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A cognitive walkthrough of Autopsy Forensic Browser

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review the usability of the Autopsy Forensic Browser in order to improve future versions of this, or similar, tools. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The software Autopsy Forensic Browser was analysed for usability using a cognitive walkthrough approach. Findings ‐ The results of the evaluation indicate that there are many areas where usability could be improved and these are classified into areas of eight overlapping areas. Examples from each area are presented, with suggestions as to methods to alleviate them. Research limitations/implications ‐ The review is limited by the use of the "expert evaluator" approach rather than using a user-based evaluation. This would tend to mean that some of the usability errors would be "false positives", while some usability issues were not uncovered. A user-based evaluation could be a future project. Practical implications ‐ Usability could be improved of the Autopsy Forensic Browser and developers of such systems should engage with the usability and interaction design community to enhance their software. It would be helpful for users, if future versions of the software take account of the findings of the paper. Originality/value ‐ This is one of the first reviews of the usability of forensic analysis software and the first for the Autopsy Forensic Browser system. The value is the findings suggest practical ways to enhance usability, which will impact on the effectiveness of investigators.

Keywords: Computer software; Crime research; Software tools; User interfaces

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09685220910944731

Publication date: March 20, 2009

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