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International Standards

There are several useful international standards on usability-related topics.

Why are standards important?

Standards are a formal agreement on a specific, detailed topic. They allow us to codify best practices or a set of requirements, and share them across industries, national boundaries and disciplines.

Some standards focus on processes, describing principles and making recommendations for how to achieve a results. Others are detailed specifications, and contain requirements that must be met. Both are useful in establishing a user-centered design process or in evaluating the usability of a product.

 

Getting copies of standards

Standards are generally sold by the organizations that publish them, or by a national standards organization.

The easiest way to locate a standards document is to look it up by number (for example, ISO 13407).

Some sources of standards:

  • Human-Centred Design Process
    (ISO 13407)

    This standard is the basis for many UCD methodologies. It defines a general process for including human-centered activities throughout a development life-cycle.
  • Ergonomic Requirements for Office Work with Video Display Terminals
    (ISO 9241)

    This standard is the source of one of the commonly cited definitions of usability.
  • Common Industry Format for Reporting Usability Results
    (ISO/IEC 25062:2006 )

    This standard contains a template for formal usability reports.
  • Web Accessibility Initiative of the W3C (WAI)
    This initiative is the source for the best web standards, and is also the basis for many national regulations.

For a complete list, see International standards for usability on UsabilityNet. The standards in this list are categorized by whether they concern:

  • the use of the product
  • the user interface and interaction
  • the process used to develop the product
  • the capability of an organisation to apply user centered design

 

 

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