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Research at St Andrews

Challenges of traditional usability evaluation in end-user development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Daniel Rough, Aaron Quigley

School/Research organisations


End-user development (EUD) research has yielded a variety of novel environments and techniques, often accompanied by lab-based usability studies that test their effectiveness in the completion of representative real-world tasks. While lab studies play an important role in resolving frustrations and demonstrating the potential of novel tools, they are insufficient to accurately determine the acceptance of a technology in its intended context of use, which is highly dependent on the diverse and dynamic requirements of its users, as we show here. As such, usability in the lab is unlikely to represent usability in the field. To demonstrate this, we first describe the results of a think-aloud usability study of our EUD tool “Jeeves”, followed by two case studies where Jeeves was used by psychologists in their work practices. Common issues in the artificial setting were seldom encountered in the real context of use, which instead unearthed new usability issues through unanticipated user needs. We conclude with considerations for usability evaluation of EUD tools that enable development of software for other users, including planning for collaborative activities, supporting developers to evaluate their own tools, and incorporating longitudinal methods of evaluation.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnd-User Development
Subtitle of host publication7th International Symposium, IS-EUD 2019, Hatfield, UK, July 10–12, 2019, Proceedings
EditorsAlessio Malizia, Stefano Valtolina, Anders Morch, Alan Serrano, Andrew Stratton
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9783030247805
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event7th International Symposium on End-User Development, IS-EUD 2019 - Hatfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019
Conference number: 7

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11553 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th International Symposium on End-User Development, IS-EUD 2019
Abbreviated titleIS-EUD 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Case studies, End-user development, Usability

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ID: 260323818