1st Edition

Usability of Complex Information Systems Evaluation of User Interaction

Edited By Michael Albers, Brian Still Copyright 2011
    400 Pages 72 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    400 Pages 72 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Why do enterprise systems have complicated search pages, when Google has a single search box that works better? Why struggle with an expense reimbursement system that is not as easy as home accounting software? Although this seems like comparing apples to oranges, as information and communication technologies increasingly reach into every industry the demand for easy-to-use work tools continues to grow. An exploration of cutting-edge approaches for evaluating the usability of complex user interaction, Usability of Complex Information Systems: Evaluation of User Interaction focuses on improving design and communicating content to the end user.

    The book continues the conversation about the evolution of usability, asking how we can design and evaluate these complex systems and the complex work they support. It describes and analyzes approaches to teaching, testing, analyzing, or managing usability studies—approaches that involve technical communicators making novel contributions to how we think about and evaluate increasingly complex systems. The book contains case studies on different types of complexity, including:

    • A complex work environment, requiring collaboration among different people or a goal sustained over time, and often in the face of distractions, interruptions, and planned pauses
    • A complex information context, one with no single answer, where the data changes dynamically or where the best answer may rely on other aspects of a fluid environment
    • A complex technology, in which people use many different applications in their work and collaboration
    • A complex topic, requiring advanced technical or domain knowledge

    Even systems that seem simple are, in fact, complex. The shopping interface for an e-commerce system may not be complex, but the databases, business processes, and logistics behind it certainly are. The examination of different aspects of designing and examining complexity presented in this book brings you a step further in developing a deeper understanding of what it takes to make complex systems work.

    Comprehending Complexity: Solutions for Understanding the Usability of Information
    Usability of Complex Information Systems, M.J. Albers
    Combining Rhetorical Theory with Usability Theory to Evaluate Quality of Writing in Web-Based Texts, D. Hailey
    Language Complexity and Usability, N. Jahnke
    Innovation and Collaboration in Product Development: Creating a New Role for Usability Studies in Educational Publishing, T.W. Howard and M. Greer

    Theorizing Complexity: Ideas for Conceptualizing Usability and Complex Systems
    Mapping Usability: An Ecological Framework for Analyzing User Experience, B. Still
    Usability and Information Relationships: Considering Content Relationships and Contextual Awareness When Testing Complex Information, M.J. Albers
    Continuous Usability Evaluation of Increasingly Complex, V. Stantchev
    Design Considerations for Usability Testing Complex Electronic Commerce Websites: A Perspective from the Literature, J. Fisher

    Designing for Complexity: Methods of Conceptualizing Design Needs of Complex Systems
    An Activity-Theoretical Approach to the Usability Testing of Information Products Meant to Support Complex Use, H. Shearer
    Designing Usable and Useful Solutions for Complex Systems: A Case Study for Genomics Research, R.S. Dicks
    Incorporating Usability into the API Design Process, R. Watson

    Practical Approaches: Methods for Evaluating Complexity
    Tapping into Desirability in User Experience, C.M. Barnum and L.A. Palmer
    Novel Interaction Styles, Complex Working Contexts, and the Role of Usability, D. Golightly, M. D’Cruz, H. Patel, M. Pettitt, S. Sharples, A.W. Stedmon, and J.R. Wilson
    Information Usability Testing as Audience and Context Analysis for Risk Communication, D.J. Kain, M. de Jong, and C.F. Smith
    Usability Testing, User Goals, and Engagement in Educational Games, J. Cootey


    Michael Albers, Brian Still

    "Taken as a whole, the papers in this book suggest a strong new direction for research in the user-centered design field. They highlight the importance of framing discussions of usability in an overall system, with all the complexity and potential framing that discussion entails."
    —Cohn Birge, University of Washington, in Technical Communication, November 2011