Usability Evaluation Methods
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science,
Dublin Institute of Technology,
Kevin Street, Dublin 8, Ireland.
Tel: +353 (1) 4024835,
Fax: +353 (1) 4024994
School of Computing,
Beaconside, Stafford ST 18 ODG,
Tel: +44 1785 353428,
Fax: +44 1785 353431
To support software usability evaluation, commercial usability evaluation methods have been developed. These methods are practical implementations of generic methods and incorporate good professional practice and industry standards. Many of these methods predate ISO 9000-3 ( 1997), ISO/DIS 9241-11 ( 1995) and the EU Directive on display screen equipment (Council Directive (90/270/EEC 1990).
Strategic managers and IS professionals need to know that new systems (being developed, purchased or re-engineered legacy systems) comply with these standards and legislation. Developers wishing to comply with evaluation of designs against user requirements (ISO 13407 1997) must show their "process and rationale for the selection of methods and measures used". These professionals need usability evaluation support to help them to select and justify commercial usability evaluation methods appropriate to their projects.
The commercial methods for usability evaluation that exist do not necessarily evaluate similar usability attributes. SUMI measures user attitudes to an existing interface while MUSE (a structured Method for USability Engineering) is concerned with validating usability requirements analysis and usability specification. More commercial usability evaluation methods are evolving ( Linet al. 1997) and this gives rise to a number of need-to-know issues which include: