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Connecting usability education and research with industry needs and practices

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2 Author(s)
Cooke, L. ; Dept. of English, North Texas Univ., Denton, TX, USA ; Mings, S.

Ideally, academic research should inform workplace practices and workplace practices should inform academic research and education. However, as many researchers have noted, a gap often exists between academia and industry. This article begins to bridge that gap by reporting the results of a small-scale study at Microsoft in which 12 individuals were interviewed about their views on usability education and research. This study addressed two questions: (1) What knowledge, skills, and abilities should technical communication teachers stress in teaching usability and (2) how can academic research in usability benefit practitioners? The results indicate that usability education needs to be expanded to include additional usability evaluation methods and that students need strong critical assessment and communication skills when they enter the workplace. The results also reveal that usability research in the areas of return-on-investment, online help, and cognition would be of great use to practitioners.

Published in:

Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 3 )