Usability Analysis and Technical Feasibility Tests

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 4
Words: 855
Reading time:
4 min

Usability analysis is defined as an examination of the information system’s human-computer interaction (HCI). HCI study is the area of the juncture of social sciences streams like psychology and social sciences, on the one hand, and computer science and technology, on the other. HCI researchers have analyzed and designed detailed user interface technologies (e.g., pointing devices). These studies have improved the various processes of technology development (e.g., task analysis, design rationale). They are responsible for developing and assessing new applications of technology (e.g., word processors, digital libraries).

According to Agre, the case in which a usability analysis was developed into a study of the malleability of user awareness about privacy. The heuristic analysis method is also considered to be an informal method of usability analysis. Precedent researches on HCI have increasingly integrated the scientific concerns with the engineering goal of improving the usability of computer systems and applications. This has led to the creation of a body of technical knowledge and methodology. This led to the emergence of the idea of usability engineering. There are three notions regarding usability analysis:

Usability analysis theoretically differs from technical analysis according to the above discussion. Technical analysis implies that there exists a proper understanding of a measure of the practicality of a technical solution and the availability of technical resources and expertise. Clearly, from this viewpoint, the two are different, but there are disagreements.

The quality used on the whole in a system includes all factors which might influence the usability of a product in the real world, after inclusion of organizational factors such as working practices and the location or appearance of a product, and differences between individual users such as those due to cultural factors and bigotry. This type of extensive approach has the advantage of concentrating on the real purpose of designing a product. It is usable by the users of the product for doing real tasks in a real technical, physical, and organizational environment.

The term usability usually is defined narrowly. Sometimes it is defined specifically to the usability attributes of a system, e.g., the definition of usability as a software quality in ISO/IEC 126:

A set of attributes of software which bear on the effort needed for use and on the individual assessment of such use by a stated or implied set of users.

This definition demonstrates a relationship for a product-centered approach that is concerned with the usability attributes of the software, which is useful in determining the usability in a specific context. The attributes for demonstrating the usability of the system contribute to the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which particular users attain specific goals in particular environments. But the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction also depend on the other qualities demonstrated in the software, such as functionality, reliability, and system efficiency, in addition to the relevant aspects of the context of use. The usability qualities of software are thus encompassed only one contribution to the quality of use of an overall system. The usability of a product is thus defined as the ability of a product to be used with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction by specified users to achieve specified goals in particular environments.

Usability can be viewed for various purposes, which primarily focus on one or more of the following complimentary views:

  • The product-centered view of usability: this view emphasizes that the usability of software is the characteristics of the software which contribute towards the quality of use;
  • The context of use view of usability: that usability depends on the nature of the user, product, task, and environment;
  • The quality of use view of usability: that usability is the outcome of interaction and can be measured by the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.

While measuring usability, it is important that the conditions for a test of usability are representative of important aspects of the overall context of use. Unless evaluation of usability can take place in conditions of actual use, it will be necessary to decide which attributes of the actual or intended context of use are to be represented in the context used for evaluation. While specifying or evaluating usability, it is therefore important that the context selected represent the important phases of the actual or intended context of use. In particular, special consideration should be specified to those attributes which are judged to contain a noteworthy impact on the quality of use of the overall system.

Candidate systems matrix is a form of feasibility analysis for systems. It is a tool used to document similarities and differences between candidate systems. A representative matrix is shown in table below.

Candidate Systems Matrix.

This can be described by using an example of the matrix. The matrix is shown in table below.

Candidate Systems Matrix example.