Introduction to Volume 4, Issue 3

Welcome to the third issue of volume 4 of JUS!

The usability practice is still struggling, every day, with basic questions of what and where and how and why… Each of us has our own practices and unique expertise and experiences. Are there ways to arrive at shareable, common knowledge and practices? Usability standards can be one of those ways. Our invited essay author, Nigel Bevan, has been actively engaged in the development of international usability standards. In his essay titled: “International Standards for Usability Should Be More Widely Used” he shares with us his first hand experience in the, sometimes turbulent, history of developing such standards, and the different types of standards that can be used for a variety of purposes and contexts.

The use of standard usability questionnaires continues to be a topic of interest. In our first peer-reviewed article titled: “Determining what individual SUS scores mean: Adding an adjective rating scale”, Aaron Bangor, Philip Kortum, and James Miller address the issue of interpreting the results of the popular SUS questionnaire. They have added a scale with adjectives (as opposed to the numbers) and found a high correlation between the standard SUS score and the ratings on the adjective-based scale. It is their claim that such an additional scale can help interpret the questionnaire score.

What can a usability practitioner do to take advantage of any opportunity to acquire data on the usability of a product? In our second peer-reviewed article titled: “Extremely rapid usability testing”, Mark Pawson and Saul Greenberg present a case study of running a usability test a part of a trade show. They describe the combination of some known methods in a way that can be deployed and administered within the more constrained circumstances of a trade show. In addition to being a test executed rapidly, it also has the advantage of reaching real-world users of the product.

Finally, our third peer-reviewed article addresses another recurring topic of interest: Culture and usability. In their article titled: “The effect of culture on usability: Comparing the perception and performance of Taiwanese and North American MP3 player users”, Hsiao-Cheng Yu and Steve Wallace studied the relationship between culture and key usability parameters. They found some interesting associations between two different cultural groups and some of the usability measures.