Developing User Profiles for Interactive Online Products in Practice

Hana Abdullah Al-Nuaim (King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 23
EISBN13: 9781466648074|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4046-7.ch003
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The user profile is one of the tools that usability engineering designers use to focus their design efforts on a particular target population. This chapter presents a qualitative case study on the effectiveness of creating user profiles from data collected through questionnaires administered to target users as a basis for design. During a three-year period, computer science students in the final year of their undergraduate program who had an extensive background in programming and software engineering were asked to create user profiles for their graduating software development projects. This research found that designers must have the skills and experience to develop, administer, and interpret questionnaires that collected accurate data from respondents. A high investment in user profile questionnaire development only produced general usability requirements, which should be the goal of designers for every user interface. Therefore, these requirements were not effective and failed to provide the students (designers) with ideas on which to base their user interface designs. In his book, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Cooper (1999) argued that programmers and engineers actually in charge of software development create products and processes that waste significant amounts of money, squander customers’ loyalty, and erode competitive advantages—a process that allows talented people to continuously design bad software-based products. Software engineers have their own techniques and tools for managing the software development process instead of integrating usability and its related engineering techniques into existing software engineering (SE) methods to maximize the benefits gained (Seffah et al., 2005).
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