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Literature Review, Kinds of UsabilityIssue and making a WalkthroughUsing the research literature, outline the kinds of usability and user experience issue that might beraised by your chosen topic. Gather evidence from e.g. the Internet, and the ux literature e.g.hcibib.org and acm.org/dl to support your argument.Ask workshop helpers to suggest ‘kinds of issue’ and sources of relevant previous work.Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: What do you mean ‘usability issue’?A ‘usability issue’ is ‘a usability problem’, but said in a way that encourages investigation anddiscussion, rather than presuming fault and making people defensive.Q: What do you mean ‘kindof usability issue’?I mean a general type of issue. Not an instance issue, such as ‘the font for the Help buttonin the header is too small’, and not a very generic, bland issue, such as ‘this website is notvery user-friendly’, but a mid- level of detail that makes useful distinctions about thequalities of interaction that might be lacking, and the perceptions that might arise, given thetype of users, tasks, and technology application of concern, say ‘readability’ and ‘findability’.The ‘qualities of interaction’ lecture identifies some possible ‘kinds of issue’. Examplesinclude ‘guessability’ (of a door activated by an invisible mechanism such as face-recognition), or ‘engagement’ with a game.Q: Where can I find good ‘literature’?www.acm.org/dl. Search in the proceedings of the annual CHI (Computer HumanInteraction) conference- the ‘Human Factors in Computer Systems series)www.hcibib.org. Search this online bibliography. This will point you to various conferencesand journals, many of which are accessable online from a KU terminal or via the KU library.If you know the name of the article, you may be able to google it directly.If you cannot find articles about your particular system e.g. ‘sports shops’, try searching for the kindof issue you want to know about e.g. ‘ease of learning’, ‘design of icon sets’, ‘spoken help’Q: Are news and practitioner blogs ‘literature’?No.The ‘news’ about trends in the real world you collected last week is not really ‘scholarly material’ – itdescribes ‘NOW’.
Practitioner blogs are better than nothing, but they may not have been reviewed by anyone who isany good. You might be learning easily digestible ‘half-truths’ that do not generalise very well. Letme tell you the story of ‘the 3 click rule’ (a user should be able to achieve their goals in 3 clicks orless). This rule was promoted by many people, but soon confirmation dialogs were being omitted‘because it added an extra click’ and wizard pages became cluttered ‘because we can only have 3clicks’. There is something in the ‘3 click rule’ – one more click means additional workload, and ifremoving a click reduces workload that’s good. However, users do many kinds of mental work.Acting (clicking) is workload, but so is problem-solving, perceiving and remembering. Reducing clickworkload might not be a good idea if so doing increases ‘problem-solving’ and ‘perception’workload, as in the examples above. Good design reduces the need for cognitive work (of all kinds,and overall), not just the work of clicking (to do this).You can still find ‘the 3 click rule’ on the net.Q: Is a text book ‘literature’?Yes, but it may not help your project very much.Textbooks tend to contain information relevant to most projects in general, and which everyoneneeds to know to even attempt a user-interface redesign project. As such, it tends to repeat thelectures, and we expect each other to know this already.You need additional material about the special concerns and issues of your topic .e.g. not‘Shneidermans 10 golden rules’, but ‘design guidelines for touch screens’; not ‘how to conduct afocus group’ but ‘how to get evaluative feedback from children’; not ‘how to conduct a usability test’but findings of a previous usability evaluation of a system like yours’.Q: Do I have to have a separate literature review section?No. Good students weave citations to references into their argument. But I recommend a separatesection in the handout, because I find a separate ‘Literature Review’ section is a good start, andbenefitting from the literature is harder than it seems. Weaker students often avoid scholarlymaterial altogether – but please don;t avoid it. Create a separate literature review section - this is agood place to start.As you draft and redraft your coursework you may find that you can introduce other people’s workthroughout your report as it is required to support your own arguments, conclusions or designdecisions. These arguments tend to evolve as your better understand the topic and as you askcritical questions of your early drafts. Identify and summarise the literature for now, and work outhow it is relevant and useful. You can ‘weave it in’ later.Q: How does the literature review help?Use the literature to: