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CUE Paper Summary

Rolf Molich, Robin Jeffries, and Joseph S. Dumas,
“Making Usability Recommendations Useful and Usable,” Journal of Usability Studies
, vol. 2, no. 4, August 2007.



This paper evaluates the quality of recommendations for improving a user interface resulting from a usability evaluation.

The study compares usability comments written by different authors but describing similar usability issues. The usability comments were provided by seventeen professional teams who independently evaluated the usability of the web site for the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York.

The study finds that only 14 of the 84 studied comments (17%) addressing six usability problems contained recommendations that were both useful and usable. Fourteen recommendations were not useful at all. Sixteen recommendations were not usable at all. Quality problems include recommendations that are vague or not actionable, and ones that may not improve the overall usability of the application.

The paper suggests characteristics for ”useful and usable recommendations,” that is, recommendations for solving usability problems that lead to changes that efficiently improve the usability of a product.



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About this paper

The paper is 18 pages long in PDF format. The file size of the electronic version is 340 KB.

The paper is available here.

The paper was accepted by Avi Parush - the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Usability Studies - on June 28, 2007.

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