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A Survey of Software Learnability: Metrics, Methodologies and Guidelines

Best paper award nominee
ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
2009

Abstract

It is well-accepted that learnability is an important aspect of usability, yet there is little agreement as to how learnability should be defined, measured, and evaluated. In this paper, we present a survey of the previous definitions, metrics, and evaluation methodologies which have been used for software learnability. Our survey of evaluation methodologies leads us to a new question-suggestion protocol, which, in a user study, was shown to expose a significantly higher number of learnability issues in comparison to a more traditional think-aloud protocol. Based on the issues identified in our study, we present a classification system of learnability issues, and demonstrate how these categories can lead to guidelines for addressing the associated challenges.

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Software Learning

The Learning project aims to investigate advanced techniques for assisting users in learning complicated applications. We are interested in a range of investigations from the scientific study of the human learning process to prototyping novel interaction techniques for improving the general learning mechanisms that can be applied to all applications.

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