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Letter to the Editor: ISOMETRICS

Peter Gorny

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At the end of his article on ISO User Interface standards in SIGCHI Bulletin Volume 29 Number 1, January 1997, Harry Blanchard mentions in a short paragraph one implementation of its part 10: ISOMETRICS. This remark requires an addendum:

Because of the history of this part of the international standard we find many more or less convincing implementations of the ISO-principles in Germany (and also in other European countries). ISO 9241, part 10 (valid since 1995), is an extension of the German standard DIN 66234, part 8 (valid 1989 until 1995, when it became obsolete because of 9241,10) and forms the underlying scientific background for a European Directive for health requirements for work at computer displays (270/90/EEC, published in 1990).

Kindled by research programmes funded by the national governments and by the European Commission, a considerable number of researchers have developed a variety of methods and also software tools for measuring "usability" in the meaning of ISO 9241, part 11 and part 10, thus extending the common American usage of this term to explicitly incorporate the description of the software user and his task and work context.

The earliest and most important results from these endeavors are the evaluation method EVADIS I and II [1, 2] and a number of constructive methods, some of them with software development tools [3] related to them. Reports about these projects can be found, for instance, in the proceedings of the CHI conferences of 1992 [4] and in the Interact '95 proceedings [5] -- besides various other publications in German and French.

One of the largest projects explicitly using the principles of ISO 9241, 10 for formative and quantitative evaluation is the German SANUS [6], which produces a set of methods and tools for the implementation of the European directive. The SANUS questionnaire for the first rough evaluation is completely based on the ISO principles (for a possibly necessary deeper evaluation EVADIS is recommended).

Prof. Dr. Peter Gorny

Informatics Dept. -- C. v. Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Computer Graphics & Human-Computer Interaction Unit, D-26111 Oldenburg, Germany

Telephone: +49-441-798-2901
gorny@Informatik.Uni-Oldenburg.de
http://www-CG-HCI.Informatik.Uni-Oldenburg.de/

References

[1] R. Oppermann, B. Murchner, H. Reiterer, M. Koch: Software-ergonomische Evaluation. EVADIS II. Berlin 1992: Walter de Gruyter Verlag.

[2] H. Reiterer, R. Oppermann: Evaluation of User Interfaces: EVADIS II. A comprehensive evaluation approach. Behaviour & Information Technology 12 (1993), 3, 137 - 148.

[3] CHI '94 Special Interest Group Tools for Working with Guidelines. SIGCHI Bulletin vol. 27 (1995), no.2, 30-51.

[4] Panel "HCI Standards on Trial". In: P. Bauersfeld et al. (eds.), CHI '92 Conference Proceedings. 635-638.

[5] Symposium Tools for Working with Guidelines. In: K. Nordby et al (eds.), Human-Computer Interaction: Interact '95. Proceedings. London etc. 1995: Chapman & Hall. 295-311.

[6] Projekt SANUS. Bildschirmarbeit EU-konform. Das SANUS-Handbuch. Publisher: Arbeit, Technik und Bildung GmbH Chemnitz Germany (Address: Neefestr.76, D-09119 Chemnitz, Germany; Email: atb.chemnitz@t-online.de)

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