Context of use within usability activities

2006-06-20T16:09:06Z (GMT) by Martin Maguire
Designing for usability involves the activities of establishing user requirements for a new system or product, prototyping the user interface and testing it with representative users. However, before any usability design or evaluation activity can begin, it is necessary to understand the Context of Use for the product i.e. the goals of the user community, and the main user, task and environmental characteristics of the situation in which it will be operated. This paper describes the background to, and importance of, understanding Context of Use, and presents a process for performing a context analysis. It is based on the material from a workshop entitled 'Context of Use' presented at the Human Factors 2000 Symposium held at Loughborough University from 7th to 8th September 2000.