An industrial case study of usability evaluation in market-driven packaged software development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

Abstract

In market-driven software development it is crucial to produce the best product as quickly as possible in order to reach customer satisfaction. Requirements arrive at a high rate and the main focus tends to be on the functional requirements. The functional requirements are important, but their usefulness relies on their usability, which may be a rewarding competitive means on its own. Existing methods help software development companies to improve the usability of their product. However, companies that have little experience in usability still find them to be difficult to use, unreliable, and expensive. In this study we present results and experiences on conducting two known usability evaluations, using a questionnaire and a heuristic eval-uation, at a large software development company. We have found that the two methods complement each other very well, the first giving scientific measures of usability attributes, and the second revealing actual usability deficiencies in the software. Although we did not use any usability experts, evaluations performed by company employees produced valuable results. The company, who had no prior experience in usability evaluation, found the results both useful and meaningful. We can conclude that the evaluators need a brief introduction on usability to receive even better results from the heuristic evaluation, but this may not be required in the initial stages. Much more essential is the support from every level of management. Usability engi-neering
is cost effective and does not require many resources. However, without direct management support, usability engi-neering efforts will most likely be fruitless.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Computer Science
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII'2001)
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates
Pages425-429
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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Volume1

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