Welcome to the second issue of volume 4 of JUS!
Usability engineering has always been about cost-effectiveness and visible added value. However, with the global economy crisis we are facing now, usability engineering may be one of the first to suffer. In a very timely manner, Tom Tullis shares experience-based and well-informed insights and tips on how to survive this crisis. In his invited editorial “Tips for Usability Professionals in a Down Economy”, Tom presents 10 very practical tips on how to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of our work, while providing the added value of usability.
Technology is introduced to healthcare and medicine at an increasingly rapid pace. This trend presents new challenges to HCI design and usability. One of the technologies is Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Our first peer reviewed article addresses the usability issues of EMRs. In their article entitled simply “Usability of Electronic Medical Records”, John Smelcer, Hal Jacobs-Miller, and Lyle Kantrovich review some of the common issues in EMRs, primarily from the physician’s perspective. They also explore the difficulties in studying usability in the “wild”; i.e. clinics and hospitals. They conclude with some insightful and practical directions to take in order to improve usability of EMRs.
One of the common practices in empirical usability testing is to construct user profiles and personas, and recruit participants that can “play the role” of such users. Alex Genov, in his article “Usability Testing with Real Data” is raising the problem that the ‘real’ persona of the ‘real’ participants in the empirical usability study can have an impact on the findings. Alex Genov proposes some approaches of how to consider such ‘real’ data in the analysis and interpretations of usability studies.
Finally, we are back to dealing with the ongoing challenges of testing mobile usability. In our third peer reviewed article “Flexible Hardware Configurations for Studying Mobile Usability”, Antti Oulasvirta and Tuomo Nyyssönen address the specific challenge of having the appropriate setup for capturing the mobile interaction context. They describe a system developed to capture user’s interaction with mobile devices in field studies. While the article is a bit on the technical side, it can be a great reference for all those aspiring to develop and/or use tools for mobile usability testing “in the wild”.