Design stages should iteratively be accompanied by usability reviewing cycles. Usability evaluations can identify usability problems and potentials of improvements from the very early beginning of the development process. A variety of methods (with and without user involvement) are available for any step in the process based on a target-oriented utilization of our user experience lab facilities.
Expert based usability reviews are carried out by a team of at least three usability engineers. Based on usability heuristics and criteria, studies are conducted independently. The results are then discussed and compared. Finally, a reviewing report including the identification of design improvements is produced.
According to the target groups and usage tasks (as identified during the requirements research phase), potential users are confronted with a system or with a prototype. Usability tests and usability experiments collect both objective as well as subjective data. User-based studies lead to further feedback and aspects of improvement. In addition, user based studies enable the testers to weight the importance of the usability problems detected.
Both expert-based as well as user-based usability studies lead to a valuable quality assessment - and therefore assurance step - within the whole development (in particular in relation to the prioritized usability criteria from the requirements research phase) process. Further context-specific evaluations can be conducted, such as:
User based usability feedback is collected over a longer period of time to research specific usability aspects such as learnability, memorability and trust.
Didactic backbones of learning systems need to be assessed in terms of their didactic quality and their learner support. CURE carries out quality assessments of didactic concepts, taking into account all relevant aspects concerning effective learning (e.g. learning goals, learning styles, social and physical learning environment, individual skills, abilities and backgrounds etc.). These studies consider also the classifying aspects of the contents to be learned (e.g. descriptive versus procedural content, pictorial versus textual contents, hierarchical versus networked etc.).
In order to assess the pedagogical quality of learning systems a validation is carried out. Different learning qualities can be studied in great detail, ranging from timely remembrance (short term, long term), procedural skills versus descriptive knowledge, to elaboration depth and semantic network embedding. In experimental settings these criteria can be quantified. The output of such studies enables the developer to optimize learning systems towards individual learners needs.