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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Technology Management and Policy | 2013
Thesis number: 13401
Usability testing throughout the application lifecycle
Author: Kallankari, Joonas
Title: Usability testing throughout the application lifecycle
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Technology Management and Policy
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; tietotalous; knowledge economy; tutkimus ja kehitys; research and development; käytettävyys; usability; tuotekehitys; product development; elinkaari; life cycle
Pages: 94
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13401.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1337790)
Key terms: usability testing; application lifecycle management; DeLone and McLean information system success model; system usability scale
Abstract:
Objectives of the Study

The aim of this master's thesis is to evaluate if and how usability testing could be used as a part of Application Lifecycle Management. This thesis addresses the current lack of evaluation and strategic management methods for Application Lifecycle Management, especially during the later phases of the application lifecycle. Scholars have acknowledged that usability testing has potential for mid-lifecycle use, but mid-lifecycle usability testing is not yet widely applied by organizations.

Methodology of the study

Prior research was used to build a framework for usability testing throughout the application lifecycle. The framework presents application lifecycle management in terms of the duration of the lifecycle as well as the different aspects of organization that manage, develop, and use the application. After developing the framework, a set of usability testing methodologies is suggested to be used with the framework.

The developed framework and the developed testing methodology were evaluated through applying the testing methodology in two separate company projects and collecting feedback from company representatives.

Findings and conclusions

Communicating with the users during the initial development and updating of applications is important and there is potential for usability testing as a part of Application Lifecycle Management. This research confirmed the notion that greatest utility from usability testing is gained at the initial development phase of the application lifecycle. The results suggest that usability metrics can be used to support decision making also during the later phases of the application lifecycle. The company interviews showed that usability metrics are suitable to some extent for strategic management of applications in form of evaluating vendors and applications in the long-term. However, in order to make usability testing more appealing as a supporting tool for Application Lifecycle Management, usability testing methodologies must be developed. Businesses have a need for objective usability testing results even with limited samples, as it is not easy for companies to find and engage real test users. Scholars must try to develop ways to introduce cost as a measure of severity of a given usability issue. This will add the value of usability testing outside of academia.
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