Evaluating the Usability of Multimedia, Mobile and Network-Based Products

Evaluating the Usability of Multimedia, Mobile and Network-Based Products

Philip Kortum (Rice University, Houston, TX, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijwnbt.2012070102
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The usability of a product or service can mean the difference between product success or failure in both the field and the marketplace. Successful products are easy to use and intuitive for the user. There are a set of well-defined methods used to determine if a product, service or system is usable and meets the needs of the end user. This paper describes the four major methods of usability assessment: 1) Inquiry Methods, 2) Inspection Methods, 3) Observation Methods and 4) Automated Methods. Each method and its attendant sub-methods are described, as is a discussion of the methods’ strengths and weaknesses.
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Methods Of Usability Assessment

There are four major methods for gathering data for the assessment of a product:

  • 1.

    Inquiry Methods

  • 2.

    Inspection Methods

  • 3.

    Observation Methods

  • 4.

    Automated Methods

Each method has certain unique advantages and disadvantages that require that they be employed carefully during the project lifecycle. Specific sub-methods within each of these major categories are described in the following sections.

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