Usability evaluation methods in practice: Understanding the context in which they are embedded

in ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, Conference paper (text)


Motivation - To address a knowledge gap in why usability evaluation methods (UEMs) are adopted and adapted in professional usability practice. Research approach - The approach is qualitative. A grounded theory of usability practitioners is being developed. 10 interviews have been conducted in the website domain; and a similar study has begun in the safety-critical domain. These studies will be compared and combined to produce a more general theory. Findings/Design - Findings suggest UEM adoption and adaptation cannot be fully understood devoid of context. So their fit with a broader system of usability practice has to be established. Results suggest that usability practice can be thought of as a plug and play component to fit a wider design and business process. A Positive Functional Resonance Model could provide leverage in explaining how UEMs are adopted and adapted to fit into the wider system of usability practice, to maximise potential under constrained resources. Originality/Value - An explanation of UEM use through functional resonance provides understanding of UEM adoption and adaptation in practice. Take away message - Valuing UEMs using problem identification as a measure is highly limited. UEM adoption and adaptation should be explained within the broader context of the design and business process.