Improving the quality of numerical software through user-centered design

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The software interface - whether graphical, command-oriented, menu-driven, or in the form of subroutine calls - shapes the user`s perception of what software can do. It also establishes upper bounds on software usability. Numerical software interfaces typically are based on the designer`s understanding of how the software should be used. That is a poor foundation for usability, since the features that are ``instinctively right`` from the developer`s perspective are often the very ones that technical programmers find most objectionable or most difficult to learn. This paper discusses how numerical software interfaces can be improved by involving users more actively in ... continued below

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17 p.

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Pancake, C. M., Oregon State University June 1, 1998.

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Description

The software interface - whether graphical, command-oriented, menu-driven, or in the form of subroutine calls - shapes the user`s perception of what software can do. It also establishes upper bounds on software usability. Numerical software interfaces typically are based on the designer`s understanding of how the software should be used. That is a poor foundation for usability, since the features that are ``instinctively right`` from the developer`s perspective are often the very ones that technical programmers find most objectionable or most difficult to learn. This paper discusses how numerical software interfaces can be improved by involving users more actively in design, a process known as user-centered design (UCD). While UCD requires extra organization and effort, it results in much higher levels of usability and can actually reduce software costs. This is true not just for graphical user interfaces, but for all software interfaces. Examples show how UCD improved the usability of a subroutine library, a command language, and an invocation interface.

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17 p.

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OSTI as DE98057879

Other: FDE: PDF; PL:

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jun 1998

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  • Other: DE98057879
  • Report No.: UCRL-CR--131046
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/314886 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 314886
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc683904

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • June 1, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • April 10, 2017, 2:05 p.m.

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Pancake, C. M., Oregon State University. Improving the quality of numerical software through user-centered design, report, June 1, 1998; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc683904/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.