Usability takes a hike!

Computer power that formerly only was available in offices and homes have now moved out on the roads, seas and beyond. Everything that can be mobile will be, and today only our fantasies are the limit as to what mobile devices can and will do. Mobile devices can be used for anything from taking notes in a business meeting to track down giraffes in a field study in Africa. When we do traditional usability tests on applications using stationary computers the context is controlled and not especially relevant. The computers in the labs are more or less in the same context as when they are used in offices and homes. But for mobile devices, testing might make the result irrelevant since it fails to take the context of its use into consideration. The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the usability testing methods and theories from a mobile perspective. This is to find out if and where the conventional usability methods fail and what they fail to detect when applied to mobile devices. How can the usability methods of today be extended to facilitate the testing of mobile devices in its right context? We have done empirical tests of usability methods in usability laboratories and conducted expert interviews with researchers from the mobile as well as the usability field. Together with literature studies and informal interviews we analyze and discuss around rigour vs. relevance in laboratory and mobile settings. We used triangulation on the usability methods we tested and combined these results with the results from the expert interviews. First of all we found that there is indeed a need for a way to conduct mobile usability testing….


1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose
1.2 Question at issue
1.3 Demarcation
1.4 Terminology
1.4.1 Context
1.4.2 Mobility
1.4.3 PDA
2 Method
2.1 Scientific approach
2.2 Course of action
2.2.1 Method Triangulation
2.2.2 Case study
2.2.3 Methodology studies
2.2.4 Formal and informal interviews
2.2.5 Collecting the material
2.2.6 Treating the information
2.2.7 Ethic
2.3 Quality
2.3.1 Reliability and validity
2.3.2 Discussion around the chosen method
3 Available methods (current usability methods
3.1 Inspection and Evaluation
3.2 Testing
3.3 Inquiry
4 View of the usability field
4.1 Rigour vs. Relevance
4.2 User Centred Design
4.3 Usability
4.4 Drifting
5 Empirical Study
5.1 Performance Measurement
5.2 Co-Discovery Method
5.3 Pluralistic Walkthrough
5.4 Expert Interviews
5.5 Informal interviews
6 Analysis
6.1 Performance measurement
6.2 Co-Discovery method
6.3 Pluralistic walkthrough
6.4 Expert interviews
6.5 Informal interviews
7.1 Thoughts of findings
8 Conclusion
9 Further Research
10 Acknowledgements
11 References
11.1 Books
11.2 Articles, papers and proceedings
11.3 Electronic sources

Author: Rasmussen, Per-OLa,Nilsson, Stefan,Lindroth, Tomas

Source: Goteborg University

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