Remote Usability Testing Methods a la Carte

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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


Although existing lab-based formative usability testing is frequently and effectively applied to improving usability of software user interfaces, it has limitations that have led developers to turn to remote usability evaluation methods (RUEMs) to collect formative usability data from daily usage by real users in their own real-world task environments. The enormous increase in Web usage, where users can be isolated and the network and remote work settingbecome intrinsic parts of usage patterns, is strong motivation for supplementing lab-based testing with remote usability evaluation methods. Another significant impetus for remote evaluation is the fact that the iterative development cycle for any software, Web application or not, does not end with initial deployment. We review and informally compare several approaches to remote usability evaluation with respect to quantity and quality of data collected and the effort to collect the data.



Usability engineering