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IBM Systems Journal

Issue 4 • Date 2003

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Displaying Results 1 - 16 of 16
  • Message from the Senior Vice President, Technology and Manufacturing

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 1
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Preface

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 515 - 516
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    For over 20 years, academic and industry researchers have focused on the ease of use (or usability) of computer systems. This field, also known as humancomputer interaction and human factors engineering, has evolved and grown from humble beginnings to the point where its significance is widely appreciated in the world of information technology, and its role has become critical in a highly competitive business marketplace. View full abstract»

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  • Building ease of use into the IBM user experience

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 517 - 531
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (150 KB)  

    This issue of the IBM Systems Journal explores the topic of building ease of use into the IBM user experience with hardware, software, Web sites, and services. This paper provides an overview of the process and organizational transformation that IBM has gone through in improving the user experience with our offerings. IBM's process for building ease of use into the user experience is described and two versions of the process are introduced and contrasted. The IBM User-Centered Design (UCD) approach, which has been used for the last several years, is contrasted with the traditional approach to the development of offerings. A recent major enhanced version of the process, called User Engineering (UE), which is optimized for the IBM e-business on demand™ strategy, is contrasted with the existing UCD process. The key elements of our enablement, leadership, and guidance strategy for these processes are outlined, including mission, process integration, education and training, communication, collaboration, and tools and technology. An overview of the papers in this issue is also provided. View full abstract»

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  • The evolution of user-centered focus in the human-computer interaction field

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 532 - 541
    Cited by:  Papers (7)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (103 KB)  

    About 20 years have passed since the first conferences dedicated to human-computer interaction (HCI) were held. In that time many changes have occurred in how we think about making use of data gathered from users of technology to guide the process of designing and developing new hardware and software systems. Throughout this process there has been a productive dialog among academic and industry-based researchers and usability engineering practitioners. Academic research has provided insights into methods for understanding and modeling user behavior, and industry has provided a wide range of exciting technologies for consideration by researchers in HCI. This paper looks at the evolution of the field from the behavioral science perspective. We consider the evolution of the field within professional groups, such as the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI) and the International Federation for Information Processing Technical Committee (IFIP TC13), academic departments (primarily in computer science departments), and industry (primarily within IBM). In this paper we offer a view of this journey of 20 years, along with some visions and challenges of the future. View full abstract»

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  • Delivering expected value to users and stakeholders with User Engineering

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 542 - 567
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (234 KB)  

    The success of a product or service depends on how well it is received by its intended audience. Usually success results from a systematic design process that involves the intended users. The user experience consists of how a product or service is perceived by users, and the goal is to make the experience consistent and supportive. User Engineering (UE) is an evolving discipline that focuses on designing the total user experience, from initial awareness and acquisition of a product or service—the “offering”—to first use, then day-to-day use, onward through the life cycle of the offering. UE goes well beyond User-Centered Design by adopting software engineering approaches and tools. It applies these approaches and tools rigorously through all phases of a project from its initiation through its design, development, deployment, and life cycle. Rigor is introduced through detailed definitions of roles, activities, work products, methods, and measures, with a specific focus on assessing business-oriented measures against established targets throughout the entire process. A multidisciplinary design team is necessary for UE to create the user experience in partnership with its intended users. This paper presents an overview of the fundamental concepts of the UE process, including an appreciation of the engineering-inspired rigor. View full abstract»

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  • Usability and design considerations for an autonomic relational database management system

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 568 - 581
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (237 KB)  

    Autonomic systems offer numerous advantages over non-autonomic systems, and many of these advantages relate to ease of use. The advantages regarding ease of use include reducing the number of low-level system administration tasks, simplifying the system administrator's interface, handling exceptions which would otherwise have resulted in system alerts, and the learning, by the system, of actions taken by the administrator. However, human intervention must still be factored in, and care must be taken in the design of autonomic systems not to make the system administrator's task more difficult. This paper examines the ease-of-use ramifications of autonomic computing in the context of relational databases in general, and of the IBM® DB2® Universal Database™ Version 8.1 autonomic computing system in particular. View full abstract»

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  • Methodology for remote usability activities: A case study

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 582 - 593
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (764 KB)  

    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. View full abstract»

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  • Iterative development in the field

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 594 - 612
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (838 KB)  

    In this paper, we describe Iterative Development in the Field (IDF), a User-Centered Design approach for developing interactive applications. This approach is characterized by repeated evaluation and redesign cycles that are carried out throughout the product life cycle, from initial discovery and gathering of requirements to beyond deployment in the field. The evaluation is based on the use of interactive prototypes and is performed by actual users in the field. We describe how IDF has evolved over the past 13 years through the experience gained from four major projects and offer a set of guidelines for successful IDF that we illustrate with examples from our experience. We discuss limitations in the applicability of IDF and conclude with some comments regarding the future of IDF. View full abstract»

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  • Extending prototyping

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 613 - 623
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (865 KB)  

    Prototyping, a technique often employed by software developers, has been primarily used for usability studies. We discuss in this paper, through case studies, our experience in the use of prototyping during various phases of the product life cycle, including planning, testing, marketing, and field support. View full abstract»

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  • Developing a voice-spelling alphabet for PDAs

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 624 - 638
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (133 KB)  

    A persistent problem with personal digital assistants (PDAs) is the difficulty of entering data into the devices. The best current solutions to the problem are small soft keyboards and constrained handwriting recognizers. Another solution is use of speech. PDAs do not yet have the power to support full speech dictation, but they do have sufficient power to support voice spelling. Voice-spelling problems include the high acoustic confusability between certain letters of the alphabet and the difficulty of memorizing code words for the letters of the alphabet. This paper describes several User-Centered Design studies conducted to develop a voice-spelling alphabet for PDAs that overcomes these problems, including: (1) the development of a model of user performance to assess the potential of voice spelling as an alternate input method for PDAs, (2) Web-based surveys for determining the words that people tend to associate with the letters of the alphabet, (3) accuracy experiments used to tune the final voice-spelling alphabet, and (4) the development of a graphical user interface for displaying code words as a prompt when voice spelling is used. The results of these studies suggest that it would be worthwhile to develop a working voice-spelling system for PDAs in the future. View full abstract»

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  • No wires attached: Usability challenges in the connected mobile world

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 639 - 651
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (299 KB)  

    Mobile computing platforms combining small, lightweight, low-power devices with wireless network connectivity enable the performance of familiar tasks in new environments and create opportunities for novel interactions. Since mobility imposes significant cognitive and ergonomic constraints affecting device and application usability, ease of use is central to devices in the fully mobile wirelessly connected (FMWC) world. In this paper, we consider mobility as an attribute both of the computer and the user. We explain the differences between transportable and fully mobile devices, and we contrast applications that are essentially FMWC applications, those that can be adapted to the FMWC context, and those that are unsuitable for it. We discuss the unique challenges to usability for mobile users and devices and their interaction, and we point out the increasingly critical role of usability in the mobile environment. View full abstract»

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  • Developing accessible software for data visualization

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 652 - 668
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2488 KB)  

    An increasing number of countries are establishing regulations that require information technology to be fully accessible by all users. To make software products accessible, they must be designed and implemented so that they can also be used by persons with sensorial or physical impairments. Although checklists and coding guidelines are available, this requirement can be challenging, especially when implementing accessibility for a product that displays information in a graphical format. This paper presents a process-oriented view of addressing accessibility issues in software development. It describes what had to be taken into consideration and how accessibility issues were solved. The experience was gained during the development of the IBM DB2® Intelligent Miner™ Visualization, an application used to visualize data mining results. The following areas are addressed: integrating design for accessibility into the development process, providing special design features that enable users to interact with graphical data, and programming solutions for accessibility features. View full abstract»

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  • Access ThinkPad: The right information at the right time and place

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 669 - 685
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2062 KB)  

    This paper describes the application of a User Engineering process to the design and development of product documentation in order to maintain customer satisfaction and provide market differentiation in an increasingly commoditized product segment. We present the challenges of transforming a print-centric product documentation strategy into a marketable intelligent on-screen information system called Access ThinkPad®. First, we outline the intelligent information concept, forged from the tension between customer research and business reality. Second, we present the iterative design and validation processes used for the Access ThinkPad information system. Third, we discuss the realization of the project goals of improved customer satisfaction and product cost savings. We conclude with lessons learned from our experience and how they apply to future efforts. View full abstract»

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  • Personalizing the user experience on ibm.com

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 686 - 701
    Cited by:  Papers (3)  |  Patents (1)
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (973 KB)  

    In this paper, we describe the results of an effort to first understand the value of personalizing a Web site, as perceived by the visitors to the site as well as by the stakeholder organization that owns it, and then to develop a strategy for introducing personalization to the ibm.com Web site. We started our investigation by conducting literature reviews, holding brainstorming sessions with colleagues around the world, and performing heuristic usability evaluations of several relevant Web sites. We adopted a User-Centered Design approach and conducted a number of usability studies applied to the subset of the ibm.com Web site that business customers use for all aspects of purchase, service, and support of computer equipment. These studies employed a number of low- and medium-fidelity prototypes that we developed for this purpose. Our proposal for personalizing ibm.com consists of a set of 12 personalization features, selected for the value they offer to customers and to the business. View full abstract»

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  • Books

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 702 - 705
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | PDF file iconPDF (52 KB)  
    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Contents of Volume 42, 2003

    Publication Year: 2003 , Page(s): 706 - 708
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Aims & Scope

Throughout its history, the IBM Systems Journal has been devoted to software, software systems, and services, focusing on concepts, architectures, and the uses of software.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
John J. Ritsko
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center5