Design Issues and Usability

Topics: Software development process, Design, Software engineering Pages: 2 (416 words) Published: January 31, 2006
Design issues and Usability
Alicia Perales
University of Texas at El Paso
Alfredo Sanchez, MBA
Computer Programming II
July 2, 2005

Key design issues related to human factors characteristic of a GUI. One of the key issues when designing a GUI is that developer must focus on the end user, and make the user the "front and center" throughout the GUI development process. User-Centered design is a method where developers stay attuned to the concerns, thought processes, habits, and preferences of the people targeted to use their products will develop interfaces and services that are easier to use, have greater functionality and usefulness, and are more pleasant for their customers (Rubin, 1994). Therefore, one of the most important activities to have a more efficient design is to gather the necessary information. The "requirements gathering" has been an essential element of the software design process (Boehm, 1988). The only way to precisely find what people will be able to use is to gather information directly from the users themselves. This can be accomplished by conducting interviews, questioners and observing users. However, some methods are more successful than others at bringing users and designers close together. Describe how usability and software quality are related?

If UCD is the method that guides an effective development process, usability may be perceived as the end result. Usability was once known simply as "user-friendliness" (Norman & Draper, 1986), nowadays usability has become the quality software measurement for interactive software. The usability testing perhaps is one of the most valuable tools for designers. This method allows the designers to observe the actions of the target user population first-hand. Usability testing allows designers to observe genuine users performing real tasks and situation. Most of the time usability testing is conducted in a laboratory environment for observation and collection of data. However, to make...

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Dumas, J. S., & Redish, J. C. (2000). A practical guide to usability testing.
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Norman, D. A., & Draper, S. W. (1986). Introduction. In D. A. Norman & S. W.
Draper (Eds.), User centered system design: New perspectives on human-computer
interaction (pp. 1-6). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Rubin, J. (1994). Handbook of usability testing: How to plan, design, and conduct effective tests.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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