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ezHPC: Adopting a Program-Wide, User-Centered Design Approach to the ezHPC User Interface

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1 Author(s)
Baca, J. ; Mississippi State Univ., Starkville

The Engineer Research and Development Center Major Shared Resource Center (ERDC MSRC) has been tasked by the Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) to adopt a program-wide design for the development of the recently introduced ezHPC user interface. The purpose of ezHPC is to provide all HPCMP users intuitive, efficient access to high performance computing (HPC) resources needed in their regular course of work. At the core of user-centered design is an emphasis on fully understanding HPC users and their work environment, enabling support for user needs, not developer concerns, to drive the design process. Fulfilling this goal requires the use of a variety of methods from the field of usability engineering. For ezHPC, methods have included to date (1) inclusion of users as part of the design team, (2) a facilitated focus group session, (3) a usability walkthrough, (4) a usability evaluation, and (5) rapid prototyping. In adherence to user-centered design, a user group (UG) was formed to serve as participants in the design of the ezHPC software. ezHPC UG members participated in a recent workshop for the purpose of assessing and improving the usability of the program-wide version of ezHPC. Results are currently being used to guide the new design of the ezHPC interface using rapid prototyping. Prototypes are under development for regular reviews by the UG, followed by iterative refinement. This direct early involvement of users ensures more responsive, user- centered interfaces. Formal, large-scale usability evaluations are expected in the latter half of the software cycle.

Published in:

DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program Users Group Conference, 2007

Date of Conference:

18-21 June 2007

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