Title Page
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
What is usability anyway?
Importance of improving usability
User centred design
Case Study

Appendix 1

Appendix 2


Appendix 2

Interview Proforma used at Reuters

(Case Study of user centered design)

Comprehensive Usability Methodology

I note from a Times article in Feb 1995 that when the usability group was set up in 1993, it needed a "..comprehensive usability methodology". Is there a 'mission statement' for the Usability Group describing this methodology?


Why was the group set up?


Considering that the phase 'usability' is quite ambiguous and means differing things to different people:


Do Reuters have an overall list of basic principles for usability?


If there is a standard set of usability goals, are they fixed and applied to every system or are they tailored to each one?


How would Reuters define what usability actually is?


At what stage do Reuters get involved with a new product or product version?



User Profiling and Task Analysis

I envisage your users and their needs vary widely. What procedure is followed to ascertain what type of user groups are involved in using a system? (e.g. Customer focus group).


How are users profiled?


How is the system environment modelled?


What methods are used by Reuters to uncover, from customers, the needs of a new system/version to avoid a situation of mismatch in task requirement/system function (ensuring task match)?


Are requirements of the system prioritised or is each task considered to be of equal importance regarding usability?



Usability Assessment & Method of Evaluation

Usability Testing

Is a mixture of friendly, hostile and simulated users used in testing?


Are there other types of users tested?


How many users are tested for each system and how long does it take?


I would like to 'sit in' on a usability test 'from behind the screen' as well as experiencing the process from the users standpoint (I could volunteer to be a Guinea pig too). Would this be possible?


How do Reuters incorporate into their testing the following methods of assessment?:


Verbal protocols


Visual protocols


Visual scanning patterns (how is the measurement of saccadic eye movement done?)


Patterns of system use


Software logging


What other methods do Reuters employ during testing?


Attitude Measures

I understand you use SUMI questionnaires. What are these and how are they used to measure product usability?


Are users views on the system researched in any other way?


Expert review

How are expert reviews of products undertaken?


If structured walkthroughs are included how are these progressed?


Do Reuters use project independent ergonomists/designers to check designs or are naive users introduced at this stage too?


I would imagine there is much emphasis placed on effective communication between the usability group, its customers and programmers/software engineers. How is this communication arranged in order to encourage openness?


Apart from the usability assessment undertaken on the users (expert and customer) how are other sources of feedback on designs taken into account? (e.g. market research)



How is speedy feedback ensured to enable the latest usability concerns to be incorporated into the system testing and design?


How are the results used to effect revised designs?


How are usability standards upgraded for each version of each system and how are these measurements defined?


How is usability assessed in systems where its users have differing levels of computer skills and how are these measurements defined?


How are the results of testing and assessment used to effect revised designs?



Interface Development & prototyping

What prototyping software/tools are used?


Are concept tests used or computerised prototypes usually constructed for each system tested?


Is there an input from graphic designers and other job specific experts?


If so how does this feedback affect the design process?


Are task scenarios used or are users free to wander through a program?



More Questions

Affordances and Constraints:

Are there generic affordances and constraints used in the actual design of products? House styles perhaps?


Is there a store of effective designs that can be drawn on or are jobs so ad hoc that no generalisations can be made?


Do usability staff just rely on their own experiences or are 'expert systems' also used?





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