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Encyclopedia > Usability engineering

Usability engineering is a subset of human factors that is specific to computer science and is concerned with the question of how to design software that is easy to use. It is closely related to the field of human-computer interaction and industrial design. See also usability, usability testing.

Among the leading proponents of this field of study are Donald Norman and Jakob Nielsen. Nielsen has written a book on the subject, aptly titled Usability Engineering, which was published in 1994.

The subject is considered of sufficient importance that a number of universities include a usability engineering course as part of the computer science curriculum.

See also user interface engineering

  Results from FactBites:
Guerrilla HCI (8250 words)
I recently had a meeting to discuss usability engineering with the head of computer science for one of the world's most famous laboratories, and when discussing the needed number of subjects for various tests, he immediately referred to the need for test results to be statistically significant to be worth collecting.
Those usability parameters that have no goals set for improvement risk being left behind as the attention of the usability engineer is concentrated on the official goals.
Forty of these problems are denoted "core" usability problems and were found in the part of the interface that was subjected to intensive evaluation, whereas the remaining four problems were discovered in parts of the interface that we had not planned to study as part of the heuristic evaluation.
UsabilityNet: Usability Planning (569 words)
Usability planning provides an important means of managing individual usability activities as well as the overall role played by usability input within a software engineering programme.
Usability planning should be carried out for all development projects, but in particular development projects purporting a high degree of user-centred design.
As a part of the usability planning exercise a cost-benefit analysis may be required to indicate that it is worth making an investment in further user-centred design activities.
  More results at FactBites »



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