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Methods for Designing Software to Fit Human Needs and Capabilities Proceedings of the Workshop on Software Human Factors Nancy S. Anderson and Judith Reitman Olson, Editors Committee on Human Factors Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1985
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. The Committee on Human Factors in the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education is sponsored jointly by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Office of Naval Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. This work relates to Department of the Navy Grant No. N00014-85-G-0093 issued by the Office of Naval Research under Contract Authority NR 196-167. However, the content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The United States government has at least a royalty-free, nonexclusive and irrevocable license throughout the world for government purposes to publish, translate, reproduce, deliver, perform, dispose of, and to authorize others so to do, all or any portion of this work. Available from: Committee on Human Factors, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20418.
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WORKSHOP ON SOFTWARE HUMAN FACTORS NANCY S. ANDERSON (Chair ), Department of Psychology , Un iver s ity of Maryland ELIZABETH K. BAILEY, Software Metr ics, Inc., Falls Church, Va. STUART L. CARD, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center , Palo Alto, Calif. JOHN M. CARROLL, Watson Research Center, IBM Corporation, Yor k town He igh ts, N. Y. . ALPHONSE CHAPANIS, Industrial and Human Factors Consulting Services, Baltimore, Md. H. REX HARTSON, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University DAVID R. LENOROVITZ, Computer Technology Associates, Inc. Englewood, Colo. MARILYN M. MANTEI, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Michigan JUDITH REITMAN OLSON, Graduate School of Business ~ Administration, University of Michigan RICHARD W. PEW, Bolt Beranek and Newman Laboratories, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. PHYLLIS REISNER, IBM Research, San Jose, Calif. JANET WALKER, Symbolics, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. JOHN A. WHITESIDE, Digital Equipment Corporation, Maynard, Mass . ROBERT C. WILLIGES, Department of Industr ial Eng ineer ing and Operations Research, Virgin ia Polyteabn ic I nsti tute and State University iii
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COMMITTEE ON HUMAN FACTORS THOMAS B. SHERIDAN (Chair), Mechanical Engineering and Applied Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology NANCY S. ANDERSON, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland ALPHONSE CHAPANIS, Industrial and Human Factors Consulting Services, Baltimore, Md. JEROME ELKIND, Systems Development, Xerox Corporation, Palo Alto, Calif. BARUCH FISCHHOFF, Decision Research (a branch of Perceptronics, Inc.), Eugene, Ore. OSCAR GRUSKY, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles ROBERT M. GUION, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University JULIAN HOCHBERG, Department of Psychology, Columbia University K.~. EBERHARD KROEMER, Ergonomics Laboratory, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University THOMAS K. LANDAUER, Bell Communications Research, Morristown, N.J. JUDITH REITMAN OLSON, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Michigan RICHARD M. PEW, Bolt Beranek and Newman Laboratories, Inc., Cambridge, Mass. STOVER H. SNOOK, Ergonomics Laboratory, Liberty Mutual Research Center, Hopkinton, Mass. ROBERT C. WILLIGES, Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University STANLEY DEUTSCH, Study Director ANNE M. SPRAGUE, Administrative Secretary or
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CONTENT S FOREWORD PREFACE INTRODUCTION The Need for New Methods, 2 The Product Development Cycle, 3 ix xi 1 HUMAN FACTORS METHODS IN RESEARCH AND PRODUCT DESIGN 4 Analys is: Gather ing Ideas, 4 Des ign: The Initial Design, 6 Formal Analysis of the Initial Design, 10 Building a Prototype, 11 Prototype Testing w ith User s ,- 12 Redes ign, 16 Implementation: Monitor ing Continued Per formance, 16 OTHER METHODS ADVANCES AND SUCCESSES E UTURE METHODS CONCLUS ION REFERENCES · . V11 18 21 22 25 26
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FOREWORD The Committee on Human Factors was established in October 1980 by the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council. It is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. The principal objectives of the committee are to provide new perspectives on theoretical and methodological issues, identify basic research needed to expand and strengthen the scientific basis of human factors, and to attract scientists both inside and outside the field to perform needed research. The goal of the committee is to provide the solid foundation of research as a base on which effective human factors practices can build. Human factors issues arise in every domain in which humans interact with the products of a technological society. In order for the committee to perform its role effectively, it draws on experts from a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines. The committee includes specialists in the fields of psychology, engineering, biomechanics, cognitive sciences, machine intelligence, computer sciences, sociology, and human factors engineering. Other disciplines participate in the working groups, workshops, and symposia organized by the committee. Each of these disciplines contributes to the basic data, theory, and methods required to improve the scientific basis of human factors. 1X
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PREFACE Computers are pervasive in civilian and military equipment systems. The compatibility of computer-based devices and human users is predominantly dependent on the characteristics of the software. The term software human factors refers to the process of designing software to be effective for human use, i.e., easy to learn and use, productive, and efficient. However, no specific efforts have been made to operationally define the objectives of software human factors--a necessary step both to focus research goals and to provide a framework for development of general application principles. While a large amount of research has been performed on software features related to ease of use or user compat- ibility, most of these studies have been limited to a few features investigated in a specific context. Conse- quently, results from different studies cannot be inte- grated, and it is hard to draw conclusions that can be generalized to other situations. Overriding problems in the development of principles of software human factors are the lack of knowledge of how research on software human factors should be conducted and a paucity of tech- niques for measuring performance. For example, little is known about how to collect user data on Pease of learning, n how to define errors, how to record complex response-time metrics, and how to measure user satisfaction. Researchers interested in the development of principles for the design of user-compatible software have great need for guidance in both research methods and performance measurement techniques. AS an initial effort to fulfill this need, the committee conducted a two-day workshop to bring together highly qualified researchers with knowledge xi
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about how to design software to be usable based on studies in diverse fields. The Workshop on Software Human Factors was convened in June 1983 in Washington, D.C. The impetus for the workshop grew directly from the review of the state of research and practice in human-computer interaction in the committee's 1983 report, Research Needs for Human Factors. The workshop had three goals: o o To identify current methods used to design and evaluate human factors aspects of software, including overall design and methods for collecting data on user performance; To ascertain what we know from software research results that we did not know 10 years ago; and o To identify new research methods that are needed, both to develop design principles for software and to discover how users understand software systems. A group of 14 nationally recognized, active researchers in the field of human-computer interaction from both industry and academia were invited to participate in the workshop. These workshop members represented a variety of pertinent disciplines, including human factors, cogni- tive psyabology, computer science, experimental psychol- ogy, social psychology, and business administration. The relevant bodies of knowledge represented by the partici- pants include experimental design and data analysis, human performance measurement, software design, information processing, learning, and attitude assessment. Prior to the workshop, participants prepared short, informal posi- tion papers on the issues for distribution. To accomplish the goal of collecting the desired knowledge about the design of software, the group spent two days listing both design and evaluation methods currently in use for the product development of good software and relevant research methods for understanding basic issues in user-software interaction; describing each method and constructing a list of references in which these methods are used; categorizing methods according to their uses in various stages of software product development or in more basic research; and suggesting new methods and techniques, designating their possible uses, and indicating which appear to have high near-term payoff. The technical aspects of the workshop were organized by committee members Nancy S. Anderson and Alphonse Chapanis. The meeting was chaired by Nancy Anderson. xii
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The report that follows, edited by Nancy Anderson and Judith Reitman Olson, is based on discussions from the workshop and written materials and references contributed by the participants during and subsequent to the workshop. Special appreciation is extended to Robert T. Hennessy and M. Jeanne Richards, formerly of the committee staff, for the ir contributions in making the seas ions productive and pleasant; to Stanley Deutsch, study director of the committee, for his contributions to the organization and preparation of the report; to Christine McShane, of the Commission staff, for editorial support; and to Anne Sprague, administrative secretary, for secretarial and administrative support. They all helped to usher this report to publication. Nancy S. Anderson, Chair Workshop on Software Human Factors xiii
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