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Usability professionals: current practices and future development
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Human-Computer Interaction. MDI.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Human-Computer Interaction. MDI.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Human-Computer Interaction. MDI.
2006 (English)In: Interacting with computers, ISSN 0953-5438, E-ISSN 1873-7951, Vol. 18, no 4, 568-600 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The usability concept has now received such a wide recognition in information technology (IT) development that working with usability can be regarded as a profession in its own right. In recent research projects, we have surveyed and studied usability work on an individual level in a number of Swedish development organisations, including success factors and obstacles. What we have seen relates to the individual usability professional and her background and experiences, the organisation in which she operates, the development process, communication and communication means, and finally the attitudes and basic values held by the people involved.

In this paper, we compile and reflect on selected findings from different studies on usability work in practical systems1 development in a number of Swedish organisations. We discuss our findings from a practical point of view and relate them to the research of others within the international HCI community. Finally, we discuss some issues we consider important for the future development of the practice of usability that we believe is of interest to the international community of usability professionals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 18, no 4, 568-600 p.
Keyword [en]
Usability, Design, User-centred design, Organisation, Software development, Practice, Role, Profession
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-76433DOI: 10.1016/j.intcom.2005.10.005ISI: 000238876500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-76433DiVA: diva2:104345
Available from: 2006-03-21 Created: 2006-03-21 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A Fine Balance: Addressing Usability and Users’ Needs in the Development of IT Systems for the Workplace
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Fine Balance: Addressing Usability and Users’ Needs in the Development of IT Systems for the Workplace
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

IT systems with poor usability are a serious problem in many workplaces. Many workers, particularly office workers, spend a large part of their workday at the computer, and usability problems can cause frustration and impact negatively on productivity. This thesis discusses some of the problems associated with addressing usability and users’ needs in IT systems development.

Usability issues and users’ needs are often marginalised or even abandoned in systems development. Technical issues and deadlines are given precedence, while usability activities and user activities are cut back or cancelled. Research shows that there are various obstacles to usability and user involvement, including difficulties with understanding the usability concept, insufficient usability expertise and a lack of time and resources.

This thesis presents a number of studies that look at the problem from different angles. The main question is why usability and users’ needs are marginalised in bespoke systems development, where IT systems are built for a specific work context. The research presented in this thesis also addresses user-centred systems design as a way of integrating usability issues and users’ needs into systems development. The thesis concludes with a discussion about different ways of viewing and representing the users’ work: the systems theoretical view and the view of work as a social process. The former emphasises the formal aspects of work and views users as components in an overall system, whereas the latter focuses on work as a social process and people as active agents. The discussion concludes with the argument that the conflict between these two views is played out in the systems development process, which may help explain some of the difficulties that arise when working with usability and users’ needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2005. 85 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 95
Keyword
human-computer interaction, usability, usability professional, usability practitioner, user-centred design, user-centred systems design, IT systems development
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-5947 (URN)91-554-6353-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-10-21, 1211, Hus 1, Polacksbacken, MIC, Uppsala, 13:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-09-30 Created: 2005-09-30 Last updated: 2013-07-03Bibliographically approved

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Gulliksen, JanBoivie, Inger

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