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Software component usability is a critical characteristic which represents the significant difference between conventional software quality models and component quality models. Current procedures and techniques are mostly concentrated on usability aspects of software systems as per end-user point of view (who interacts with the system). Very less research has been done to analyse usability characteristics from the viewpoint of a system designer, component selector, component acquirer and system integrator. This study provides a methodology based on digraph and matrix approach to provide in depth analysis of a component considering the usability characteristic. Digraph and (permanent) matrix are utilised to analyse component usability by considering all sub-characteristics and attributed factors along with all levels of interactive complexity (inter-intra) based on the concurrent approach. The proposed methodology will provide benefits to the component designer, component developer, system developer and decision maker. The concept of formation of hypothetical maximum (best) and hypothetical minimum (worst) index is proposed. Based on these, users can take the decision for selection, evaluation and ranking of potential candidates and wherever possible attain improvements in the component design and development. The applicability of the proposed methodology is demonstrated with an illustrative example.
Date of Publication: April 2011