18 Test Scores: Laboratory and Field Testing of Usability

History Testing

For good and sufficient reasons, usability testing has long been the foundation of modern usability engineering. The usability lab was where “real” data was gathered from the interactions of real users with real systems. Data from laboratory study not only resolved practical design problems for developers but also provided a growing body of insight into the general nature of human-machine interaction.

In a sense, the story of usage-centered design begins in the test lab. Early in our work on software usability, we were struck by a seeming contradiction. Various software vendors had publicly declared a commitment to user-friendly development, visibly demonstrating their ...

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