Usability and HCI Resources

Organizations & Papers

Society for Technical Communication Usability Website
A new site and growing resource; see especially info on the Usability SIG.

Usable Web: Guide to Web usability resources
Keith Instone’s collection of links on user-centered design, usability engineering, and testing.

Usability Research at Microsoft
“Finally, the participant chooses a thank you gift from a list of Microsoft products, and the Engineer escorts him/her back to the lobby.”

Judging Web Sites: Usability or Criticism?
“Usability studies are less subject than criticism to individual eccentricity or bias, but the answers they provide are limited to what can readily be observed and measured. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of an order form or a small instruction booklet, but far harder to measure the  effectiveness of a hypertext on modern organic chemistry or an artistic exploration of adolescence.”

The Usability Methods Toolbox
James Hom provides background, secondary readings, and “How to” strategies for various testing approaches (Contextual Inquiry, Ethnographic Study/Field
Observation, Interviews and Focus Groups). 

Examples of Accessible (and Inaccessible) Web Design
ALT text tags, frames, tables

Interface Hall of Shame


Bravo, Ellen: “The Hazards of Leaving Out the Users” (from: Schuler &
Namioka (Eds.), Participatory Design: Principles and Practices. Hillsdale NJ:
Erlbaum: 1993.

Diani, Marco. “The Social Design of Office Automation.” Design Issues III(2);
also in V. Margolin (ed.) Design Discourse: History, Theory, Criticism. Chicago,
University of Chicago Press, 1989, 114-126.  [password needed]

Holtzblatt, Karen and Sandra Jones. “Contextual Inquiry: A
Participatory Technique for System Design.” Schuler, D., & Namioka, A. (Eds.).
Participatory Design: Principles and Practices. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 1993.[password needed]

Woolgar. “Configuring the User: The Case of Usability Trial.” from: A Sociology of  Monsters: Essays on Power,  Technology and Domination. Routledge, 1991.
[password needed]

Lee, Sung Heum. “Usability Testing for Developing Effective Interactive Multimedia Software: Concepts, Dimensions, and Procedures.”
Educational Technology & Society 2(2) 1999.

Bridging the Gap: Listening Skills for Usability Professionals How to use active listening during a usability testing session

Wilson, Linda. “Assistive Technology for the Disabled Computer User.

Sample Usability Studies and Tests 

Human-Computer Interaction & Ergonomics

Jastrzebowski, Wojciech. “An Outline of Ergonomics or The Science of Work Based Upon the Truths Drawn from the Science of Nature,” originally published in Nature and Industry, No 29 and No. 30 (1857); reprinted by Central Institute for Labour Protection, Warsaw, (J. Kaborowski, ed.), 1997.

Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII); see especially their Resource links on usability studies Human-Factors & Ergonomics

SIGCHI Bulletin (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction)There’s a real dearth of critical material, it seems, on the social, cultural, and ethical implications that underlie many of the practices and assumptions surrounding Human-Computer Interaction: access, cross-cultural communication, and uncritical acceptance of technology,  to name a few. The SIGCHI Bulletin publishes some critical work, however. For example, see Toward an HCI Research and Practice Agenda based on Human Needs and Social Responsibility:

Many members of the [SIGCHI] workshop were concerned with computer technologies as enablers of anti-social outcomes. Some of these outcomes included: internet addiction; the mediation of experience via technology; the creation of artificial needs; the increasingly intimate and pervasive ways that technologies are entering and affecting our lives; the feeling by some that they are becoming the captives of their technologies; and the general increase in the pace and demands of work life and interpersonal life. Some members of the workshop saw the following factors as driving these trends: uncritical adoption of technology as progress; the claims that technological impacts upon society are necessarily value-neutral; and the substitution of bandwidth for content as the value in communication.

No Comments

No comments yet.