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Usability Testing and Research (Part of the Allyn & Bacon Series in Technical Communication) Paperback – October 12, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0205315192 ISBN-10: 0205315194
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Built on a solid foundation of current research in the field, Usability Testing and Research provides a comprehensive, up-to-date perspective in this increasingly important area of technical communication. Based on the most current research in the field, this book reflects the most recent developments and studies on this topic available. Sidebars throughout the book catch the attention of the readers and highlight key concepts in the text. A chapter on web testing provides coverage of what is now the hottest area in usability testing. End of chapter discussions and exercises reinforce learning. Frequent examples of planning, conducting, and reporting usability tests present current samples of projects. An appendix on teamwork gives pertinent advice in an area neglected by other texts: building and coordinating cross-functional teams for usability testing. For those interested in usability testing and research.

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Product Details

  • Series: Technical Communication
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Longman (October 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205315194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205315192
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I love it when products work well and hate it when they don't. Back in the early 90's I discovered there was a word for this: usability. And a process for building usability into product development: usability testing.

That's why I wrote my latest book, Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set . . . Test! which is not the first book I have written on the subject, but which I hope you will find to be chock full of the latest developments for planning and conducting testing here, there, everywhere . . . in person or remotely. I also hope you find the new book a great read, whether you are just getting started or growing your knowledge of usability testing and your commitment to developing products with usability built in.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Allen W. Rotz on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am the Usability SIG Manager for the Washington, DC chapter of the STC (Society for Technical Communication). I wrote this review which was published in the October 2002 edition of the Usability Interface, the quarterly newsletter of the Usability SIG of the STC.
Don�t be fooled by the somewhat unmemorable cover of Usability Testing and Research. Carol Barnum combines research findings with practitioner experience to produce probably the most comprehensive but concise resources on usability testing now available.
This book is part of the Allyn & Bacon series in technical communication. Designed in part to fulfill the needs of students in a graduate-level class in usability, it is also a great resource for usability practitioners as a tool to update and upgrade their skills. The structure of this book should suit both neophytes and the experienced. Each chapter and its subsections are well structured with a logical progression from one section to the next. The table of contents is well organized and very readable so that a knowledgeable individual can scan to find those sections that are of most immediate interest. The index is likely to be a great reference tool as it was created by a professional usability tester, someone who should know what a reader is likely to need.
Dr. Barnum, a usability consultant and professor to graduate usability students, draws upon nearly every prominent usability authority to build a comprehensive bible of usability testing. The author�s academic background is evident in the careful footnoting of every page and the detailed listing of scores of references at the end of each chapter. If there is an issue the reader wishes to further explore, the source is cited for ready access.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Jarrett on May 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's been a long time since we've had a new textbook on usability testing. Dumas and Redish came out in 1993, Rubin in 1994 and although I still use both of them constantly, I've been looking out for a solid textbook that has more awareness of the web in it. Carol Barnum's new book meets that need.
The book opens with chapters on `What is Usability and What is Usability Testing', `Other Methods for Getting Feedback About Product Usability', `User and Task Analysis', and `Iterative Testing for User-Centred Design'. I can see that Carol wants to set user testing in context, but I was concerned that if you're really new to usability testing then you might be put off by Chapter 2 `Other methods', as it is a very densely written chapter that describes many techniques very briefly.
The meat of the book starts at Chapter 5 with `Planning for Usability Testing' and continues through `Preparing for Usability Testing', `Conducting the Usability Test', and `Analysing and Reporting Results'. The book then changes course slightly with a chapter on 'Web Usability', giving some design principles as well as details of applying the methods to the web.
Our Open University students love the plentiful examples in our course on User Interface Design and Evaluation. Carol Barnum's book should also appeal because of its extensive use of examples. She gives lots of detail from a student team's test of Hotmail (Microsoft's web-based e-mail service) so you can see the process as they tackled it. I found it a little frustrating that there weren't any screen shots of Hotmail as it stood at the time of the test.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arthur G. Elser on July 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Usability Testing and Research (UTAR), by Carol M. Barnum,is a book that every technical communicator should have on his or her bookshelf. Although written primarily as a textbook for college courses, UTAR is an excellent introduction to user-centered design and usability testing for those in industry who have had no formal training in the area, or for those who would like a refresher. The book is designed so you can read straight through, skip around and read topics of interest, or dip into for specific information. An excellent table of contents and thorough index make topics immediately accessible and make it easy to follow them through the book. It shouldn't be surprising, however, that a book about usability that is this good would provide excellent access.
The very brief summary of the highlights of UTAR are:
* A structure that moves from theory to practice in every step of user-centered design and usability testing
* Well-written text with lots of heads for easy navigation
* Anecdotal and humorous information in sidebars to make the theory real
* Great descriptions of low-fidelity usability testing with examples of how to do it
* Samples of the artifacts of usability testing such as plans, forms, reports, questionnaires, testing questions, and checklists
* Real case studies with their artifacts that are threaded throughout the book in the appropriate chapters and appendixes
* Discussion questions and exercises for those who want to teach from the book
* A chapter on Web usability testing
* An appendix on creating teams to do usability testing
Then, as if the book weren't good enough by itself, Barnum has included the URL of a Web site that provides resources, templates, forms, and other support.
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