One of the most interesting threads of development in human-computer interaction through the past 25 years is the field's conception of "usability." Initially, this term was taken as synonymous with "easy" or "simple." As understanding of people's experiences with technologies has developed, the concept of usability was enriched with ideas from human development to include such notions as "cognitively stimulating," "consistent with prior knowledge," and "transparently useful in the work at hand." During the 1990s, as collaboration became a major problem area for human-computer interaction, and as organizational issues became better understood, usability was further elaborated to incorporate notions…
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