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Title: Usability Evaluation Considered Harmful(Some of the Time)
Authors: Greenberg, Saul
Buxton, Bill
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 2-Oct-2007
Abstract: Current practice in Human Computer Interaction as encouraged by educational institutes, academic review processes, and institutions with usability groups advocate usability evaluation as a critical part of every design process. This is for good reason: usability evaluation has a significant role to play when conditions warrant it. Yet evaluation can be ineffective and even harmful if naively done by rule rather than by thought . If done during design brainstorming, it can kill creative ideas that do not conform to current interface norms. If done prematurely during early system design, the many interface issues seen can kill what would could have been an inspired vision. If done to verify an academic prototype, it may incorrectly suggest a design s worthiness rather than offer a meaningful critique of how it would be adopted and used in everyday practice. If done without regard to how cultures adopt technology over time, then today's reluctant reactions by users will forestall tomorrow's eager acceptance. Traditional usability evaluation should not be used to validate very early design stages or culturally-sensitive systems. Other reflective and critical methods should be considered in their stead.
Appears in Collections:Greenberg, Saul

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