AM Tutorial  (8:00 a.m. - Noon)

Software for Use: An Introduction for Software Quality Professionals

by Larry Constantine
Intermediate level

Summary: The quality of user experience, particularly user performance, is a fundamental factor in software quality that is all too often ignored or short changed. Drawing on more than a decade and a half of experience with a proven, industrial-strength approach to design and development, this tutorial will focus  on principles and practices that can help software quality professionals contribute to improved user experience. It will explore what makes software easier to learn in the first place and more efficient to use once learned. It will show how software can better accommodate to varied styles of interaction, more effectively communicate with users, and reduce the number and severity of user errors.

Abstract: Software quality is many things, but the quality of user experience, particularly user performance, is a fundamental factor in software quality that is all too often ignored or short changed. Software quality professionals are in a unique position to play a more active and effective role in helping their organizations deliver software that is more useful and usable. User experience is a key component of software quality, but it is more than just a matter of rave reviews or high ratings in user satisfaction. It is a complex, multi-dimensional technical aspect of software quality. Moreover, the quality of user experience is shaped over the entire product design and development lifecycle. It is influenced by how requirements are defined, how solutions to requirements are designed, and how designs are assessed and evaluated.

This tutorial will give software quality professionals a precise and detailed perspective on the factors that make up user experience and software usability. It will an introduce industrial-strength design approaches developed by the presenter and his collaborators that have been in successful use on numerous projects and for varied applications worldwide for more than a decade and a half.  The tutorial will focus on principles and practices that can be put into immediate practice by software quality professionals and that can help them contribute to improving user experience and the success of delivered software. It will explore what makes software easier to learn in the first place and more efficient to use once learned. It will clarify the differences between user-centered and usage-centered approaches. It will show how adherence to and tracking of simple usability principles can impact software quality. It will show how software can be made to better accommodate to varied styles of interaction, more effectively communicate with users, and reduce the number and severity of user errors.

Larry L. Constantine Presenter Bio: Larry L. Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow, is an award-winning designer and design methodologist specializing in interaction design for software, Web, and embedded applications. One of the pioneers of software engineering whose current work centers on understanding and supporting human activity, he has contributed numerous concepts and techniques forming the foundations of modern practice in software engineering and applications design and development. His award-winning design innovations include multiple patents in human-machine interaction. His publications in both the computer sciences and human sciences include over 175 articles and papers plus 17 books, among them Software for Use (Addison-Wesley), written with Lucy Lockwood and winner of the prestigious Jolt Award as the best book of 1999, The Peopleware Papers (Prentice Hall), and the classic text, Structured Design (Prentice Hall), written with Ed Yourdon. His books have been translated into nine languages, including Russian, Chinese, and Japanese. A highly regarded presenter and teacher, he has lectured and taught around the world and has keynoted numerous major international conferences. Constantine is Chief Scientist with Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd., the international design consultancy he co-founded, and Director of the Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering (Lab:USE) at the University of Madeira, Portugal where he is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Engineering teaching in the Joint Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction with Carnegie-Mellon University.