While The Observer is a generic package for observational research, the user interface and terminology of Usabilityware have been tailored to the usability practitioner. For instance, where The Observer uses data records with actor, behavior and modifiers, records in Usabilityware have task and category as standard fields. Usabilityware makes use of "Quick Key Codes" which are unique codes for each Task and Category within a project. So instead of having to type 'Task One - the participant installed the software', one can just hit the '1' key on the keyboard (or whatever key one assigns to Task One), and Usabilityware does the rest. This allows one to concentrate on observing, not typing. One can also add new key codes during a logging session.
Observed events can be summarized in "Usability Hit Lists", where comments can be added and observations can be sorted by task or category. This minimizes the route from the test lab back to the design or documentation department. Along with allowing one to create highlight tapes, Usabilityware allows one to work with digital video files (AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, etc.), which can be analyzed right on screen. From there, one can also create 'Edit Decision Lists' which can be exported to a digital video editing package giving one the ability to efficiently create highlight videos.
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