Dogmas in the assessment of usability evaluation methods

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Abstract:

Usability evaluation methods (UEMs) are widely recognised as an essential part of systems development. Assessments of the performance of UEMs, however, have been criticised for low validity and limited reliability. The present study extends this critique by describing seven dogmas in recent work on UEMs. The dogmas include using inadequate procedures and measures for assessment, focusing on win-lose outcomes, holding simplistic models of how usability evaluators work, concentrating on evaluation rather than on design and working from the assumption that usability problems are real. We discuss research approaches that may help move beyond the dogmas. In particular, we emphasise detailed studies of evaluation processes, assessments of the impact of UEMs on design carried out in real-world systems development and analyses of how UEMs may be combined.

Keywords: downstream utility; formative evaluation; methodology; usability evaluation methods; usability testing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01449290801939400

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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