Title page for ETD etd-12052009-020100
|Type of Document
||Ashlund, Stacey Lynn
||IDEAL :a tool to enable usability specification and evaluation
||Master of Science
||Computer Science and Applications
|Hix, Deborah S.
|Hartson, H. Rex
|Williges, Robert C.
- IDEAL (Computer program language)
|Date of Defense
While interactive design tools, rapid prototyping tools, and user interface management
systems (UIMSs) are advancing as cost-effective ways of producing interfaces, attention
to usability is rarely incorporated into such tools. The advancement of producing
interfaces more rapidly without addressing their quality is of limited worth. This thesis
reports on the design and prototype implementation of a software tool, IDEAL
(Interface Design Environment and Analysis Lattice), that encourages and enables
user-centered design as an integral part of the user interface development process.
IDEAL integrates usability engineering techniques and behavioral task representations
with a graphical hierarchy of associated user tasks to support formative evaluation of an
evolving user interface. IDEAL supplements the functionality of current interface
construction tools by focusing on usability through user-centered design. IDEAL was
designed and developed using the techniques it supports: formative evaluation and
iterative refinement. Representative users participated in two phases of qualitative
formative evaluations from which critical incidents, verbal protocol, and qualitative data
were collected. Feedback from each phase contributed to the revised design of IDEAL.
This empirical evaluation showed IDEAL to be useful as an automated tool for
managing the interrelated tasks of interface development, including design, usability
specification definition, and formative evaluation, that are currently performed manually
(e.g., using pencil and paper.)
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