Usability Engineering

Usability Engineering

Scenario-Based Development of Human-Computer Interaction

1st Edition - October 12, 2001

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  • Authors: Mary Beth Rosson, John Carroll
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781558607125
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080520308

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You don't need to be convinced. You know that usability is key to the success of any interactive system-from commercial software to B2B Web sites to handheld devices. But you need skills to make usability part of your product development equation. How will you assess your users' needs and preferences? How will you design effective solutions that are grounded in users' current practices? How will you evaluate and refine these designs to ensure a quality product?Usability Engineering: Scenario-Based Development of Human-Computer Interaction is a radical departure from traditional books that emphasize theory and address experts. This book focuses on the realities of product development, showing how user interaction scenarios can make usability practices an integral part of interactive system development. As you'll learn, usability engineering is not the application of inflexible rules; it's a process of analysis, prototyping, and problem solving in which you evaluate tradeoffs, make reasoned decisions, and maximize the overall value of your product.

Key Features

  • Written by prominent HCI educators who understand how to teach usability practices to students and professional developers.
  • Interleaves HCI theory and concepts with a running case study demonstrating their application.
  • Gradually elaborates the case study to introduce increasingly sophisticated usability engineering techniques.
  • Analyzes usability issues in realistic scenarios that describe existing or envisioned systems from the perspective of one or more users.
  • Emphasizes the real world of usability engineering-a world in which tradeoffs must be weighed and difficult decisions made to achieve desired results.


Novice HCI practitioners, usability engineers, software developers, web page designers and developers, and undergraduate or graduate level computer science and engineering professors, instructors, and students.

Table of Contents




    Chapter 1 - Scenario-Based Usability Engineering

    1.1 Design by Scenario: Marissa's Gravity Project

    1.2 Managing Software Development

    1.2.1 Software Engineering

    1.2.2 Prototyping and Iterative Development

    1.3 Usability in Software Development

    1.3.1 The Emergence of Usability

    1.3.2 Usability Engineering

    1.4 Scenario-Based Usability Engineering

    1.4.1 User Interaction Scenarios

    1.4.2 Why Scenarios?

    1.5 Doing Scenario-Based Usability Engineering

    1.5.1 Analysis

    1.5.2 Design

    1.5.3 Prototyping and Evaluation

    1.5.4 Other Approaches

    1.6 Example-Based Learning of SBD

    1.6.1 Case Study: A Virtual Science Fair in MOOsburg

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 2 - Analyzing Requirements

    2.1 Analyzing Work Practices

    2.2 Getting Users Involved

    2.3 Science Fair Case Study: Requirements Analysis

    2.3.1 Root Concept

    2.3.2 Analysis of Current Practice

    2.3.3 Summarizing the Field Data

    2.3.4 Problem Scenarios and Claims

    2.3.5 Scenarios and Claims as Requirements

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 3 - Activity Design

    3.1 Designing Effective Activities

    3.2 Designing Comprehensible Activities

    3.3 Designing Satisfying Activities

    3.4 Science Fair Case Study: Activity Design

    3.4.1 Exploring the Activity Design Space

    3.4.2 Activity Design Scenarios and Claims

    3.4.3 Refining the Activity Design

    3.4.4 Participatory Design

    3.4.5 Coherence and Completeness

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 4 - Information Design

    4.1 Stages of Action in Human-Computer Interaction

    4.2 Perceiving Information

    4.2.1 Gestalt Perception

    4.2.2 Organization in User Interface Displays

    4.3 Interpreting Information

    4.3.1 Familiarity

    4.3.2 Realism and Refinement

    4.3.3 Recognizing Affordances

    4.4 Making Sense of Information

    4.4.1 Consistency

    4.4.2 Visual Metaphors

    4.4.3 Information Models

    4.4.4 Dynamic Displays

    4.5 Science Fair Case Study: Information Design

    4.5.1 Exploring the Information Design Space

    4.5.2 Information Scenarios and Claims

    4.5.3 Refining the Information Scenarios

    4.6 Consistency and Coherence

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 5 - Interaction Design

    5.1 Selecting a System Goal

    5.1.1 Interaction Style
    5.1.2 Opportunistic Goals

    5.2 Planning an Action Sequence

    5.2.1 Making Actions Obvious

    5.2.2 Simplifying Complex Plans

    5.2.3 Flexibility

    5.3 Executing an Action Sequence

    5.3.1 Directness

    5.3.2 Feedback and Undo

    5.3.3 Optimizing Performance

    5.4 Science Fair Case Study: Interaction Design

    5.4.1 Exploring the Interaction Design Space

    5.4.2 Interaction Scenarios and Claims

    5.4.3 Refining the Interaction Scenarios

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 6 - Prototyping

    6.1 Exploring User Requirements

    6.2 Choosing Among Alternatives

    6.3 Usability Testing

    6.4 Evolutionary Development

    6.5 Science Fair Case Study: Prototyping

    6.5.1 Scenario Mock-ups

    6.5.2 Scenario Machines

    6.5.3 Prototyping Alternatives

    6.5.4 Evolutionary Development

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 7 - Usability Evaluation

    7.1 Usability Specification for Evaluation

    7.2 Analytic Methods

    7.2.1 Usability Inspection

    7.2.2 Model-Based Analysis

    7.3 Empirical Methods

    7.3.1 Field Studies

    7.3.2 Usability Testing in a Laboratory

    7.3.3 Controlled Experiments

    7.4 Science Fair Case Study: Usability Evaluation

    7.4.1 Usability Inspection

    7.4.2 Developing Usability Specifications

    7.4.3 Testing Usability Specifications

    7.4.4 Assessing and Refining Usability Specifictions

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 8 - User Documentation

    8.1 The Production Paradox

    8.2 Paper and Online Manuals

    8.3 Demonstrations and Tutorials

    8.4 Information in the Interface

    8.5 Socially Mediated Documentation

    8.6 Using Context and Intelligence

    8.7 Science Fair Case Study: Documentation Design

    8.7.1 Exploring the Documentation Design Space

    8.7.2 Documentation Scenarios and Claims

    8.7.3 Refining the Documentation

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 9 - Emerging Paradigms for User Interaction

    9.1 Collaborative Systems

    9.2 Ubiquitous Computing

    9.3 Intelligent User Interfaces

    9.3.1 Natural Language and Multimodal Interaction

    9.3.2 Software Agents

    9.4 Simulation and Virtual Reality

    9.5 Science Fair Case Study: Emerging Interaction Paradigms

    9.5.1 Collaboration in the Science Fair

    9.5.2 Ubiquitous Computing in the Science Fair

    9.5.3 Intelligence in the Science Fair

    9.5.4 Simulating Reality in the Science Fair

    9.5.5 Refining the Interaction Design

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 10 - Usability Engineering in Practice

    10.1 Usability in Organizations

    10.1.1 Usability Specialists in a Development Team

    10.1.2 Cost-Justifying Usability

    10.2 Internationalization and Localization

    10.2.1 User Interface Standards

    10.2.2 Localization

    10.3 Ethics of Usability

    10.3.1 Changing Scope of Computing

    10.3.2 The Digital Divide

    10.3.3 Meeting the Needs of Special Populations

    10.3.4 Technology Evolution and Unintended Consequences

    Summary and Review


    Project Ideas

    Recommended Readings

    Appendix - Inferential Statistics





Product details

  • No. of pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Morgan Kaufmann 2001
  • Published: October 12, 2001
  • Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781558607125
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080520308

About the Authors

Mary Beth Rosson

Mary Beth Rosson has been an associate professor of computer science at Virginia Tech since 1994. Prior to that, she worked at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center as a research staff member and as manager of tools and architectures. She is the author of many contributed chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations and papers.

Affiliations and Expertise

Penn State University

John Carroll

John M. Carroll is Professor of Computer Science, Education, and Psychology, and Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction, at Virginia Tech. He has written more than 250 technical papers, more than 25 conference plenary addresses, and 12 books. He serves on 10 editorial boards for journals and handbooks, has won the Rigo Career Achievement Award from ACM, received the Silver Core Award from IFIP, and is a member of the CHI Academy.

Affiliations and Expertise

Penn State University

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