A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


21 found.

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Analyse Context of Use

Who are the intended offsiteuser and what are their offsitetask? (Why will they use the system? What is their experience and expertise?) What are the offsitetechnical and offsiteenvironmental constraints? (What types of hardware will be used in what organisational, technical and physical environments?)

UsabilityNet (2006). Articles>Usability>Methods>Contextual Inquiry


The Business Case for Usability

The benefits of usability engineering extend beyond improving the user interface and end user productivity: its beneficiaries include not only end users but also developers and their companies. User centred design can reduce software and e-commerce costs (including development, support, training, documentation and maintenance costs), shorten development time and improve marketability.

UsabilityNet (2004). Articles>Usability>Business Case


Card Sorting

This is a method for discovering the latent structure in an unsorted list of statements or ideas. The investigator writes each statement on a small index card and requests six or more informants to sort these cards into groups or clusters, working on their own. The results of the individual sorts are then combined and if necessary analysed statistically.

UsabilityNet (2006). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting


Content Analysis

This is a method of summarising a large body of fairly short statements into a small statistical table in a report. The method described here presupposes a spreadsheet; you can find specialised computer programs for doing the same thing.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Methods


Discussion Lists

A collection of links to mailing lists on a variety of usability-related topics.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Directories>Mailing Lists>Usability


Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic evaluation is a form of usability inspection where usability specialists judge whether each element of a user interface follows a list of established usability heuristics. Expert evaluation is similar, but does not use specific heuristics. Usually two to three analysts evaluate the system with reference to established guidelines or principles, noting down their observations and often ranking them in order of severity. The analysts are usually experts in human factors or HCI, but others, less experienced have also been shown to report valid problems. A heuristic or expert evaluation can be conducted at various stages of the development lifecycle, although it is preferable to have already performed some form of context analysis to help the experts focus on the circumstances of actual or intended product usage.

UsabilityNet (2005). Resources>Usability>Methods>Heuristic Evaluation


Manager Forum

A positive user experience is critical to the success of your business. Improving the usability of offerings is a sound business strategy, and by following good engineering practices, you can do this, delighting your users, differentiating yourselves from your competition, and enhancing your success.

UsabilityNet. Careers>Management>Usability



A table of usability methods based upon varying conditions (limited time/resources, no direct access to users, or limited skills/expertise) and categories (planning and feasibility, requirements, design, implementation, test and measure, post release).

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability


Performance Testing

Performance testing is a rigorous usability evaluation of a working system under realistic conditions to identify usability problems and to compare measures such as success rate, task time and user satisfaction with requirements.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Testing


Questionnaire Resources

Questionnaires are the most frequently used tools for usability evaluation. This page is a list of usability questionnaire resources, extending the information presented on the questionnaires page of Usabilitynet.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Methods>Surveys


Rapid Prototyping

In rapid prototyping interactive prototypes are developed which can be quickly replaced or changed in line with design feedback. This feedback may be derived from colleagues or users as they work with the prototype to accomplish set tasks. This method is concerned with developing different proposed concepts through software or hardware prototypes, and evaluating them. In general the process is termed ‘rapid’ prototyping. The development of a simulation or prototype of the future system can be very helpful, allowing users to visualise the system and provide feedback on it. Thus it can be used to clarify user requirements options. Later on in the lifecycle, it can also be used to specify details of the user interface to be included in the future system.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Project Management>Management



User and usability requirements should be well-defined and integrated into relevant product requirements specification. The purposes of usability methods at this stage are to collect information about the user interface, users, tasks and environments, and to agree what aspects should be formalised as requirements.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Planning>Project Management


Style Guides

Style guides are used to provide a consistent look and feel. They should be defined as part of usability requirements and conformance should be monitored during development.

UsabilityNet. Articles>Web Design>Style Guides


Task Analysis Methods

Task analysis analyses what a user is required to do in terms of actions and/or cognitive processes to achieve a task. A detailed task analysis can be conducted to understand the current system and the information flows within it. These information flows are important to the maintenance of the existing system and must be incorporated or substituted in any new system. Task analysis makes it possible to design and allocate tasks appropriately within the new system. The functions to be included within the system and the user interface can then be accurately specified.

UsabilityNet (2006). Articles>Usability>Methods


University Courses in Usbility

Check the web sites for the details of each course, as they may change each term or year.

UsabilityNet. Academic>Courses>Usability


Usability Issues in Web Site Design   (PDF)

Unless a web site meets the needs of the intended users it will not meet the needs of the organisation providing the web site. Web site development should be user-centred, evaluating the evolving design against user requirements. The first step is to define the business objectives, the intended context of use and key scenarios of use. This helps prioritise design and provides a focus for evaluation. The design should take account of established guidelines for web writing style, navigation and page design. The site structure and page design should be evaluated by representative end users. Management and maintenance is important to maintain usability.

Bevan, Nigel. UsabilityNet (1998). Articles>Web Design>Usability



A project funded by the European Union to promote usability and user-centered design.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability


UsabilityNet: International Standards

Standards related to usability can be categorised as primarily concerned with: the use of the product (effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a particular context of use); the user interface and interaction; the process used to develop the product; the capability of an organisation to apply user centred design

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>International>Specifications


UsabilityNet: Usability Report Formats

It is advantageous to use a standard format for writing up usability reports. The reasons for this include: your clients will be familiar with the layout of information in your reports; the structure acts as a checklist in case you've missed something out; reports from different labs are comparable; there is a common consensus as to what should appear in a report.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Reports


User Surveys for Design

User surveys are a means of finding out how the software or web site is likely to be used by a specific set of users, and who these users are likely to be. The answers user surveys provide must be relevant to the issues that are important to the design team. User surveys are traditionally carried out by post, but increasingly, the internet is used for this purpose.

UsabilityNet. Resources>Usability>Methods>Surveys


What is the Value of Enhancing Your User's Experience?

Nowadays, people expect things to simply work - no prior reading and certainly no training. Either they can gain immediate value, or they will move on. So it's win or lose, based on the initial user experience. For many organizations, this user experience is directly mapped to business success.

UsabilityNet (2006). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Usability

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