Adapting the Locales Framework for Heuristic Evaluation of Groupware

Heuristic evaluation is a rapid, cheap and effective way for identifying usability problems in single user systems. However, current heuristics do not provide guidance for discovering problems specific to groupware usability. In this paper, we take the Locales Framework and restate it as heuristics appropriate for evaluating groupware. These are: 1) Provide locales; 2) Provide awareness within locales; 3) Allow individual views; 4) Allow people to manage and stay aware of their evolving interactions; 5) Provide a way to organize and relate locales to one another. To see if these new heuristics are useful in practise, we used them to inspect the interface of Teamwave Workplace, a commercial groupware product. We were successful at identifying the strengths of Teamwave as well as both major and minor interface problems.
Computer Science