Usability tools and the design process

Lynne Coventry, K. Tara Smith

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


This paper explores the role of evaluation methods within the design process. It addresses the issue of how to predict if a design will be successful in the commercial environment by ensuring the requirements for usability and desirability are all addressed. It identifies three key aspects for consideration within the iterative design – evaluation process; designing for early adopters (which is not the same as designing for the mass market), meeting user expectations and desires for a new product and recognising the impact of behavioural change on uptake of a new product. Research and evaluation methods are a key component of Coventry’s research interests. Her ongoing work seeks to understand the impact of new designs on the mass consumer market. Coventry has worked for several years with the co-author; developing and conducting evaluations of financial self service systems. This paper is a result of a brainstorming session to review evaluation methods; what was working and why. It questions the premise that users are easily defined into groups and that a single design, with a few different features, will fit all and suggests that the people who will first use a product are not necessarily your sustained user base and their expectations and desires are not necessarily the same. The paper is based on a number of design projects within the advanced research group in NCR and was one of the first to explore the role of the research method in successfully predicting the future success of a product and the areas affecting uptake. This work fills the gap between market research and usability evaluation techniques to identify not only if a product will be usable but if it will be acceptable to its future users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Ergonomics 2002
EditorsPaul T. McCabe
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages624
ISBN (Print)0415277345
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006

Publication series

NameContemporary Ergonomics
PublisherTaylor & Francis


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