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International Standards for Usability Should Be More Widely Used

Nigel Bevan

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, May 2009, pp. 106-113

Article Contents


Using Standards in a Contract

Standards have the most impact when used in legislation or in a contract, although some ergonomics standards for hardware can be used in support of health and safety regulations in the EU (Bevan, 1991; Stewart, 2000b). Usability standards are likely to have the most influence when cited in commercial contracts. The following are examples of how the standards described in this paper could be used contractually:

In a large project where usability is important, a contract could include all four types of standards. Use the CIF to establish requirements and to demonstrate overall usability. Use ISO 18529 or ISO 18152 as a prerequisite for carrying out appropriate activities as part of human centered design (ISO 13407 and ISO 9241-210). Use ISO 9241 to provide guidelines for user interface design. All of these standards could be used as a basis for education and training. ISO 18529 or ISO 18152 can provide a framework for usability process improvement (Bevan, 2005b). Using standards would also provide the designer with a defense against possible legal claims where human error may have serious consequences or where the product may lead to health problems (e.g., RSI) (Earthy et al., 2001).

Why not investigate how you could use usability standards? Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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