Integrating Usability Evaluations into the Software Development Process: Concepts for, and Experiences from, Remote Usability Testing

Fulvio Lizano

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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Resumé

This thesis addresses the integration of usability evaluations into the software development process. The
integration here is contextualized in terms of how to include usability evaluation as an activity in the
software development lifecycle.
Even though usability evaluations are considered as relevant and strategic human–computer interaction
(HCI) activities in the software development process, there are obstacles that limit the complete, effective
and efficient integration of this kind of testing into the software development process. Two main
obstacles are the cost of usability evaluations and the software developers' resistance to accepting users’
opinions regarding the lack of usability in their software systems.
The ‘cost obstacle’ refers to the constraint of conducting usability evaluations in the software process due
to the significant amount of resources required by this type of testing. Some strategies recommend the
use of alternative usability evaluation methods, or an improvement of the usability evaluation process, in
order to overcome this obstacle. The ‘resistance obstacle’ refers to the behavior of software developers
who do not accept users’ opinions regarding their software. In order to overcome the resistance obstacle,
some studies suggested involving software developers, alongside users, in the conduction or observation
of usability evaluations.
In this thesis, I am proposing a comprehensive approach for both obstacles by using a synchronous
remote usability testing method called remote synchronous testing. By using this method, the evaluators
and users are separated while the usability evaluations are conducted. Considering this, my overall
research question was: How can remote usability testing contribute to resolving the cost and resistance
obstacles by providing an effective and efficient integration of usability evaluations into a software
development process? In response to the research question, I conducted two surveys and a series of
empirical studies. Six published paper contributions were produced during the PhD project.
My PhD research concluded that the remote synchronous testing method can contribute to resolving both
cost and resistance obstacles. In the case of the cost obstacle, the developers can use the method to
conduct complete usability evaluations in less time. In terms of usability problems detected, the method
has similar results. The developers can integrate usability evaluations into modern software development
processes, as the agile methods, by using an iterative scheme of small tests. The efficiency of the method
relies on the fact that all the activities in the test process require much less time than at the lab, while still
obtaining similar results. In the case of the resistance obstacle, the remote synchronous testing method
can provide a practical environment where developers can interact with users in a usability evaluation
context. By doing this, the developers improve their understanding of usability and this enables an
unconscious contagion process of users’ emotions, something which will increase the developers’
empathy towards users. The efficiency of the method is grounded in the fact that it allows a remote
interaction with users, which facilitates the emotional contagion process.
OriginalsprogDansk
ForlagInstitut for Datalogi, Aalborg Universitet
Vol/bind86
Antal sider107
ISBN (Trykt)1601-0590
StatusUdgivet - 2014
NavnPh.D. thesis
ISSN1601-0590

Emneord

  • Usability Evaluation
  • software development process
  • remote usability testing
  • remote synchronous testing
  • cost obstacle
  • actual coest obstacle
  • resistance obstacle

Citer dette

Lizano, Fulvio. / Integrating Usability Evaluations into the Software Development Process : Concepts for, and Experiences from, Remote Usability Testing. Institut for Datalogi, Aalborg Universitet, 2014. 107 s. (Ph.D. thesis).
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Integrating Usability Evaluations into the Software Development Process : Concepts for, and Experiences from, Remote Usability Testing. / Lizano, Fulvio.

Institut for Datalogi, Aalborg Universitet, 2014. 107 s. (Ph.D. thesis).

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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