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Assessing user interfaces for diverse user groups: evaluation strategies and defining characteristics

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User interface designers are challenged to design for diverse users, including those of different genders, cultures and abilities; however, little research has been directed at this problem. One factor which may inhibit such research is its cost. This paper presents an approach which offers a way to seek out important characteristics of designs in a cost-effective way and reports on the results. In a study reported here, subjects from different nationalities and of both genders evaluated three dialog boxes specifically designed for 'white American women'. 'European adult male intellectuals', and 'English-speaking-internationals'. The dialog boxes were evaluated with conjoint techniques of preference rankings, and factor-analysed adjective ratings. These results showed that female subjects had stronger and more consistent patterns of preferences than the male subjects. All subjects preferred interfaces rated high on an accessibility factor and disliked complex layouts; this effect was even stronger for women. Nationality did not effect ratings. Gender had a stronger effect on the outcome than nationality.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1996-05-01

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