Background to the development of this interactivity

This interactivity was developed as part of a postgraduate research project for the Human-Centred Computer Systems Masters course at Sussex University (UK) in 2000/2001. As such it was developed as an experimental rather than professional website and is not a commercial tool. The intention was to develop a website which would serve both as a reference resource for usability practitioners and as a pedagogical tool for students.

The aim of the project was to develop a web-based interactive learning toolkit, that could enable you to learn about how to select the most appropriate set of heuristics for evaulating a given device. In doing so, we hope it also allows you to reflect on the decisions that need to be considered behind selecting heuristics for evaluating different interactive products.

The first stage of the project established the sets of heuristics to be used on the website. A questionnaire study was conducted involving fellow students and faculty within the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS) at Sussex. The study resulted in us being able to derive the lists of "suggested heuristics" for various contemporary devices, which you see on this website.

It should be noted that these heuristics are by no means "definitive". Heuristic evaluation is very subjective and heuristics can be dependent on lots of different factors - there are no right or wrong answers. Similarly, the types of electronic device included on the website were not intended to form a definitive list, but to comprise a representative set of modern, state-of-the-art devices.

Once the sets of heuristics had been determined, the website itself was developed through iterative cycles of design, implementation and evaluation. The various stages of evaluation involved expert users, a sample of representative users from within COGS and members of the Human-Computer Interface (HCI) community in the UK.

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