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SOFTWARE USABILITY FOR PROGRAMMERS - LESSONS LEARNED FROM ONE DECADE OF TEACHING

R. Pucher, B. Salzbrunn, V. Winter, D. Dolezal

University of Applied Sciences - Technikum Wien (AUSTRIA)
Software Usability has become one of the major factors for success in modern environments. Applications for smartphones or websites succeed not because one is the first on the market but increasingly because the service fulfills customer requirements best. This fact becomes increasingly known to management in small and large companies developing software. However, understanding the needs of customers still seems to be a major issue for most people designing and/or developing computer programs.

Despite this fact a recently conducted survey in around 100 companies in Austria reveals that persons in charge are aware of the need of usability engineering, but for many reasons the focus is not put onto that need. The most common reason is the fact, that the project plan does not include usability or user experience design. Details of the study will be given in the proposed paper.

At the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien the authors teach software usability for more than one decade. One of the lessons learned, is the immense complexity of psychological constrains which hinder software developers from understanding the needs of customers and therefore prevents them from carefully applying appropriate methods for usability engineering. The most important issues are the subjective believe of humans, that they understand the world and the inability to perceive the world with the eyes and mental models of different people.

Methods to help programmers understand what they need to find out about the needs of customers and methods how the satisfaction of customers can be measured have been included into the curriculum of the bachelorĀ“s program of Computer Science and the masterĀ“s program in Software Engineering. Details will be shown in the proposed paper.