Introduction to Volume 2, Issue 2

Welcome to the second issue of volume 2 of JUS! Joe Dumas, one of the pioneers in usability testing and a member of our editorial board, is offering an enlightening and personal perspective on the relatively short history of the usability profession. In his invited essay entitled: “A Great Leap Forward: The Birth of the Usability Profession (1988-1993) (PDF) ”, Joe calls to learn from and utilize the rich past experience and knowledge accumulated in the usability profession, in addition to looking to the future and embracing new trends. One of the questions we often ask ourselves is: who is qualified to be a heuristic evaluator? How did the variety of evaluators impact the quality of the evaluation? Shazeeye Kirmani and Shamugam Rajasekaran in their article: “Heuristic Evaluation Quality Score (HEQS): A Measure of Heuristic Evaluation Skills” propose a numeric method to assess heuristic evaluation skills. Their proposed method can definitely be added to our toolbox of assessing the effectiveness of the evaluations we run. While various visualizations and spatializations progress in the sophistication and pervasiveness, the assessment of their usability does not necessarily progress in the same rate. Mathew Scotch, Bambang Parmanto, and Valerie Monaco offer such an evaluation of one of the visualization environments. In their article “Usability Evaluation of the Spatial OLAP Visualization and Analysis Tool (SOVAT)” they show that advancements in visualization can be perceived as complex and extra effort is required for the improvement of its usability. Finally, in this issue we are initiating a new venue for comments and replies on published articles in the Journal of Usability Studies. The focus this time is on the important topic of usability testing of voting systems. Whitney Quesenbery, John Cugini, Dana Chisnell, Bill Killam, and Ginny Redish comment on an article published in the Fall ’06 issue of JUS, “A Methodology for Testing Voting Systems” by Selker, Rosenzweig, and Pandolfo. This comment is followed with a reply by the authors of the original article.