Table A.1 [2,12] gives an example of how the context of use can be specified in terms of attributes which may be relevant to the usability. A product to be used in a particular context can be specified under these headings. Specifications may be either in terms of relevant characteristics, or the identification of a specific instance. (When specifying a particular instance of a product which can be customised, it will be necessary to specify what adaptations have been made to the default characteristics of the product.)
Verifiable and repeatable descriptions of usability require measures of usability which can be repeated in a specified context. Unless evaluation of usability can take place in conditions of actual use, it will be necessary to decide which attributes of the actual or intended context of use are to be represented in the context which is specified for evaluation. When specifying or evaluating usability it is therefore important that the context selected is representative of the important aspects of the actual or intended context of use. Particular attention should be given to those attributes which are judged to have a significant impact on the usability of the product.
This information should form part of any report on usability.
Table A.1 Example of attributes of the context of use
Personal details User types Audience and secondary users
Skills & knowledge Product experience System knowledge Task experience Organisational experience Training Keyboard & input skills Qualifications Language skills General knowledge
Personal attributes Age Gender Physical capabilities Physical limitations and disabilities Intellectual ability Attitude Motivation
Structure Hours of work Group working Job function Work practices Assistance Interruptions Management structure Communications structure Remuneration
Attitudes & culture Policy on use of computers Organisational aims Industrial relations