An authoritative text by one of the premier researchers in usability engineering in the 1990s, Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering provides a landmark guide to software design that has helped bring this area of research into the mainstream of computing. "Usability" is the measurement of how easy or difficult it is to be productive with a piece of software. It often looks at the user interface--what elements appear onscreen and how efficient, confusing, and/or intuitive they are for beginning, intermediate, and advanced users. "Usability engineering" is the formal study of usability. It grew out of research on human factors, which looked at the way people interact with their environment.
The best thing about this book is its concise, cut-to-the-chase approach when defining usability and ways to measure and improve it. As the author notes, in the old days of computing, documents that attempted to define usability might have over 1,000 rules. The author offers just a handful of guiding principles for creating better software that apply even today. (Published just before the Internet revolution, this book's principles still hold true for Web designers, as well as those who create more traditional applications.)
Throughout this text, the author argues for the benefits of improved software usability. With software use as with all things, time is money and making more efficient interfaces translates into lower personnel costs and more productivity. The book also does a fine job of integrating usability design into the software development process, with guides for planning, working with end users, and running tests with users (whether on videotape or in person). The 50-page bibliography attests to the author's previous research on usability.
For anyone who needs to create better, more efficient software, Usability Engineering can help. This clear and intelligent guide to the science of usability engineering has helped enhance the potential of computers to work with end users more efficiently. In the new century, software developers will undoubtedly seek new advances in usability, in part because of the groundwork laid by books like this one. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Usability basics, measuring usability, types of users, history of user interfaces, the usability engineering lifecycle, design techniques, heuristics and hints for improving usability, testing, managing user tests, assessing usability, interface standards, internationalization, and Computer-Aided Usability Engineering (CAUSE) tools.
"The purpose of Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering is to help nontechnical people improve the systems so that they are not only error-free but also easier and more pleasant to use, and more efficient. It is a book that ...shows us how to change the world and does so admirably....One of this book's strengths is that it provides a wide selection of methods for improving systems, and allows for the unavoidable constraints of the real world."
From the Back Cover
"The purpose of Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering is to help nontechnical people improve the systems so that
they are not only error-free but also easier and more pleasant to use, and more efficient. It is a book that ...shows us
how to change the world and does so admirably....One of this book's strengths is that it provides a wide selection of
methods for improving systems, and allows for the unavoidable constraints of the real world." ―NEW SCIENTIST
Written by the author of the best-selling HyperText & HyperMedia, this book is an excellent guide to the methods
of usability engineering. The book provides the tools needed to avoid usability surprises and improve product quality.
Step-by-step information on which method to use at various stages during the development lifecycle are included,
along with detailed information on how to run a usability test and the unique issues relating to international usability.
- Emphasizes cost-effective methods that developers can implement immediately.
- Instructs readers about which methods to use and when to use them throughout the development lifecycle, ultimately
helping in cost-benefit analysis.
- Shows readers how to avoid the four most frequently listed reasons for delay in software projects.
- Includes detailed information on how to run a usability test.
- Covers unique issues of international usability.
- Features an extensive bibliography allowing readers to find additional information.
- Written by an internationally renowned expert in the field and the author of the best-selling HyperText &
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You will need this!
Dear Fellow Informatics students:
You will DEFINITELY need this one for class and beyond. Buy it and keep it handy.
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A staple in the industry
By Casey T
This book, although it is old, is still a staple in system design and engineering. A must for every true nursing informaticist that works with system designers.