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Title: Usability inspection for sonification applications
Author: Ibrahim, Ag. Asri Ag.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3585 9147
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2008
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Bonification is the representation of data using mainly non-speech sound for the purpose of communication and interpretation. The process and technique of converting the data into sound is called the sonification technique. One or more techniques might be required by a sonification application. However, sonification techniques are not generally suitable for all kinds of data, and often custom techniques are used - where the design is tailored to the domain and nature of the data as well as the users' required tasks within the application. Therefore, it is important to assure the usability of the technique for the specific domain application being developed. In previously reported research, most designers of sonification applications have needed to develop at least a prototype for user testing. The result are interpreted and analysed to look for potential problems and solutions to improve the design. This dissertation has developed a new systematic usability inspection approach called the Task Interpretation Walkthrough (TIW) for the design of sonification application before they go to the initial development phase. It is hypothesized that designers of sonification applications will be able to detect significantly more important potential usability problems before the implementation phase by analysing the interaction between the user and the application as well as paying attention to the different stages of how the data is transformed into sound. It uses two new models - the Sonification Application (SA) model and the User Interpretation Construction (UIC) model. Four experiments with human subjects were carried out to study the feasibility and effectiveness of Task Interpretation Walkthrough inspection by comparing it against two widely used techniques; Heuristic Evaluation and Cognitive Walkthrough. The sonification designs being inspected were a Mobile Phone Joystick Text-Entry with Sound (Experiments I and II), a Diagnosis Tool for Analysis of The Motion and Usage of a Patient's Arm (Experiment III); and an Audio-Visual Analysis Tool of Cervical Sample Slides (Experiment IV). The participants included sound researchers (Experiment II); and students with a background in music technology and software engineering (Experiments I, III and IV), acting either individually or in 2-person groups. The results have shown that the research hypothesis is supported, where the significantly important usability problems were able to be detected before the implementation phase. From the inspection method comparison study, results showed the Task Interpretation Walkthrough to be more effective than the existing techniques (Heuristic Evaluation and Cognitive Walkthrough).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available