Sharing Usability Information: A Communication Paradox

Sharing Usability Information: A Communication Paradox

Paula M. Bach (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Hao Jiang (Pennsylvania State University, USA) and John M. Carroll (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-456-7.ch507
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In this chapter, we investigate the social and communication challenges surrounding usability information sharing. Our objective is to investigate a communication paradox: software development teams, consisting of usability engineers, software developers, and project managers, chose communication channels to use every day that are not channels they prefer to use. This paradox was discovered in a survey and explored further in interviews with software development teams. Results indicated that challenges with common ground and work coupling affect the extent to which the affordances of different communication channels can be taken advantage of. The value of this study highlights and explains the paradox from a time-space perspective and provides insight to usability information sharing among software engineering teams. Future work includes investigating the effect of social capital on communication channel preference along with understanding how important usability issues can be discussed in complex teams.
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In this section we overview background literature on information sharing in software development and prior literature on information sharing in teams to demonstrate the challenges and benefits of information sharing in groups. We also overview the affordances and constraints of various communication channels available for teams to use and share information.

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