assess the consistency and continuity of the usability testing data within the purview of the individual testers conducting "do-it-yourself" usability testing. This case study of a limited population suggests that findings in oral usability reports may or may not be substantiated in the evaluations themselves, that explicit or latent biases may affect the presentation of the findings in the report, and that broader investigations, both in terms of populations and methodologies, are warranted.
A Meta-Analytical Review of Empirical Mobile Usability Studies BIBAHTML 117-171
  Constantinos K. Coursaris; Dan J. Kim
In this paper we present an adapted usability evaluation framework to the context of a mobile computing environment. Using this framework, we conducted a qualitative meta-analytical review of more than 100 empirical mobile usability studies. The results of the qualitative review include (a) the contextual factors studied; (b) the core and peripheral usability dimensions measured; and (c) key findings in the form of a research agenda for future mobile usability research, including open and unstructured tasks are underutilized, interaction effects between interactivity and complexity warrant further investigation, increasing research on accessibility may improve the usability of products and services for often overlooked audiences, studying novel technology and environmental factors will deepen contextual mobile usability knowledge, understanding which hedonic factors impact the aesthetic appeal of a mobile device or service and in turn usability, and a high potential for neuroscience research in mobile usability. Numerous additional findings and takeaways for practitioners are also discussed.
Text Advertising Blindness: The New Banner Blindness? BIBAHTML 172-197
  Justin W. Owens; Barbara S. Chaparro; Evan M. Palmer
Banner blindness, the phenomenon of website users actively ignoring web banners, was first reported in the late 1990s. This study expands the banner blindness concept to text advertising blindness and examines the effects of search type and advertisement location on the degree of blindness. Performance and eye-tracking analyses show that users tend to miss information in text ads on the right side of the page more often than in text ads at the top of the page. Search type (exact or semantic) was also found to affect performance and eye-tracking measures. Participant search strategies differed depending on search type and whether the top area of the page was perceived to be advertising or relevant content. These results show that text ad blindness occurs, significantly affects search performance on web pages, and is more prevalent on the right side of the page than the top.

JUS 2011-08 Volume 6 Issue 4

Invited Essay

The Unfulfilled Promise of Usability Engineering BIBAHTML 198-203
  Dennis Wixon
Usability practitioners have always shared at least one common goal -- create the best possible product or tool with the time and resources provided. How to most effectively achieve that goal has been and will continue to be an essential question for us. Today there are a number of promising frameworks and effective heuristics. There is also a body of experience that we can draw on. This was less true 30 years ago when some of us started. In those days, many of us came from a background in academic research. While that background provided the foundation for much of the work that followed, it was critical to adapt that foundation to the context of hardware and software development and interface design. In adapting that foundation some assumptions and practices could be built upon and others needed to be abandoned. In this essay, I examine the history of a framework that drew from our background in research, but that we adapted in crucial ways. I'll argue that some of the promise of that framework was "lost in translation" as the field matured. Finally, I contend that some of those lost elements of that framework could serve us well in our work today. That framework is usability engineering.

Peer-reviewed Articles

Adapting Web 1.0 Evaluation Techniques for E-Government in Second Life BIBAHTML 204-225
  Alla Keselman; Victor Cid; Matthew Perry; Claude Steinberg; Fred B. Wood; Elliot R. Siegel
As Web technology evolves, information organizations strive to benefit from the latest developments. Many academic and government organizations develop applications in Second Life, an online virtual world that allows users to interact with one another and the virtual environment via graphical personas, to support education and information outreach. This is accompanied by growing interest in evaluation methods for Second Life applications. While no special methods have been developed for Second Life or other virtual worlds, the field of Web evaluation is mature and likely to offer metrics, methods, and tools that might be adaptable to Second Life. The goal of this project was to analyze how existing Web measures of Internet performance, Web usage, usability, and user feedback could be adapted, expanded, and modified for Second Life. The project employed two facilitated expert panel discussions, followed by an empirical pilot-test of the experts' suggestions. The findings suggest that prevailing methods and metrics of four key evaluation dimensions can be adapted to Second Life. Specific recommendations are made for their adaptation. Challenges involve lack of universal Second Life design practices and user expectations, influence of other avatars on user experience, complexity of 3-D topography, high technical requirements for data collection, and the proprietary nature of Linden Lab's data.
Making Energy Savings Easier: Usability Metrics for Thermostats BIBAHTML 226-244
  Daniel Perry; Cecilia Aragon; Alan Meier; Therese Peffer; Marco Pritoni
U.S. residential thermostats control approximately 9% of the nation's energy use. Many building codes now require programmable thermostats (PTs) because of their assumed energy savings. However, several recent field studies have shown no significant savings or even higher energy use in households using PTs compared to those using non-PTs. These studies point to usability problems that lead to incorrect use and wasted energy. However, the lack of clear, consistent metrics has hampered the acceptance of usability concerns by thermostat manufacturers. Thus there is a need for metrics specific to PTs that manufacturers can use to evaluate their products.
   In this paper, we report on the results of a usability study conducted on five commercially available PTs and the development of four new metrics suitable for use in evaluating thermostat usability. Our study confirmed usability deficits in the current generation of PTs and showed the metrics are correlated with each other as well as agreeing with the qualitative results of the study.
When Left Might Not Be Right BIBAHTML 245-256
  Xristine Faulkner; Clive Hayton
This paper describes an experiment that was carried out on the positioning of menus (or navigational panels) on a Web site. A student cohort developed a Web site that sold Christmas trees, pots, and decorations. Two versions of the same Web site were produced -- one with menus on the left and the other with menus on the right. In every other way the two sites were identical. Participants were asked to use one version of the Web site. After they used the Web site, they answered a short online questionnaire. They were unaware of the existence of the alternative version of the site.
   The findings showed that there was very little difference in the time-to-buy performance of participants who saw either the left-hand or the right-hand version of the site. In conclusion, there was no significant time savings in sticking to the convention of placing menus on the left-hand side of a Web site, and there might be advantages to placing menus on the right side of a Web site.