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CUE-2 - Hotmail

CUE-2 is a comparative usability test of the popular www.hotmail.com website conducted in November and December 1998. Nine teams simultaneously usability tested the site. 

Paper about CUE-2

Rolf Molich, Meghan R. Ede, Klaus Kaasgaard, and Barbara Karyukin, “Comparative Usability Evaluation,” Behaviour & Information Technology, vol. 23, no. 1, January/February 2004, pp. 65-74.
Abstract and e-prints

Available Downloads

·       The CHI99 extended abstract “Comparative Evaluation of Usability Tests” (Word 97 format, 36 KB).

·       All test reports and addendums in one self-unpacking zipped file (Word 97 and text formats, 730 KB).

·       Each team received a client test scenario that defined the usability test task at the start of the test period (PDF, 7 KB).

·       A comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each report (PDF, 93 KB).

The Most Important CUE-2 Findings

CUE-2 offers the following recommendations for development teams, usability professionals, and their managers:

·      Realize that there is no foolproof way to identify usability flaws. Usability testing by itself can’t develop a comprehensive list of defects. Use an appropriate mix of methods.

·      Place less focus on finding “all” problems. Realize that the number of usability problems is much larger than you can hope to find in one or even a few tests. Choose smaller sets of features to test iteratively and concentrate on the most important ones.

·      Realize that single tests aren’t comprehensive. They’re still useful, however, and any problems detected in a single professionally conducted test should be corrected.

·      Increase focus on quality and quality assurance. Prevent methodological mistakes in usability testing such as skipping high-priority features, giving hidden clues, or writing usability test reports that aren’t fully usable.

Read more in our CUE-2 paper. You can find information about how to obtain a copy in the left column.


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