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VIII.4 July 2001
Page: 55
Digital Citation

Book preview

Marisa Campbell

back to top  Usability Testing and Research (Part of the Allyn & Bacon Series in Technical Communication)

Carol M. Barnum
Longman, 2001
ISBN 0205315194

Built on a solid foundation of current research in the field, Carol Barnum's Usability Testing and Research provides a comprehensive, up-to-date perspective in this increasingly important area of technical communication.

Adopting a practical approach to the field of usability and the techniques for usability testing, this book lays out the subject from beginning to end: starting with definitions of usability, usability testing, and the way in which usability testing fits into a user-centered design process, then progressing through other methods of gathering data, as well as methods for learning about users, tasks, and environments. Following a chapter on ways to test throughout product design, the second half of the book focuses on planning, conducting, and reporting the results of usability testing. The last chapter discusses the usability testing of Web sites.

Throughout, examples and illustrations focus on online documentation, Web testing, computer-based training, and software for home and business use. Students as well as faculty will be able to progress through the book chapter by chapter to establish a foundation for understanding the nature of usability testing and the issues to address. Or, if they choose, they can go directly to the second half of the book to begin usability testing. This allows the book to be used as a main text or as a supplement to any course that includes usability testing.

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  • Based on the most current research in the field, this text reflects the most recent developments and studies on this topic available.
  • Sidebars throughout the book catch the attention of the readers and highlight key concepts in the text.
  • A chapter on Web testing provides coverage of what is now the hottest area in usability testing.
  • End of chapter discussions and exercises reinforce student learning.
  • Frequent examples of planning, conducting, and reporting usability tests present current samples of student and professional projects.
  • An appendix on teamwork gives pertinent advice in an area neglected by other texts: building and coordinating cross-functional teams for usability testing.
  • An Instructor's Manual provides sample syllabi and suggestions for using the book in different types of courses, including online delivery.

bullet.gif Table Of Contents

  • Foreward by the Series Editor
  • Preface


  1. What Is Usability and What is Usability Testing?
  2. Other Methods for Getting Feedback About Usability.
  3. User and Task Analysis.
  4. Iterative Testing for User-Centered Design.
  5. Planning For Usability Testing.
  6. Preparing For Usability Testing.
  7. Conducting The Usability Test.
  8. Analyzing and Reporting Results.
  9. Web Usability.
  • Appendix: Making It Work As A Team.

back to top  Designing Highly Usable Web Sites

Tom Brinck, Darren Gergle and Scott Wood
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2001
ISBN 1558606580

These days, we see "usability" issues nearly everywhere: in the design of home electronics, handheld devices, dashboard controls in cars, software, and even election ballots. Today's fastest-growing and increasingly pervasive tool for information dissemination and collection—the Web site—has come under particular scrutiny. However humble, however ambitious, a Web site can do what it does well or poorly, and the difference a positive user experience and a negative one can mean success or failure for any business that depends on the Web.

Designing Highly Usable Web Sites is a beacon in a sea of usability titles. Unlike many others, it treats Web site usability as a practical and realizable business goal, not a buzzword or abstraction. It teaches the concepts and skills Web designers and project managers need to know to produce cohesive, easy-to-use sites while meeting tight deadlines and staying on budget. There are no "secrets" or "tricks" here, just sensible, detailed, clearly presented procedures that the authors have developed and proven again and again in their own successful business.

The Web design industry is filled with technically-savvy professionals who know they pay too little attention to users' needs and effective business practices. The same goes for business people in need of a standard against which to judge their own sites and the people they pay to design them. Designing Highly Usable Web Sites provides precisely what all of these people are looking for.

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  • Heavy on practicality, light on theory—the work of a team of authors from a successful Web design company in Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Presents a step-by-step approach that can be followed under even the tightest budgetary and scheduling constraints.
  • Includes forms and checklists that readers can put to work in their own projects.
  • Covers a wide range of usability issues, including architecture, navigation, graphical presentation, textual display, and page structure.
  • Covers the complete range of procedural issues, from requirements analysis to user testing and revision.
  • A valuable resource for the growing numbers of Web professionals who understand leading-edge technologies but need help with the user-focused and procedural skills that will make them successful.
  • Also of use to businesspeople who want a standard for gauging their own site's usability.
  • Filled with case studies, including illustrations of tough design trade-offs.

back to top  Usability Engineering: Scenario-Based Development of Human Computer Interaction

Mary Beth Rosson and John M. Carroll
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2001
ISBN 1558607129

Books on usability engineering are commonly flawed in one of two ways. Either they provide a useful introduction to the subject but fail to teach readers to put basic principles to work, or else they provide instruction that is too advanced for the programmers and engineers who most need help building more usable products.

This book aims explicitly to be precisely what the largest group of readers are demanding. Usability Engineering offers an introduction to HCI principles suitable for students and practitioners who have had little or no exposure to the subject. Just as important, it proceeds to give clear, practical, easy-to-follow advice on applying these principles in ways that make software and hardware more effective and easier to use. Written primarily for practitioners, this book will also see significant adoption as a textbook.

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  • The product of a collaboration between HCI educators who understand how to teach usability practices to real students and practitioners.
  • Features several running case studies that allow the authors to introduce more advanced concepts and techniques within familiar, established scenarios.
  • Emphasizes the real world of usability engineering—a world in which trade-offs must be weighed and ultimately made to achieve desired results.
  • Focuses its instruction on projects, teaching readers to apply all or most of what they learn together, for maximum benefit.
  • Via a companion Web site, provides additional HCI guidelines and cases.

back to top  Book Listing

Adobe Photoshop 6.0 Web Design
Michael Baumgardt
Adobe Press, 2001
ISBN 0201721465

The Designer's Guide to VHDL, 2nd Ed.
Peter J. Ashenden
Morgan Kaufmann Publishing, 2001
ISBN 1558606742

Knowledge Management & Business Model Innovation
Yogesh Malhotra, Editor
Idea Group Publishing, 2001
ISBN 1878289985

<Creative HTML Design .2>
Lynda Weinman & William Weinman
New Riders Publishing, 2001
ISBN 0735709726

User Interfaces for Virtual Reality Applications (Interactive Technologies Series)
Chris Esposito
Morgan Kaufmann Publishing, 2001
ISBN 1558604936

Designing Web Interfaces Interactive Workbook
Michael Rees, Andrew White, Bebo White
Prentice Hall Computers, 2001
ISBN 0130858978

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©2001 ACM  1072-5220/01/0700  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2001 ACM, Inc.

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