Introduction to Volume 6, Issue 3

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I expect Volume 6, Issue 3 to be a turning point for the journal. Prior to this issue, the journal had not published any articles that straddled the boundary between the user experience literature and the technical communication literature. In this issue’s editorial, Ginny Redish and Carol Barnum describe how the two disciplines are closely intertwined in their scope, methods, and focus on users. They also detail the strong influence that technical communicators had on the founding of UPA. They call for user experience specialists and technical communicators to work more closely together and to share their research at professional meetings and in each other’s journals.

By coincidence, the issue includes the first peer-reviewed paper that bridges the two disciplines. Erin Friess, an associate professor of linguistics and technical communication, presents a case study investigating the variations in the language used by participants in usability testing sessions compared to the language used by usability test moderators in their oral reports of the sessions. She examines the mismatches between what was said in the sessions and what was reported to have been said.

In our second article, Constantinos Coursaris and Dan J. Kim present a qualitative meta-analytical review of more than 100 empirical mobile usability studies. It is the first analysis of the contextual factors and measurement dimensions investigated in the published mobile usability literature. The authors also apply an evaluation framework that shows where the gaps are in that literature.

The third article, by Justin Owens and colleagues, uses eye tracking along with other measures to show that text advertisement blindness occurs just as banner blindness does on web pages. Their data show that users tend to miss information in text ads on the right side of the page more often than in text ads at the top of the page.