Revisiting usability's three key principles

Gilbert Cockton

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)


    The foundations of much HCI research and practice were elaborated over 20 years ago as three key principles by Gould and Lewis [7]: early focus on users and tasks; empirical measurement; and iterative design. Close reading of this seminal paper and subsequent versions indicates that these principles evolved, and that success in establishing them within software development involved a heady mix of power and destiny. As HCI's fourth decade approaches, we re-examine the origins and status of Gould and Lewis' principles, and argue that is time to move on, not least because the role of the principles in reported case studies is unconvincing. Few, if any, examples of successful application of the first or second principles are offered, and examples of the third tell us little about the nature of successful iteration. More credible, better grounded and more appropriate principles are needed. We need not so much to start again, but to start for the first time, and argue from first principles for apt principles for designing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceeding of the twenty-sixth annual CHI conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems - CHI '08
    EditorsMary Czerwinski, Arnie Lund, Desney Tan
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Print)9781605580128
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
    EventCHI 2008 (ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) - Boston, MA., USA
    Duration: 1 Apr 2008 → …


    ConferenceCHI 2008 (ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems)
    Period1/04/08 → …


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