Software Usability

CHASR staff are available to help you design usable software and evaluate and test the usability of software and partial software prototypes. Improving usability leads to a more satisfied userbase and a decrease in the learning curve among new users. We have the skills and in-house capacity to handle a wide variety of software types (i.e., graphical user interfaces, gestural user interfaces) and experience working with a range of deployment platforms, including mobile, desktop, and web-based applications.

User Interface and Interaction Design

CHASR supports user interface design and interaction design, and we have developed a number of custom applications for our researchers and clients over the years. We will work closely with you to understand your needs, and apply an iterative design approach, and involve you throughout the design process. We are experienced with a variety of design techniques, including contextual design, user interviews, and rapid paper prototyping, and we are also knowledgeable about design principles, such as Jakob Nielsen's usability heuristics and Don Norman’s design concepts. We use both when developing new interactive software.

Usability Testing

CHASR has the experience and expertise to capably carry out usability testing for our researchers and clients, and we have produced reports summarizing our findings. Usability testing is commonly used to find problems or gaps in an application’s user interface and interaction design. Testing involves recruiting participants through one of CHASR's internally-developed and managed recruitment panels or pools or through one of our third party panel partners, selected to represent the target audience. Participants are asked to carry out common tasks using the software, while an observer takes notes on problems encountered in completing the tasks. Participants are also given an opportunity provide additional feedback after each testing session through custom surveys or questionnaires.

Expert Review

We are experienced at carrying out expert usability reviews, used to supplement design or testing activities. Expert reviews are carried out by knowledgeable evaluators, and sessions follow a structured methodology that help to find usability problems. Common methods include heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough.