In his invited essay “Surviving our success: Three radical recommendations (PDF)“, Jared Spool points out that in spite of the increasing awareness of usability issues and the growing use of usability professionals, we still need to be cautious with our practice. In his typical style, Jared presents what he considers as radical recommendations that can help us survive the growing “success” of the usability profession.
In contrast to Jared Spool’s Radical Recommendation # 1, Rolf Molich, Robin Jeffries, and Joe Dumas actually suggest how to make useful and usable recommendations based on the results of usability studies. In their article “Making Usability Recommendations Useful and Usable“, they suggest ensuring your recommendations are really likely to improve usability, they cover the overall usability and not just specific aspects, and they should be stated clearly.
The topic of voting systems is still very important to the usability profession. Menno de Jong, Joris van Hoof, and Jordy Gosselt, have studied the usability and reliability of a voting system in the Netherlands. In their article titled: “User research of a voting machine: Preliminary findings and experiences” they found that in terms of vote casting errors, there was a little difference between working with the voting machine and actual “manual” vote.
The issues of metaphors in HCI and their impact on usability have been studied and discussed in many places. David Kaber, Noa Segall, and Rebecca Green address metaphor issues in their article: “Metaphor-based design of high-throughput screening process interfaces“. They combined some methods taken from cognitive engineering into this usability study, reflecting an important expansion of the usability tool box.
The August 2007 issue of the Journal of Usability Studies, a UPA-published peer-reviewed quarterly journal, just came out. Here is the introduction by editor Avi Parush: