Introduction to Volume 8, Issue 1

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With this issue, we start the eighth year of JUS. We thought it was time to look back over the first seven years to see if we are meeting the objectives that UXPA established for the journal. We examined the 77 papers that were published between November 2005 and February 2012. We looked at where the authors come from in terms of their geographical location and who employs them; the topics covered and the methods used, and how often the articles were cited in the literature. The analysis shows that the journal has met its primary goals but could have a broader impact with more papers focused on requirements gathering and design rather than its heavy emphasis on usability evaluation.

The editorial, by Steve Portigal, addresses the issue of why after more than three decades of user experience practice and research so many products are still so unusable. He believes that we have not fulfilled our initial mission, to improve the interactions between people and technology. As a profession, he believes we have been distracted by projects that address but rarely solve large societal problems causing us to neglect solving the problem of making products usable.

Our peer-reviewed article, by Shadi Ghajar-Khosravi and her colleagues, describes a case study of a new method for testing the usability of a product. Instead of having test participants attempt tasks to complete task scenarios, the participants’ task was to reverse engineer a software application while they thought out loud and were observed. The results suggest that having to recreate the application caused participants to pay more attention to its structure, which resulted in uncovering more usability problems than with traditional task scenarios.