A Common Software Development Framework For Coordinating Usability Engineering and Software Engineering Activities


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Currently, the Usability Engineering (UE) and Software Engineering (SE) processes are practiced as being independent of each other. However, several dependencies and constraints exist between the interface specifications and the functional core, which make coordination between the UE and the SE teams crucial. Failure of coordination between the UE and SE teams leads to software that often lacks necessary functionality and impedes user performance. At the same time, the UE and SE processes cannot be integrated because of the differences in focus, techniques, and terminology. We therefore propose a development framework that incorporates SE and UE efforts to guide current software development.

The framework characterizes the information exchange that must exist between the UE and SE teams during software development to form the basis of the coordinated development framework. The UE Scenario-Based Design (SBD) process provides the basis for identifying UE activities. Similarly, the Requirements Generation Model (RGM), and Structured Analysis and Design are used to identify SE activities. We identify UE and SE activities that can influence each other, and identify the high-level exchange of information that must exist among these activities. We further examine these interactions to gain a more in-depth understanding as to the precise exchange of information that must exist among them.

The identification of interacting activities forms the basis of a coordinated development framework that incorporates and synchronizes the UE and SE processes. An examination of the Incremental and Spiral models as they relate to the SBD is provided, and outlines how our integration framework can be composed. Using the results of and insights gained from our research, we also suggest additional avenues for future work.



Framework, Integration, Coordination, Usability Engineering, Requirements Generation, Development Process, Software Engineering