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Re: evaluating ease of use

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  • 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 1 of 6 , Feb 4 11:01 AM
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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 2 of 6 , Feb 5 11:31 AM
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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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