Tracing Impact in a Usability Improvement Process

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Analyzing usability improvement processes as they take place in real-life organizations is necessary to understand the practice of usability work. This paper describes a case study where the usability of an information system is improved and a relationship between the improvements and the evaluation efforts is established. Results show that evaluation techniques complemented each other by suggesting different kinds of usability improvement. Among the techniques applied, a combination of questionnaires and Metaphors of Human Thinking (MOT) showed the largest mean impact and MOT produced the largest number of impacts. Logging of real-life use of the system over 6 months indicated six aspects of improved usability, where significant differences among evaluation techniques were found. Concerning five of the six aspects Think Aloud evaluations and the above-mentioned combination of questionnaire and MOT performed equally well, and better than MOT. Based on the evaluations 40 redesign proposals were developed and 30 of these were implemented. Four of the implemented redesigns where considered especially important. These evolved with inspiration from multiple evaluations and were informed by stakeholders with different kinds of expertise. Our results suggest that practitioners should not rely on isolated evaluations. Instead complementing techniques should be combined, and people with different expertise should be involved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)48-63
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ID: 1245536