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Achieving high ease of use demands that an iterative design-evaluation-redesign process be followed. User interface evaluations and, sometimes, design work as well, require the participation of many target users, who often collaborate in the use of the product. In many cases, project members and potential users are spread worldwide, making face-to-face interaction difficult and expensive. Given these conditions and the ever-present consideration of keeping travel expenses down, human factors engineers and human-computer interaction experts are adopting a methodology that involves performing user interface design and assessment activities remotely, thus avoiding prohibitive travel costs while maintaining a high level of customer involvement. This paper presents a survey of various types of remote usability activities and some of the types of tools that are being used, and it describes a case study in which this methodology was applied; that is, the design of the Design Solutions application for the IBM Customer Connect portal.
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