Developing Usable GUI Applications with Early Usability Evaluation

Y. Tao (USA)


User Interface Design, Behavioral Modeling, UsabilityEvaluation


Current practice rarely applies systematic techniques to evaluate usability characteristics in the early stages of GUI development, especially in conceptual design due to the lack of a user interface prototype. We in this paper propose an approach to incorporating usability evaluation into conceptual design for GUI applications. Our approach is based on the observation that some usability considerations for a GUI application do not involve its physical, spatial, or visual characteristics, instead they focus on the flow of interaction between the user and the system. Separating those considerations from others makes it possible to perform usability evaluation earlier. Drawing on this observation, we define a behavioral model to capture the flow of interaction for a GUI application. We also identify relevant usability principles as guidance for evaluating the behavioral model. As such, usability evaluation is brought into play in the conceptual design, helping develop a usable GUI application in a cost-effective way.

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