Strategies for improving open source software usability: An exploratory learning framework and a web-based inspection tool

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Abstract

The Open Source Software (OSS) movement has had enormous impact on how software is created and continues to attract interest from researchers, software developers and users. A factor that may be inhibiting OSS from achieving greater success is usability, a fundamental characteristic to user acceptance of software. Motivated by the uniquely user-driven nature of the open source model and the extensive user base that participates in OSS projects, the authors propose an exploratory learning method and an associated web-based inspection environment that enables non-experts to contribute to open source usability inspection. This tool uses patternbased usability guidelines to help identify usability knowledge during inspection. The method emphasizes outlining and exploration features which the authors have formally evaluated and the results of which are described. Data collected from a qualitative study indicates positive impact of the proposed method in helping end-users inspect software and achieve better results in discovering usability problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Open Source Software and Processes
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software

Keywords

  • Exploratory learning
  • Inspection
  • Open source software
  • Pattern
  • Usabilit

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