Our editorial for this issue, by Bill Albert, is “The Fox Guarding the Usability Lab.” In it, Bill criticizes the practice of usability testing your own design. Design agencies, who are hired to design digital products, and User Experience (UX) researchers who follow this practice put themselves in a conflict of interest that can result in biased results. Most importantly, the practice undermines the credibility of our profession.
Our peer-reviewed paper, by Yushan Pan and colleagues, describes a case study of the usability of a complex system that requires cooperative work. The case involves the dynamic positioning of a ship next to an oil platform in the North Sea. The authors argue that evaluating this task performed by a crew distributed throughout the ship using the components of ship-bridge hardware and software requires a new approach. Traditional usability evaluation methods are too limited to deal with this complexity, which requires a network-based analysis.