A review of the literature in the increased utilization of computer technology is the availability of software. Techniques must be developed to reduce the effort required to develop and maintain software and the availability of software developers must be increased.
Usability is an inherent measurable property of all interactive digital technologies Human-Computer Interaction researchers and Interaction Design professionals have developed evaluation methods that determine whether or not an interactive system or device is usable. Where a system or device is usable, usability evaluation methods also determine the extent of its usability, through the use of robust, objective and reliable metrics Evaluation methods and metrics are thoroughly documented in the Human-Computer Interaction research and practitioner literature.
People wishing to develop expertise in usability measurement and evaluation can read about these methods, learn how to apply them, and become proficient in determining whether or not an interactive system or device is usable, and if so, to what extent.
The above propositions represent an ideal. We need to understand where current research and practice fall short of this ideal, and to what extent. Where there are still gaps between ideals and realities, we need to understand how methods and metrics can be improved to close this gap.
As with any intellectual endeavour, we should proceed with an open mind, and acknowledge that not only are some or all of the above propositions not true, but that they can never be so. We may have to close some doors here, but in doing so, we will be better equipped to open new ones, and even go through them.
For others, it remains important, but only as one of several key concerns for interaction design. It would be good to start with a definition of usability, but we are in contended territory here. Definitions will be presented in relation to specific positions on usability. You must choose one that fits your design philosophy.
Three alternative definitions are offered below. It would also be good to describe how usability is evaluated, but alternative understandings of usability result in different practices.
Professional practice is very varied, and much does not generalise from one project to the next. Evaluators must choose how to evaluate. Evaluations have to be designed, and designing requires making choices. For their first three decades of computing, almost all users were highly trained specialists of expensive centralised equipment.
A trend towards less well trained users began in the s with the introduction of timesharing and minicomputers. With the use of PCs in the s, computer users increasingly had no, or only basic, training on operating systems and applications software. However, software design practices continued to implicitly assume knowledgeable and competent users, who would be familiar with technical vocabularies and systems architectures, and also possess an aptitude for solving problems arising from computer usage.
Such implicit assumptions rapidly became unacceptable. For the typical user, interactive computing became associated with constant frustrations and consequent anxieties.
Computers were obviously too hard to use for most users, and often absolutely unusable.
Usability thus became a key goal for the design of any interactive software that would not be used by trained technical computer specialists.
Both usability and user-friendliness were initially understood to be a property of interactive software. Software either was usable or not. Unusable software could be made usable through re-design.
Courtesy of Boffy b Copyright terms and licence: Courtesy of Jeremy Banks. Copyright terms and licence: Courtesy of Berkeley Lab. At the same time, the focus of HCI shifted to contexts of use Cockton Quality in use no longer appeared to be a simple issue of how inherently usable an interactive system was, but how well it fitted its context of use.
Quality in use became a preferred alternative term to usability in international standards work, since it avoided implications of usability being an absolute context-free invariant property of an interactive system.
Around the turn of the century, the rise of networked digital media e. Current understandings of usability are thus different from those from the early days of HCI in the s. Since then, ease of use has improved though both attention to interaction design and improved levels of IT literacy across much of the population in advanced economies.
Usability is no longer automatically the dominant concern in interaction design. It remains important, with frustrating experiences of difficult to use digital technologies still commonplace. When PCs, mobile phones and the internet are instrumental in major international upheavals such as the Arab Spring ofthe value of digital technologies can massively eclipse their shortcomings.
Through this hole, a freely accessible computer was made available for people in the adjoining slum of Kalkaji.Recently, human factors have become of great interest in the software engineering field as well, due to the fact that software development process commonly depends on human- centered activities .
Although human factors have been proved to have impact on software development process, unfortunately they have been overlooked by the researchers in the software engineering and development research areas.
The following literature review addresses the effects of various stressors on cognition. While attempting to be as inclusive as possible, the review focuses its examination on the relationships between cognitive appraisal, attention, memory, and stress as they relate to .
While much of the available literature will not directly aid in the development of human factors guidelines, there is a significant base of information to aid in guideline development.
This information is detailed in the following sections. Human Factors is often used interchangeably with User Interface Design or Human-Computer Interface. There is a lot of overlap in these disciplines; however, Human Factors generally refers to hardware design while HCI generally refers to software design.
Paul Green is a Research Professor in the Human Factors Division at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering.