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A Conceptual Tool for Usability Problem Identification in Website Development

Copyright © 2011. 14 pages.
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DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-523-0.ch016
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MLA

Skov, Mikael B. and Jan Stage. "A Conceptual Tool for Usability Problem Identification in Website Development." Web Engineered Applications for Evolving Organizations: Emerging Knowledge. IGI Global, 2011. 278-291. Web. 22 Jul. 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-523-0.ch016

APA

Skov, M. B., & Stage, J. (2011). A Conceptual Tool for Usability Problem Identification in Website Development. In G. Alkhatib (Ed.), Web Engineered Applications for Evolving Organizations: Emerging Knowledge (pp. 278-291). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-523-0.ch016

Chicago

Skov, Mikael B. and Jan Stage. "A Conceptual Tool for Usability Problem Identification in Website Development." In Web Engineered Applications for Evolving Organizations: Emerging Knowledge, ed. Ghazi Alkhatib, 278-291 (2011), accessed July 22, 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-523-0.ch016

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Abstract

Techniques and tools that enable website developers without formal training in human-computer interaction to conduct their own usability evaluations would radically advance the integration of usability engineering in website development. This paper presents experiences from usability evaluations conducted by developers in an empirical study of means to support non-experts in identifying usability problems. A group of software developers who were novices in usability engineering analyzed a usability test session with the task of identifying usability problems experienced by the user. When doing this, they employed a simple one-page conceptual tool that supports identification of usability problems. The non-experts were able to conduct a well-organized usability evaluation and identify a reasonable amount of usability problems with a performance that was comparable to usability experts.
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Introduction

Over the last decade, software usability as a discipline has made considerable progress. An important indicator of this is that more and more software organizations are beginning to take usability seriously as an important aspect of development. Yet there are still significant obstacles to a full integration of usability engineering into software development (Bak et al., 2008). The average developer has not adopted this concern for usability, and usability specialists are not involved until late in development, when most substantial changes are too costly to implement (Anderson et al., 2001).

There are several areas of software development where the limited integration of usability efforts is apparent. Development of sites for the World Wide Web is one such area. It is usually argued that the web is qualitatively different from conventional software systems. For the typical web application, the user group is more varied and fluent, and the application itself has a considerably shorter lifetime compared to other kinds of software. For development of web applications, the main difference compared to other applications is that it is done by a broad variety of companies, ranging from one or two person companies to large corporations, and many of the development companies, in particular the smaller ones, do not have any usability experts available. Budget constraints prohibit hiring specialists, and the development schedule does not leave time for usability testing and feedback to iterative design (Scholtz et al., 1998). Research indicates that work practices in website development seem to largely ignore the body of knowledge and experience that has been established in the disciplines of software engineering, human-computer interaction, and usability engineering (Sullivan & Matson, 2000). Conventional usability evaluation is expensive, time consuming and requires usability specialists. This is incompatible with web development, where many websites are designed and implemented in fast-paced projects by multidisciplinary teams that involve such diverse professions as information architects, Web developers, graphic designers, brand and content strategists, etc. Such teams are usually not familiar with established knowledge on human-computer interaction (Braiterman et al., 2000). The consequence of this is clear. A large number of websites have severe usability problems that prohibit effective and successful use (Spool et al., 1999). An investigation of usability through content accessibility found that 29 of 50 popular websites were either inaccessible or only partly accessible (Spool et al., 1999; Sullivan & Matson, 2000).

There are at least two ways of integrating usability expertise in website development projects. First, developers can adapt and use tailored usability heuristics in the evaluation and let these heuristics guide the usability work in the development team (Agarwal & Venkatesh, 2002; Sutcliffe, 2001). The practical implications of usability heuristics in software design have been discussed for several years, but traditional heuristics is not of focus in this paper. Secondly, the limited integration of usability in software development can be resolved by involving non-experts in the usability engineering activities. This could be accomplished by offering ordinary software developers means for creating usable websites and evaluating them in a systematic manner (Skov & Stage, 2001). This might bring usability into the earliest possible phases of software development where it could have most impact by improving initial design and eliminating rework. It would also solve a potential problem with availability of usability experts. The professional evaluator resource is very scarce, thus evaluating the usability of just a fraction of all new websites would be well beyond their capacity.

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Table of Contents
Preface
Ghazi Alkhatib
Chapter 1
Stefan Stieglitz, Christoph Fuchß
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Chapter 2
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Chapter 3
Faïza Najjar, Hassenet Slimani
Mobile query processing is, actually, a very active research field. Range and nearest neighbor queries are common types of queries in spatial... Sample PDF
A Linked Neighboring Leaves N-Tree to Support Distance Range Search
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Chapter 4
Michael Decker
Workflow management systems (WfMS) are a special class of information systems (IS) which support the automated enactment of business processes.... Sample PDF
Location-Aware Access Control for Mobile Workflow Systems
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Chapter 5
Wolfgang Woerndl, Michele Brocco, Robert Eigner
We give an overview of ideas for integrating context in recommender systems in general and specifically in various mobile application domains. Our... Sample PDF
Context-Aware Recommender Systems in Vehicular Networks and Other Mobile Domains
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Chapter 6
L. Robert, R. Nadarajan
There has been an unparalleled explosion of textual information flow over the internet through electronic mail, web browsing, digital library and... Sample PDF
Fault-Tolerant Text Data Compression Algorithms
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Chapter 7
Raoudha Ben Djemaa, Ikram Amous, Abdelmajid Ben Hamadou
This article proposes a generator for adaptive Web applications called GIWA. GIWA‘s objective is to facilitate the automatic execution of the design... Sample PDF
Adaptability and Adaptivity in The Generation of Web Applications
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Chapter 8
Sikha Bagui, Adam Loggins
In this data-centric world, as web services and service oriented architectures gain momentum and become a standard for data usage, there will be a... Sample PDF
Automating the Generation of Joins in Large Databases and Web Services
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Chapter 9
Saleh AlZahrani, Aladdin Ayesh, Hussein Zedan
Grids are increasingly being used in applications, one of which is e-learning. As most of business and academic institutions (universities) and... Sample PDF
Multi-Agent Based Dynamic E-Learning Environment
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Chapter 10
E.George Dharma Prakash Raj, Sinthu Janita Prakash, S.V.Kasmir Raja
The routing problems can be divided into two major classes. They are 1) Unicast routing and 2) Multicast routing. The Unicast routing problem is as... Sample PDF
Analysis of Quality of Service Routing Algorithms
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Chapter 11
Mark Kilfoil, Ali Ghorbani
The rapid growth of the World Wide Web has complicated the process of Web browsing by providing an overwhelming wealth of choices for the end user.... Sample PDF
SWAMI: A Multiagent, Active Representation of a User’s Browsing Interests
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Chapter 12
G.P. Sajeev, M.P. Sebastian
Web cache systems enhance Web services by reducing the client side latency. To deploy an effective Web cache, study about traffic characteristics is... Sample PDF
Analyzing the Traffic Characteristics for Evaluating the Performance of Web Caching
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Chapter 13
Greg Scowen, Holger Regenbrecht
This paper identifies and measures correlations between compliance with usability guidelines and the popularity of a Web site. A sample of... Sample PDF
Increased Popularity through Compliance with Usability Guidelines in E-Learning Web Sites
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Chapter 14
Frederick Petry, Roy Ladner, Kalyan Moy Gupta, Philip Moore, David Aha, Bruce Lin, Richard Sween
This paper describes an Integrated Web Services Brokering System (IWB) to support the automated discovery and application integration of Web... Sample PDF
Discovery and Mediation Approaches for Management of Net-Centric Web Services
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Chapter 15
Andrew Saxon, Shane Walker, David Prytherch
This chapter focuses on the adoption and adaptation of methodologies drawn from research in psychology for the evaluation of user response as a... Sample PDF
Measuring the Unmeasurable?: Eliciting Hard to Measure Information about the User Experience
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Chapter 16
Mikael B. Skov, Jan Stage
Techniques and tools that enable website developers without formal training in human-computer interaction to conduct their own usability evaluations... Sample PDF
A Conceptual Tool for Usability Problem Identification in Website Development
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Chapter 17
Daniela M. Andrei, Adriana M. Guran
Developing usable products becomes more and more important for software developers. Developing web applications it’s more challenging than... Sample PDF
A Framework for Early Usability Integration in Web Applications Development Process
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Chapter 18
Christopher Power, André Pimenta Freire, Helen Petrie
This chapter presents methodologies and techniques for performing accessibility evaluations on web applications. These methodologies are discussed... Sample PDF
Integrating Accessibility Evaluation into Web Engineering Processes
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Chapter 19
Dimitris Spiliotopoulos, Georgios Kouroupetroglou, Pepi Stavropoulou
This chapter presents the state-of-the-art in usability issues and methodologies for VoiceWeb interfaces. It undertakes a theoretical perspective to... Sample PDF
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