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RE: [agile-usability] evaluating ease of use

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  • Scharn, David
    Hi Andrea, You might want to review Quesenbery s article, What Does Usability Mean: Looking Beyond Ease of Use.
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 4, 2009
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      Hi Andrea,

       

      You might want to review Quesenbery’s article, What Does Usability Mean: Looking Beyond Ease of Use.

      http://www.wqusability.com/articles/more-than-ease-of-use.html

       

      She proposes ways to evaluate/define ease of use. Some of her characteristics are measurable (effective, efficient, error tolerant, easy to learn). These are characteristics of the product that you can quantify, which should help make your evaluation more objective. The numbers will justify your recommendation.

       

      Dave Scharn

      Interaction Designer

      Kronos

      978.947.4518

       

      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of roosriders
      Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 11:06 AM
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [agile-usability] evaluating ease of use

       

      I am currently involved in a project to evaluate two similar products
      to determine which one should be end-of-lifed and which we should
      continue to sell. The products are web hosting platforms that
      customers access and managed via a gui interface.
      Of course this will be an extremely politically charged issue, thus I
      would like to use some recognized usability criteria for evaluation and
      ultimately move forward with the product that is easiest for our
      customers to use.
      I was thinking of creating some task based criteria. For example, how
      many steps does it take a user to create a simple website or add email
      user accounts. What other ways could i evaluate the products? Has
      anyone ever done this type of evaluation before?
      I don't want to get bogged down in how the information should be
      presented (because I out of my league on that type of evaluation) and
      will recommend that an expert take on that job.
      I look forward to any advice and guidance.
      Thank you,
      Andrea

    • Andy Edmonds
      There is a now ISO standard method for summative , aka late stage evaluative, usability testing. The standard originated from an effort by NIST called the
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 4, 2009
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        There is a now ISO standard method for "summative", aka late stage
        evaluative, usability testing.

        The standard originated from an effort by NIST called the common
        industry format (CIF).
        http://www.google.com/search?q=common+industry+format
        http://zing.ncsl.nist.gov/iusr/

        This provides a highly rigorous way of designing, conducting, and even
        presenting the results of a test.

        Doing not just one but two tests may be beyond your available scope,
        in which case, I second the suggestion of using Nielsen's heuristics
        as objective criteria starting points.

        Cheers,
        Andy
        http://uxagile.com

        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "roosriders" <roosriders@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I am currently involved in a project to evaluate two similar
        products
        > to determine which one should be end-of-lifed and which we should
        > continue to sell. The products are web hosting platforms that
        > customers access and managed via a gui interface.
        ...
        > What other ways could i evaluate the products? Has
        > anyone ever done this type of evaluation before?
        > I don't want to get bogged down in how the information should be
        > presented (because I out of my league on that type of evaluation)
        and
      • Huey.DLL@gte.net
        Hello Andrea, I d like to comment on this issue because we re going through a similar set of events. My employer has bought up several competing products and
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 5, 2009
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          Hello Andrea,
           
          I'd like to comment on this issue because we're going through a similar
          set of events.  My employer has bought up several competing products
          and has sent a new manager around looking for products that can be
          end of lifed to save money.
           
          The products share nothing in common other than some of the tasks
          they perform.  Some similarities include the ability to initiate pages,
          send emails, and manage alarm systems.  All the product lines have
          an existing customer base, each of which may be offended by end-
          of-lifing a product that they are used to.
           
          I brought this issue up with management because they didn't realize
          that they were doing useless work.  You see each of the product lines
          that have overlapping functionality are stable code bases.  There are
          enhancements elsewhere but no real ongoing maintenance.
          Combining the products by eliminating "paging" from one product
          in order to use the "paging" system of another was actually more
          work at this point.
           
          Worse management bought up these competing lines, allowed
          development of all products to continue for a year and suddenly
          want to axe something.  They didn't notice that while the various
          products did compete against one another, there were clear
          preferences given by customers as to which products they
          wanted to have.  The actual overlap didn't amount to much.
          The customers have also rejected the notion that one product
          meets all potential customer needs.  Each product was created
          with a specific usability and functionality to address.  In the end,
          management has backed off the focus of actally axing products
          just to save costs.
           
          We've entered a period where each of the groups have tried to
          cooperate more and management has started to see where each
          development group has something to offer the company as a
          whole.  Some groups are better at Agile Development, one
          is better at producing features at a low cost, and another has
          some moderate success at providing a better user experience.
          At this point managment has finally taken the approach that
          they want to look at what works and then make decisions.
          Blindly cutting off projects doesn't make sense in this case.
           
          David


          Feb 3, 2009 03:09:13 PM, agile-usability@yahoogroups.com wrote:
          I am currently involved in a project to evaluate two similar products
          to determine which one should be end-of-lifed and which we should
          continue to sell. The products are web hosting platforms that
          customers access and managed via a gui interface.
          Of course this will be an extremely politically charged issue, thus I
          would like to use some recognized usability criteria for evaluation and
          ultimately move forward with the product that is easiest for our
          customers to use.
          I was thinking of creating some task based criteria. For example, how
          many steps does it take a user to create a simple website or add email
          user accounts. What other ways could i evaluate the products? Has
          anyone ever done this type of evaluation before?
          I don't want to get bogged down in how the information should be
          presented (because I out of my league on that type of evaluation) and
          will recommend that an expert take on that job.
          I look forward to any advice and guidance.
          Thank you,
          Andrea
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