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Usability engineering is a subset of human factors that is specific to computer science and is concerned with the question of how to design software that is easy to use. It is closely related to the field of human-computer interaction and industrial design.
The subject is considered of sufficient importance that a number of universities include a usability engineering course as part of the computer science curriculum.
The term Usability engineering (UE) (in contrast to other names of the discipline, like interaction design or user experience design) tends to describe a pragmatic approach to user interface design which emphasizes empirical methods and operational definitions of user requirements for tools. Extending as far as International Standards Organization-approved definitions (see e.g., IS0 9241 part 11) usability is considered a context-dependent agreement of the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specific users should be able to perform tasks. Advocates of this approach engage in task analysis, then prototype interface designs and conduct usability tests. On the basis of such tests, the technology is (ideally) re-designed or (occasionally) the operational targets for user performance are revised. [Dillon, 2000]
Template:Advert Among the leading proponents of this field of study are Donald Norman and Jakob Nielsen. Nielsen has written a book on the subject, aptly titled Usability Engineering, which was published in 1994.
- Andrew Dillon. Group dynamics meet cognition: combining socio-technical concepts and usability engineering in the design of information systems (http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/1282/01/Ad2000.pdf)
- Jakob Nielsen: Usability Engineering. Academic Press, Boston 1993 ISBN 0-12-518405-0
- pt:Engenharia de usabilidade
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