TwinTide Newsletter N.4, May 2013
The Number 4 of the TWINTIDE Newsletter is available for download at here. The current issue is dedicated to the TwinTide Training School TUTOREM which was organized in Autumn 2012, in Bled, Slovenia.
WG 3: Interplay between Design and Evaluation, Quality Models and Standards

Coordinator: Ebba Hvannberg, University of Iceland (Iceland)


The main goal of this activity is to identify and critically review the quality attributes and software standards that are currently prioritized in design and evaluation processes in different sectors.

Basic Concepts:

Human-centred approaches to interactive software development have emphasised first usability and now user experience. Some HCI researchers and practitioners propose specific qualities of successful interaction, such as Jeff Raskin's automaticity. However, other qualities are given prominence in other software practices, for example, creativity in digital media. In high dependency systems, some combination of safety, security and reliability is required, with these qualities thus prominent in software engineering practice and research in relevant application domains. More recently, an emerging perspective within software engineering has stressed the quality of evolvability as being crucial to adapt alongside dynamic domain-specific models, user experiences, and organizational processes. The challenge in the development of interactive software is to balance these qualities, whether they relate to human usage, application performance or the software development process itself. Emphases on, and tradeoffs between, qualities vary with design purpose. At the most abstract level, balances and trade-offs here can be related to the "Quality in Software, Interaction and Value" (Q-SIV) framework, which is one of the fruitful outcomes of COST294. The Q-SIV framework addresses quality in software by looking at how using development tools can enhance usability or other qualities such as security of a system, and how methods and models can be integrated into the development process; to address quality in interaction, the Actionís partners can apply theoretical frameworks on the nature of interactions and methodologies to evaluate qualities such as usability, automaticity or delightfulness; to address quality in value, the Actionís partners assess the impact that a system has in the real world, focusing on both increasing value for software development and on increasing value for users and other stakeholders.

WG3 focuses on the development of the related software standards (e.g. ISO 9241 series, particularly ISO 9241-210 "Human-centred design processes for interactive systems" and ISO 9241-230 "Human-centred design methods"), which have been revised and created in response to the shift in the field of HCI. In particular, the Action aims to contribute to the refinement of such standards. Thematic topics include how different sectors appropriate and incorporate standards in their products/services, and which quality factors (e.g. safety, usability, reliability, evolvability) individual sectors prioritize and how they are evaluated.

Implementation Plan:

WG3 will address the following tasks in collaboration with WG1:

WG3a. To identify what software qualities (e.g., trust, creativity, automaticity, security, safety, sociability, usability, reliability, evolvability) are prioritized and realized in the process of software development in different sectors/disciplines;

WG3b. To identify which standards address the emerging software qualities such as trust, sociability, and creativity and what their impacts on the real practice are;

WG3c. To understand how iterative design-evaluation-redesign feedback cycles operate for computing systems in different sectors;

For the task WG3a, it is relevant to collect quality models and quality management documents of individual R&D projects. For a project in a particular sector, the D&E methods applied may (not) enable the attainment of the software qualities prioritized. It is relevant to study the relationships between these two aspects. The task WG3b will effectively be dealt with given the strong representation of the Action's partners in the standardization bodies. WG3c is a more challenging task as it is necessary to track the development of the computing system of interest. Alternatively, interviewing the development team concerned may yield some relevant data, albeit the validity of the results may somewhat compromise. Specific attention will be granted to emergent D&E methods under the rubric "reflective design" where qualitative approaches are applied, given its highly fragmented status and broad cross-sectorial relevance.

Expected outcomes:

A generic quality model for computing systems in a specific sector may be derived from the outcomes of the task WG3a. Results of the task WG3b may lead to concrete proposals to the standardization bodies on the refinement of defining and operationalizing certain quality attributes. WG3c will contribute to the ongoing research on downstream utility of D&E methods