Usability evaluation

We ask participants to use commercial products or prototypes under development (including software), and by observing and analyzing their behavior we make suggestions on what users are able to use easily, and what needs to be improved.

What is a usability evaluation?

Recently, the opportunity has increased for people to use PCs, the Internet, and various other electronic devices. Therefore usability of these products is becoming more and more important.

Also, concepts and terms regarding usability, such as "Usability", "User centered design", "Accessibility" and "Universal design" have started to be used by people on a daily basis.

Currently, usability is becoming an increasingly more important element of a product, which affects the merchantability, design and quality of the design.

The state of the usability of a product has to be understood at all times during its planning, design and quality management stages. A "Usability evaluation" is an effective method that can be used to understand the usability of products, and its results can be used to identify problems and issues that need to be improved.

Our service

For our standard service, we will do all of the following tasks, from evaluation planning to debrief report.

We will provide an evaluation method that meets clients' requirements (evaluation purpose, evaluation target, schedule, budget and various requirements).
Also in some cases, it is possible to request only a selection of the above deliverables.

Various evaluations

We can conduct various evaluations that meet clients' requirements, such as evaluation purpose or status of development of the target products.

Various evaluation targets
Category of products

Intellectual education for babies - Monitoring device for driving situation of facility

Intended level of evaluation

Hard ware, soft ware, system, instruction manual and service

Status of development and percentage completion of products

Specification forms, paper prototypes, computer simulators, pilot unit or products on the market etc.

Various evaluation areas
Operation assumed as evaluation target

Setup from the state of purchase, basic operation, applied operation, action on error, maintenance and management operation

Various evaluation methods
Evaluation method

Analyze protocol, group interview, questionnaire and expert evaluation

Evaluation purpose

Performance evaluation, subjective evaluation, interaction evaluation

Quantitative evaluation

Operation hour, error rate, muscle fatigue

Comparative evaluation

Comparison of multiple designs, comparison of multiple machines

Various participants
General attributes

Baby - Elderly people, gender, foreigner, disabled person

Characteristic for devices

PC skill etc, beginners - Experts

Various evaluation sites
In and out of office test

Our company lab in Funabashi, clients' conference rooms, factories, rental conference rooms, participants' homes and inside cars etc, can all be used as evaluation sites.

Normal output

The normal output from a usability evaluation project will be as follows:

Written plan

This is a statement of agreement to agree the purpose, evaluation area, method, participants' requirements, task and schedule or the project that is written upon receiving the evaluation request. This describes the plan to carry out the evaluation work.

Observation sheet

This is a recording sheet created to record information during the tests. We encourage our clients to attend and observe the tests. They are welcome to use this observation sheet during the tests.

Report

This is a document, which records up the test results. Typically the document contains the following contents:

Videotape

Unedited videotape which captures the actions and speech of participants during the task will be provided. Clients can use this as a record of the test, to support the report or enlighten stakeholders in the office.

CD-R

Deliverables can be in the format of Word, Excel or JPEG files on CD-R. You can add or alter these for your own purposes.

Usability evaluation service procedure

Here, we would like to introduce the most basic work procedure that we follow:

Advantages of using our company

Appropriate evaluation plan

We will suggest the most appropriate evaluation method in compliance with your requirements (evaluation purpose, evaluation target, participants' requirements, schedule, and other various requirements).

Actually observe how participants act and what they say

With audio and image, you can understand clearly how participants operate and react during the session. Also you can ask questions to participants on the spot, via the facilitator during the session.
In addition developers who do not have much opportunity to contact users on a regular basis may be able to recognize anew of the importance of usability.

Detailed analysis

We will report in detail the products issues, assumed causes and how improvements can be made.

Past case examples

Case examples of usability evaluation on protocols

Complex office automation device

Comparative evaluation of a user interface system design

Electronic telephone book

Comparative evaluation of a user interface design for a simple telephone book software application

Instruction manual

Comparative evaluation of instruction manuals for an image filing device

Help

Comparative evaluation of instruction manuals for an image filing device

Digital camera

Evaluation of a user interface

Air conditioner

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for a home air conditioner

ATM

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for a bank ATM

ATM

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for a bank ATM used by elderly people

ATM

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for a bank ATM used by wheelchair users

Personal computer

Comparative evaluation of a keyboard design to be used by expert users

Software

Comparative evaluation of user interfaces for a PC communication software interface

Software

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for communication software to be used by foreigners

Software

Evaluation of a user interface for network printer software to be used by foreigners

Printer

Comparative evaluation of a user interface for a compact sized home printer

Cell phone

Evaluation of a user interface to be used by beginners

Case examples of usability evaluation on commercial items

Complex office automation device

valuation of the effectiveness of online help

Complex office automation device

Comparative evaluation of the basic operation of competitor devices

Intellectual education software

Comparative evaluation of the attractiveness of infant intellectual education software

Conference system

Comparative analysis of a conference system

Multimedia

Usability evaluation of multimedia software to be used by elderly people

Car navigation

Comparative evaluation of a flush-mounted car navigation system

Word processor

Comparative usability evaluation of a home word processor

Cordless phone

Usability evaluation of a home telephone

Software

Comparative evaluation of a PC Japanese-language inputting software

Software

Usability evaluation of a PC Fax

Personal computer

Comparative evaluation of keyboards for a laptop PC to be used by experts

Personal computer

Comparative evaluation of unpacking and setting up of a home PC by beginners

Public device

Usability evaluation of a device to be used by housewives

Instruction manual

Comparative evaluation of an instruction manual for a wide-screen television

Help

Comparative evaluation of a Help/description book for use with Excel

Digital camera

Evaluation of a user interface to be used by elderly people

ATM

Comparative evaluation of a bank ATM used by beginners, housewives and elderly people

How to request

Email: info@humaninterface.co.jp (sales representative)

We will reply with details and an application form.
* Please send us your request as soon as possible.


Create in 2001.08.15
Edit in 2003.09.01