Generating a domain-specific inspection method through an adaptive framework

Alrobaea, Roobaea (2015) Generating a domain-specific inspection method through an adaptive framework. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Many recent innovations and inventions have contributed to rapid technological development, which in turn have produced a wide variety of products that have had a major impact on many businesses in several different domains. These products have their own contextual attributes that have made their usability evaluation, by using traditional usability evaluation methods (UEMs), all the more critical. Almost all previous usability studies have used the Heuristic Evaluation (HE) and User Testing (UT) methods; however, the majority of such studies have described these methods as being not directly applicable to the product being tested, not directly related to the context of the tested product, and not able to identify specific areas and types of usability problems. Furthermore, the lack of a methodological framework that can be used systematically to generate a domain-specific inspection method, which can then be used to assess the usability for a product in any chosen domain and to improve the usability assessment process, represents a missing area in usability testing.
Thus, the goal of this research is to generate a domain-specific inspection evaluation method that does not involve users in an actual testing session, i.e. one that is applied by only experts. To reach this goal, firstly, a systematic adaptive framework is presented, called Domain Specific Inspection (DSI), which is characterized as being pertinent to the context and specific target of a chosen domain. This framework is designed to generate a method that avoids the drawbacks of having to use both HE and UT, although it combines their advantages. In addition, this framework assists researchers as it combines feedback from both expert evaluators and potential users in the chosen domain in order to create a focused method. Secondly, this research seeks to validate the adaptive framework practically by generating a DSI method for assessing the usability of selected products. In this regard, websites are chosen as the targeted product, and two experiments are conducted; the first examines the utility of the generated DSI method on the educational domain. The second examines another generated DSI method on the social network domain. In both experiments, the DSI methods are tested intensively through rigorous validation methods and a number of usability metrics to verify the extent to which it achieves the identified goals, needs and requirements that the methods were originally developed to address, and to identify which problems are identified by UT but not identified by HE and/or DSI, and vice versa. Also, an investigation into whether it is essential to conduct the DSI method in conjunction with UT or HE will be undertaken. Furthermore, the roles and numbers of evaluators (together with their types) and users will be examined.
The results show that the adaptive framework is able to generate a DSI method that can be used to generate ideas from the different perspectives of multidisciplinary teams in order to create engaging user experiences and to facilitate interactive design. This method enables the discovery of a larger number of serious problems than UT and HE. In addition, it provides optimal results with regard to the identification of comprehensive usability problem areas, and it is more efficient and effective than UT and HE, with minimum input in terms of cost and time. Furthermore, it is able to improve the evaluator performance; thus, the results of the single evaluators, who used the DSI method, provided results that approached or outperformed the effectiveness of the double evaluators, who used HE. Consequently, few evaluators are needed to find a majority of the usability problems if DSI is used.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 10:01
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2016 10:01


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