Human Computer Interface Usability

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HINF 521
Usability Testing

The “Human-Computer Interaction” (HCI) provides a foundation for assessing the effectiveness and acceptance of a computer system by the constituent users. The construct of human-computer interaction relative to usability examines how people and computers interact. Usability is concerned with the synergy of humans and computers. It is a multidimensional assessment addressing the following aspects of interaction:

1. Ease of use
2. Ease of learning
3. Ability to assimilate new methods of interaction
4. User satisfaction
5. Efficiency
6. Error checking
7. Degree of integration
(Rubin, 1994)

In a broad view of usability we are concerned with system efficiency, satisfaction and effectiveness. System efficiency is concerned with resource usage, cost, time, energy, productivity, and integration within the overall information systems strategy of an organization. Effectiveness includes determining if the application meets the basic requirements of the system. Aspects of effectiveness include functionality, information/task flow, safety, transfer of data, accuracy, and security. Satisfaction is the perception on the part of the users of the value of the system, the ease of use, and the user’s assessment of the quality of the output, end product, or outcomes delivered by the system. (Lin, Choong, Salvendy, 1997)

To answer the question posed in this module, it is important to understand that the impact of usability testing is, in large part, dependent on the type of system being tested. Testing for a clinical information system, let’s say an electronic health record, would be quite different than the testing for a physiological monitoring system. Rogers, Patterson, Chapman, & Render (1997) offer an in-depth review of scenario-based usability testing for wireless medication administration and computerized order entry systems in the clinical setting. They posit “In addition to providing new...
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