User Driven: Improving End-User Quality Through Usability Testing


One of the most critical aspects in the initial adoption and sustained use of any piece of software is the usability of its interface. Software usability testing allows developers to address this aspect and improve the quality of their product from the user’s perspective through objective and subjective measures collected directly from the user in planned experiments. The analysis of usability test results produces empirical measures of the usability of a given software product. Even though formal software usability testing is frequently done in industry, the results are seldom published[1]. This scarcity of publications is even more pronounced in the open source software community[2]. The lack of open discussion about usability testing begs for an answer to the questions, “How does one do usability testing?” and, “How can I apply this approach to my Eclipse product?”

In this talk, I will present the Eclipse ICE team’s experience in planning and executing usability testing to help shape their software development process. The talk will cover the team’s usability testing journey through all stages of the process starting with initial study design and planning through results analysis and conclusions to help shape future development. The software and hardware tools used to monitor study participants’ interactions, such as mouse movement and key strokes, with the ICE team’s RCP-based application will be discussed. Additionally, the tools used to aid in the analysis and presentation of the data collected in the study will be covered.

Attendees can expect to leave this session with an insight into how the ICE team implemented formal usability testing to influence their software development practices along with an understanding of the tools and techniques that helped lead to success in their first usability testing experience.

[1] Seffah, Ahmed, and Eduard Metzker. "The obstacles and myths of usability and software engineering." Communications of the ACM 47.12 (2004): 71-76.
[2] Nichols, David, and Michael Twidale. "The usability of open source software." First Monday 8.1 (2003).


Session details
Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 15:15 to 15:50