Title page for ETD etd-02132009-172247

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lee, Samuel S.
URN etd-02132009-172247
Title Usability evaluation of a fault tree software user documentation
Degree Master of Science
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
No Advisors Found
  • Software documentation
Date of Defense 1992-02-21
Availability restricted

To incorporate users' opinions into the evaluation phase early in the software documentation development stage, the critical incident technique was used to identify usability problems in a fault free software user document. The critical incidents were used to modify the original document to improve its usability. To test whether the modified document was better in usability than the original document, an experiment was conducted to compare objective measures and subjective ratings.

Four objective measures included nutnber of errors, task completion time, document reading time, and number of personal helps requested. In addition, subjective ratings on ease of use, accuracy of information, inconsistencies, ease of learning, completeness, helpfulness of figures, and ease of understanding were compared between the two documents.

The analyses showed that for 3 of 4 objective measures and 7 out of 9 subjective ratings, the new document was better and easier to use. In sonle cases, this difference was task specific. Generally, easier tasks accounted for better objective measures and more favorahle subjective ratings.

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