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A Usability Evaluation of Workplace-Related Tasks on a Multi-Touch Tablet Computer by Adults with Down Syndrome

Libby Kumin, Jonathan Lazar, Jinjuan Heidi Feng, Brian Wentz, and Nnanna Ekedebe

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2012, pp. 118 - 142

Article Contents


We decided that for the current investigation of using touch-screens for workplace-related tasks, a modified usability testing methodology would be the most appropriate approach. Usability testing, at a basic level, is when representative users perform representative tasks (Nielsen, 1993). And a typical focus of usability testing is finding and fixing flaws in an interface. This research study is designed to be a preliminary investigation of how users with Down syndrome could potentially utilize touch-screens for workplace tasks to obtain a sense of some of the potential challenges to effective use of tablet computers for this population and to investigate how usability testing involving people with Down syndrome could be effectively performed. Typically, a usability testing method is used to understand what improvements are needed in interfaces (or compare the effectiveness of different interfaces), whereas experimental design is utilized more often to study users themselves or interfaces (controlling one aspect and studying the other). The focus of this study is equally on understanding the users themselves and also understanding potential interface improvements. Usability testing is the most appropriate method to reach this goal for the following reasons: