Handbook of Human Factors Testing and Evaluation

Handbook of Human Factors Testing and Evaluation

Handbook of Human Factors Testing and Evaluation

Handbook of Human Factors Testing and Evaluation

Excerpt

Why a book on human factors test and evaluation? Quite simply because we feel that test and evaluation is one of the most important applications of human factors information. Human factors test and evaluation is the principal means of ensuring that systems and products will be effective and usable before they are placed in the hands of the using public. As such, human factors test and evaluation has a significant impact on the system development process, while remaining more or less inconspicuous to the using public. Stated more formally, we offer the following definition: Human factors test and evaluation is the measurement and characterization of the interaction of human-system components, hardware, software, procedures, and humans, in terms of performance (effectiveness) and user satisfaction (suitability). How those interactions are measured and characterized, and how the results are conveyed to others in the system development process is the subject of this book.

Much of the material in this volume is not new, there are no new research findings or technological breakthroughs reported here. We do, however, hope that the chapters contain something of interest for every reader. Experienced testers will find much that is familiar, but also a few new tools and techniques. Newcomers to human factors test and evaluation, we hope, will discover the wide range of issues and methodologies that make up our field. Experts in a particular field may be disappointed by the amount of coverage given to their specialty. We have elected, however, to sacrifice the depth of a comprehensive theoretical review in favor of a broad coverage of practical tools and issues. This orientation reflects the nature of human factors test and evaluation, a discipline that, in our experience, requires a rich general knowledge of human factors and a pragmatic orientation rather than a specialized theoretical background.

Design engineers recognizing the practical need to consider the human operator and maintainer early in system design will find this work of value as well.

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