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Experimental evaluation of a pattern based usability inspection method

: Niebuhr, S.
: Rombach, H.D.; Schmettow, M.

Kaiserslautern, 2006, X, 161 S.
Kaiserslautern, TU, Dipl.-Arb., 2006
Fraunhofer IESE ()
usability evaluation; usability inspection method; heuristic evaluation; usability pattern inspection

To build high quality software that fits the user's requirements it is necessary to ensure this right from the beginning of the lifecycle by quality management and assurance. Next to validation of the requirements until the validation and verification of the program code, it is also very important to check the usability of the user interface of a software system.
While organizations often spend many time and costs on testing different components of the system they are building, they sometimes even forget testing the user interface. For the user this is the first impression of a system and its component he is working with. Though all functional requirements are represented in a system, the user would be discontented if he can't find them or it needs to much time to learn to use them. Therefore an evaluation of the user interface should be part of the validation and verification process as well as a review of other system documents.
The existing usability inspections that focus on the user interface are for example the usability test or the heuristic evaluation. For both it seems to be necessary to be an expert to get good results by finding existing usability problems. Though an organization, that wants to check a systems user interface has to employ a usability expert or outsource this task to another organization that deals with this. Getting new inspection methods, which don't assume experts for tests would make the validation and verification process for the user interface cheaper and more applicable.
For this purpose the Usability Pattern Inspection was developed, enabling non-experts like UI designers or developers to check the user interface. The following thesis is a first evaluation containing an experiment and a case study with the aim of deciding, whether this inspection method does find usability problems in the way it is intended to.