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NIST'S SOFTWARE USABILITY PROGRAM GAINING INDUSTRY ATTENTION.

Recent articles in several publications highlighted two software usability products developed at NIST--NIST WebMetrics and the Common Industry Format (CIF) for Usability Test Reporting. This signifies industry understanding of the importance of these measurement tools for assessing web and software usability.

A product review of automated web usability tools included a favorable article about one of the NIST WebMetrics tools--the Web Static Analyzer Tool (WebSAT). This article was included in the August 2000 issue of Web Techniques (http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/2000/08/stratrevu/) and noted WebSAT's usefulness for ensuring that the HTML code follows good coding practices and for providing basic usability guidelines. WebSAT identifies potential usability problems according to six categories: accessibility, form use, performance, maintainability, navigation, and readability.

In addition, the recently released book WebSite Usability Handbook provides a CD that includes the NIST WebMetrics Suite. The suite includes four tools, which are also available on the web (http://www.nist.gov/webmet/).

The feature article in the July 2000 issue of the Computer Systems Technical Groups CSTG Bulletin explained the benefits of the Common Industry Format (CIF) for Usability Test Reporting project at NIST (http://wellhost.com/cstg/nl2000_27_1.pdf). This project was initiated 3 years ago at NIST to increase the visibility of software usability by means of a widely accepted and understood method for reporting the results of usability testing. Several prominent software suppliers and consumer organizations worked together to understand user needs and tasks and to develop a common format. This allows consumer organizations to treat usability as an important criterion for software procurement. The first release of the CIF is available on the web (http://zing.ncsl.nist.gov/iusr/documents/cifvl.lb.htm).
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Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
Words:285
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