Usability is becoming a more and more important software criterion, but the present usability measurement methods are either di cult to apply, or overly dependent upon evaluators’ expertise. Based on human information processing theory, this study identified eight human factors considerations which are relevant to software usability. These considerations, as well as the three stages of human information processing theory, formed the framework from which our Purdue Usability Testing Questionnaire (PUTQ) is derived.
Sample items for each HCI considerations are given as follows:
- Compatibility (CP) Are the results of control entry compatible with user expectations?
Note: Ensure that the results of any control entry are compatible with user expectations so that a change in the state or value of a controlled element is displayed in an expected or natural form.
2. Consistency (CS) Internal Consistency: Is the wording consistent across displays?
Note: Consistent wording for: Displayed data. Labels. Tables. Text. External consistency: Is colour coding consistent with conventional colour meaning?
Note: Conventional colour meaning such as · Red: alarm. · Yellow: warning. · Green: normal.
3. Flexibility (FX) Are users allowed to customize windows
Note: Users should be able to change window attributes such as: font, size of the window, foreground/background colour, etc.
4. Learnability (LN) Is the ordering of menu options logical?
Note: Organize menu options according to their: functionality, expected frequency of use, alphabetical ordering.
5. Minimal action (MA) Is is easy to FIll out the data entry form?
Note: · Place the cursor at the first data entry field. · If possible, provide default data. · Advance the cursor automatically to the next data entry ®eld.
6. Minimal memory load (MML) How are abbreviations and acronyms used?
Note: If possible, do not use abbreviations and acronyms at all. · If it is necessary to use abbreviations and acronyms, use standard ones. · If there are no standard ones, use a consistent rule to generate them throughout the system.
7. Perceptual limitation (PL) Does it provide easily distinguished colours?
Note: Keep the number of colours used simultaneously no more than 4. · avoid using the following colour-pairs on the same screen: red and blue, red and green, blue and green. · Avoid using the following colour-pairs as foreground/background colours: yellow on white; yellow on purple; yellow on the green; green on white; blue on black; red on black; magenta on black; magenta on the green.
8. User guidance (UG) System Feedback: How helpful is the error message?
Note: Error messages should be specific to the point, explain what is wrong, and how it can be corrected. The system should be able to give more detailed error message upon users’ request.
BEHAVIOUR & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 1997, VOL. 16, NO. 4/5, 267 ± 278 HAN X. LIN, YEE-YIN CHOONG and GAVRIEL SALVENDY
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