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Journal of Usability Studies 7

Editors:Joe Dumas; Marilyn Tremaine
Dates:2011/2012
Volume:7
Publisher:Usability Professionals' Association
Standard No:ISSN 1931-3357
Papers:12
Links:Journal Home Page | Table of Contents
  1. JUS 2011-11 Volume 7 Issue 1
  2. JUS 2012-02 Volume 7 Issue 2
  3. JUS 2012-05 Volume 7 Issue 3
  4. JUS 2012-08 Volume 7 Issue 4

JUS 2011-11 Volume 7 Issue 1

Industrial HCI Research: A Personal and Professional Perspective BIBHTML 1-8
  Clare-Marie Karat; John Karat
Conducting Iterative Usability Testing on a Web Site: Challenges and Benefits BIBAHTML 9-30
  Jennifer C. Romano Bergstrom; Erica L. Olmsted-Hawala; Jennifer M. Chen; Elizabeth D. Murphy
This paper demonstrates the benefits and challenges of working collaboratively with designers and developers while conducting iterative usability testing during the course of Web site design. Four rounds of usability testing were conducted using materials of increasing realism to represent the user interface of a public government site: 1) low-fidelity paper prototypes; 2) medium-fidelity, non-clickable HTML images; and 3) and 4) high-fidelity, partially-clickable Web pages. Through three rounds of usability testing, usability increased, but in the fourth round, usability declined. Iterative testing enabled evaluators to collect quantitative and qualitative data from typical users, address usability issues, and test new, revised designs throughout the design process. This study demonstrates the challenges and value of working collaboratively with designers and developers to create tasks, collect participant data, and create and test solutions to usability issues throughout the entire cycle of user-interface design.
Usability Evaluation of Touch-less Mouse, Based on Infrared Proximity Sensing BIBAHTML 31-39
  Young Sam Ryu; Do Hyong Koh; Dongseok Ryu; Dugan Um
In this work, we examined a touchless mouse, which is a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) device for non-contact gesture inputs to a computer system. The touchless or T-less mouse is used by moving a finger without touching any device or surface. We evaluated it according to the guidelines and testing procedures for evaluating computer pointing devices. Via data collection and statistical techniques, the T-less mouse was compared to a conventional mouse. The results indicated that the average completion time with the T-less mouse is longer than that with a conventional mouse. The number of errors with the T-less mouse were not significantly higher than that with a conventional mouse. A majority of the participants indicated that the T-less mouse could be a useful alternative in special situations in which a conventional mouse cannot be used.
Ergonomics Product Development of a Mobile Workstation for Health Care BIBAHTML 40-50
  Risto Toivonen; Dong-Shik Choi; Nina Nevala
The use of information and communication technologies is increasing in health care, and patient information is being transferred into electronic format. The aim of this study was to test the ergonomics and usability of a mobile workstation prototype in actual work situations. The mobile workstation was tested by physicians (n=5) and nurses (n=3) during and after hospital rounds. The study produced 19 requirements for a usable product. The participants rated wheel function, screen height, the mobility of the terminal, and the adjustability of the terminal height as the best usability features of the prototype. The keyboard level, the mouse level, and the difficulty to install the computer into the terminal were reported as the most important points in need of improvement. The results of this study show that having physicians and nurses make subjective judgments about the usability of a mobile workstation adds value to its design.

JUS 2012-02 Volume 7 Issue 2

Curating Evolution BIBHTML 51-55
  Austin Henderson; Jed Harris
The Effect of Experience on System Usability Scale Ratings BIBAHTML 56-67
  Sam McLellan; Andrew Muddimer; S. Camille Peres
Longitudinal studies have to do with testing over time and thus take into consideration previous user experience with a product or product versions. However, it is difficult to conduct these types of studies. Therefore the literature is sparse on examples of the explicit effect of user experience on user satisfaction metrics in industry-standard survey instruments. During a development experience in 2009, we used a cross-sectional method to look at the effects of user profiles on ratings for commercial products that use one such instrument, the System Usability Scale or SUS.
   Recent research has reported finding that differences in user ratings could be based on the extent of a user's prior experience with the computer system, a Web site being visited or a desktop application like Microsoft's Office suite being used. Compared to off-the-shelf office products or personal Web applications, we were curious if we would find the same experience effect for domain specialists using geosciences products in the course of their daily professional job roles. In fact, from data collected with 262 end users across different geographic locations testing two related oilfield product releases, one Web-based and one desktop-based, we found results that were quite close to early assessment studies: Users having a more extensive experience with a product tended to provide higher, more favorable, SUS scores over users with either no or limited experience with a product -- and by as much as 15-16%, regardless of the domain product type. This and other observations found during our product testing have led us to offer some practical how-to's to our internal product analysts responsible for managing product test cycles, administering instruments like the SUS to users, and reporting results to development teams.
Investigating the Accessibility and Usability of Job Application Web Sites for Blind Users BIBAHTML 68-87
  Jonathan Lazar; Abiodun Olalere; Brian Wentz
Most companies today place their job advertisements online and frequently require that applications for jobs be submitted online. Unfortunately, many online employment Web sites are inaccessible to users with disabilities, preventing these individuals from even applying for jobs online. Previous studies have used automated tools or expert reviews to evaluate the accessibility of online employment applications. This study involved 16 blind, screen-reader users, attempting to apply for jobs online. Two applications were submitted to each of 16 companies in the southeastern United States, for a total of 32 applications submitted. Many of the online employment application processes were inaccessible to blind users, and users repeatedly asked for assistance from the researchers when they faced accessibility problems. Only 9/32 (28.1%) of application attempts could be completed independently without any assistance. This report details the problems discovered during the usability testing and discusses the most common problems for blind users, as well as problems related to general usability. It also provides suggestions for improvement, including providing accessible feedback, unique and clear hyperlink text, properly structured layout, logical grouping of questions, clearly identified data format and required form fields, and conducting regular accessibility evaluations. It is essential that companies ensure that their online employment applications are accessible and usable for all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.

JUS 2012-05 Volume 7 Issue 3

Usability of Interactive Systems: It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better BIBHTML 88-93
  Jeff Johnson; Austin Henderson
The Effects of Touch Screen Technology on the Usability of E-Reading Devices BIBAHTML 94-104
  Eva Siegenthaler; Yves Bochud; Pascal Wurtz; Laura Schmid; Per Bergamin
Although reading is the main function of electronic reading devices (e-readers), previous studies demonstrated that a critical factor for perceived legibility is the usability of the device. If users have problems with the handling of a device, they will not like using the device for reading. Therefore, easy handling is a critical factor for a user's reading experience. One important device feature seems to be a touch screen. A touch screen tends to be very intuitive and saves space as no keyboard or mouse is required, which also tends to make for easier hand-eye coordination than a mouse or keyboard. This study investigated the effect of touch screen technology on the usability of electronic reading devices. Three different types of devices were compared: two e-readers with e-ink display (the Sony PRS 600 with a touch screen and the Sony PRS 505 without a touch screen) and one tablet PC with a backlit LCD (Apple iPad with a multi-touch screen). Participants completed different use case scenarios for each device. Participants then completed a questionnaire that asked them to rate the usability of the navigation, design, handiness, and handling of each device. The results show that e-reading devices with touch screens correlate with better navigation ratings. Participants rated the navigation significantly better for the devices with a touch screen compared to a device without a touch screen. Overall results suggest that a touch screen allows for an easier and more intuitive interaction. Nonetheless, participants were not able to solve all tasks without problems, and significant differences were found between the devices. In conclusion there is still room for improvement, for the devices tested, in regards to usability aspects.
WHAM! POW! Comics as User Assistance BIBAHTML 105-117
  Erika Noll Webb; Gayathri Balasubramanian; Ultan OBroin; Jayson M. Webb
In the Oracle Fusion User Assistance group, we are always interested in how to communicate information more effectively to users. In this particular set of studies, we wanted to study the use of comics as user assistance. Comics are easy to create with a number of free, online tools. Two studies examined how comics can be used to convey both task-based and conceptual information. In the first study, participants were shown a new feature in a software application -- both in the form of a comic and in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. Both contained the same information. Based on the information in the training materials, the participants then performed tasks in a functional prototype of a Human Capital Management tool. Participants preferred the comic on two usability scales.
   In the second study, the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) authoring and publishing model was presented to an audience of technical writers. Respondents were asked to view each of three information formats for the same information: metaphor- and non-metaphor-based comics and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Metaphor-based comics scored better than the other two formats on usability scale ratings and on a multiple-choice test.
   These studies suggest that the novel and affective format of a comic book should be considered as an alternative to more traditional training materials.

JUS 2012-08 Volume 7 Issue 4

A Usability Evaluation of Workplace-Related Tasks on a Multi-Touch Tablet Computer by Adults with Down Syndrome BIBAHTML 118-142
  Libby Kumin; Jonathan Lazar; Jinjuan Heidi Feng; Brian Wentz; Nnanna Ekedebe
This research study focuses on evaluating the usability of multi-touch tablet devices by adults with Down syndrome for workplace-related tasks. The usability evaluation involved 10 adults with Down syndrome, and the results of the study illustrate that (a) adults with Down syndrome are able to use multi-touch devices effectively for workplace-related tasks, (b) formal computer training seems to impact participant performance, and (c) password usability continues to be a challenge for individuals with Down syndrome. Implications for designers, for policymakers, for researchers, and for users are discussed, along with suggestions for effective implementation of usability testing when involving adults with Down syndrome. Information technology can be a potential workplace skill for adults with Down syndrome, and more of the user experience community needs to get involved in understanding how people with Down syndrome utilize technology.
Usability Evaluation of a Tag-Based Interface BIBAHTML 143-160
  Rajinesh Ravendran; Ian MacColl; Michael Docherty
In this study, we report the findings of a comparative usability evaluation of a tag-based interface and the present conventional interface in the Australian banking context. The tag-based interface is based on user-assigned tags to banking resources with support for different types of customization, while the conventional interface is based on standard HTML objects such as dropdown boxes, lists, and tables, with limited customization. A total of 30 online banking users between the ages of 21 to 50 participated in the study. Each participant carried out a set of tasks on both interfaces and completed a post-test usability questionnaire. Additional feedback was sought from the participant through a post-evaluation debriefing session. Efficiency, effectiveness, and user satisfaction were considered to evaluate the usability of the interfaces. The results of the evaluation show that the tag-based interface improved usability over the conventional interface in terms of user satisfaction in both online and mobile contexts. This outcome is particularly apparent in the mobile context among inexperienced users. We conclude that there is a potential for the tag-based interface to improve user satisfaction of online and mobile banking, and also to positively affect the adoption and acceptance of mobile banking, particularly in Australia.