Title: Usability analysis and design structure matrix

Authors: Petri Helo, Tauno Kekale, Satu Lautamaki

Addresses: Logistics Systems Research Group, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, FIN-65101 Vaasa, Finland. ' Industrial Management, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, FIN-65101 Vaasa, Finland. ' Western Finland Design Centre MUOVA, University of Art and Design, Wolffintie 36A, 65200 Vaasa, Finland

Abstract: Computer-based user interfaces are incorporated in important parts of many electronics products. Recently, new systematic approaches have been presented for analysing the usability of user interfaces. These approaches include simulation and time analysis of different user interface structures. The general objective of these analyses is to reduce the time for users to browse for the aimed action. This paper discusses the potential of using a Design Structure Matrix (DSM) for analysing user interfaces. Instead of traditional state analysis for software, we take the user action flow point of view. Each user selection may have a time delay, with transition probabilities, assigned in a DSM matrix. In addition to comparison between different UI elements, the DSM approach can suggest a sequence for user interface elements. Illustrative examples of commonly known user interfaces are taken from the Apple iPod music player, Sendo mobile phone and web sales configuration tool. Finally, the potential of DSM for usability analysis is discussed and recommendations for further research are outlined.

Keywords: design structure matrix; DSM; usability analysis; user interfaces; Apple iPod; music players; Sendo mobile phones; web sales configuration; cell phones.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2009.022825

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2009 Vol.4 No.2, pp.233 - 244

Available online: 27 Jan 2009 *

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