User centred design and usability testing
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This topic is a central issue in all projects applying interactive electronic publishing techniques. If users are not involved at an early stage in the design of information systems then money will be wasted correcting design errors at a later stage. Many think that user centred design is a complicated and expensive procedure. It does not have to be.
VNET5 offers workshops for practical introduction to user validation, and a "Best Practice Manual for User Validation". These are addressed at projects: in the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme; which develop electronic information products; supported by the European Commission. The goal is to plan user validation effectively right from the start into the project plan to assure that attractive products and services are created which enhance productivity and quality of life. VNET5 aims to:
promote user-centred product creation and a common approach to user validation
raise the level of skills and competence of user-centred product creation and validation in IST projects
analyse generic requirements for user acceptance of electronic information products and services
document and disseminate resources for user-centred product creation and validation.
Further information on VNET5 is published on the web site below.
Usability Engineering is the discipline of supporting the entire development process of electronic information applications with user-centred design and user validation activities. The result is the creation of applications which are fit for their intended use and are of added value to the intended users. We published a page on El.pub in 2000 entitled: "User centred design". Whilst it was published some time ago now, the principles outlined, and the resources avalable for download are still worth consideration.
Jakob Nielsen - Web usability column
Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru, produces a monthly column on Web design called Alertbox, users can subscribe to an alerter service on the site.
Web Review's usability articles
Web Review publishes a series of articles on Web usability by consultant Keith Instone, who applies usability engineering practices to the Web. The series aims to raise awareness of usability by considering the users, the tasks they are trying to accomplish, and the context of their usage.
URL: Web Review http://webreview.com
URL: usability articles http://webreview.com/97/05/30/usability/index.html
Usability issues in web site design
Serco Usability Services provides usability and user-centred design services. The company offer expert and user-based evaluation, and informal prototyping as well as training in the latest tools and laboratory services. The web site offers a information on web design, usability standards, publications and associated links.
A major resource is the bi-monthly ACM publication, Interactions. The Perlman web site, related to that publication is maintained by Gary Perlman of Computer & Information Science at Ohio State University. This site and the UK HCI site contain extensive links to HCI organisations around the world, to online resources such as books and papers, to individual experts and give links and advice to the various Internet Newsgroups run on the subject.
Other web sites
Software process management
The European Software Institute (ESI), a major industrial initiative focuses on the improvement, dissemination and usage of processes critical for software intensive systems development, procurement, quality and maintenance.
URL: European Software Institute http://www.esi.es/
URL: Software Engineering Institute http://www.sei.cmu.edu/
Managing Digital Information
The conference proceedings from a European Multimedia Forum event entitled: "Digital Information: Towards Creative and Innovative Strategies" are available online. Held on 28 March 2000, in Brussels, the event was run by the EMF and three of its partner organisations, FIBEP (International Federation of Press Clipping Services), INNA (International Newsreel and Newsfilms Association) and VIW (Austrian Information Industry Association).
According to the organisers, industry leaders and policy makers who attended the event, subjected "the future of the online information industry to a thorough investigation".
URL: Summary http://www.emf.be/cal/0300/0300sum.html
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Last up-dated: 8 February 2018
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