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Discourse Variations Between Usability Tests and Usability Reports

Erin Friess

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 3, May 2011, pp. 102 - 116


While usability evaluation and usability testing has become an important tool in artifact assessment, little is known about what happens to usability data as it moves from usability session to usability report. In this ethnographic case study, I investigate the variations in the language used by usability participants in user-based usability testing sessions as compared to the language used by novice usability testers in their oral reports of that usability testing session. In these comparative discourse analyses, I assess the consistency and continuity of the usability testing data within the purview of the individual testers conducting “do-it-yourself” usability testing. This case study of a limited population suggests that findings in oral usability reports may or may not be substantiated in the evaluations themselves, that explicit or latent biases may affect the presentation of the findings in the report, and that broader investigations, both in terms of populations and methodologies, are warranted.

Practitioner’s Take Away

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Discourse Variations Between Usability Tests and Usability Reports