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Supportive evaluation of interface design
May, J. & Barnard, P.
Proceedings of the First Interdisciplinary Workshop on Cognitive Modeling & User Interface Development, Vienna, 14-17 Dec 1994
Year of publication:
Growing disenchantment with the relevance of HCI theory to design is leading to a shift of emphasis in methodologies. The field is moving towards the provision of systematic evaluation methods, typified by Cognitive Walkthroughs (CW). Evidence is now accumulating that CW has not proved as effective as hoped. We argue that the problem lies not with CW or its underlying theory in particular, but with its dissociation of an evaluation method from its theoretical foundation. Evaluation methods retaining a theoretical element provide the necessary conceptual support to enable designers to identify, comprehend and resolve usability problems. They would also be less limited than dissociated evaluation methods in their breadth and depth of application. To illustrate how supportive evaluation could support the identification and resolution of usability problems, we describe three brief design scenarios, and discuss the role of cognitive modelling in the context of design.