Will Laboratory Test Results be Valid in Mobile Contexts?

Will Laboratory Test Results be Valid in Mobile Contexts?

Anne Kaikkonen, Aki Kekäläinen, Mikael Cankar, Titti Kallio, Anu Kankainen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-871-0.ch053
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The phenomena a usability test in the field reveals are different from those uncovered in a classical usability test conducted in a laboratory setting. Comparison studies show that these findings are more related to the user experience and user behaviour than usability and user interaction with the device. Testing in the field is a necessary part of the product development cycle, but the question is what and how to test. Duplicating a laboratory usability test method in the field may not make sense in many cases because the required extra effort does not result in comparable added value, as far as understanding user interaction. Studying user behaviour, on the other hand, requires a less controlled test setting.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Usability: The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use (ISO 9241-11)

Field Test: Usability test in a real-life context

Laboratory Test: Usability test in a controlled environment

User Experience: User’s holistic experience with the product-user experience is an intra-user event which is the consequence of how well the product matches with user expectations, how well it supports the activities in different physical and social contexts. The entire user experience may not be possible to detect by using usability testing alone.

Usability Laboratory: A controlled environment where evaluators set up usability tests and other experiments. In a usability laboratory all factors of the tested system can be controlled and high-quality data collection (video, etc.) is possible.

Usability Problem: Problems that influence the effective, efficient, and satisfactory use of the system in a specified context of use (ISO 9241-11)

Usability Test: User test that tests the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction of the system in a specified context of use (ISO 9241-11) using known usability test protocols

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