Making usability data more usable

Douglas J. Gillan, Nancy J. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Usability tests often include recording of users' behaviors as they interact with a computer; unfortunately, these data are often underused for design due to their complexity and the difficulty in interpreting them. In recent years, a variety of methods have been proposed for analyzing user behavioral sequences. In this paper we propose five criteria for evaluating the quality and effectiveness of any such method - (1) standardization and repeatability of the method; (2) simplification of the data; (3) validity; (4) interpretable visual representation of the data that suggests design implications; and (5) output that is amenable to additional analyses. We describe how the PRONET method - an analytical method that uses the Pathfinder algorithm to produce network representations of behavioral sequences - successfully addresses these five criteria. Finally, we argue that test design should be conceived of in a framework of usability engineering, thereby leading to the creation of more usable test methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-304
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1998 42nd Annual Meeting 'Human Factors and Ergonomics Society' - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Oct 5 1998Oct 9 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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