Welcome to the third issue of volume
of JUS!

Our invited essay by Dr. Deborah Mayhew adds a new and different perspective on the evolution of the usability practice. Deborah has been around for quite some time, and has had an active and influential role in the shaping of the discipline. In her essay, titled: “User experience design: the evolution of a multi-disciplinary approach”, she outlines some of the interesting milestones in the multi-disciplinary nature of the usability practice. The evolution introduced new collaborative and multi-disciplinary challenges, from working with programmers, through graphic designers and information architects, to persuasion specialists. Dr. Mayhew concludes that the constructive future of the usability discipline may depend on effective alliances with various disciplines and specialties along with the concurrent developments in technology and user needs.

Aesthetics has been shown to be related to usability. In their peer-reviewed article titled: “An empirical investigation of color temperature and gender effects on web aesthetics”, Constantinos Coursaris, Sarah Swierenga, and Etan Watrall, report on the impact of color temperature usability perceptions. They found that the cool colors are more associated with favorable impressions of a web site. In addition, this effect is not confounded by gender. It seems that “cool” is more usable.

We tend to think of aspects such as navigation and screen design as typical factors affecting usability. Less often do we consider the physical aspects of the interaction and their impact on usability. Vimala Balakrishnan and Paul Yeow present a “Study of the effect of thumb sizes on mobile phone texting satisfaction” in our second peer-review article. They found that participants’ thumb size was actually associated with texting satisfaction, and suggest that manufacturers consider this factor as influential in the usability of their product.

The third peer-reviewed article in this issue offers a practical and evidence-based review of several methods aimed at capturing web information seeking behaviors. William Gibbs, in his article titled: “Examining users on news provider web sites: A review of methodology” surveys several methods used to map behaviors with news web sites and shows that those methods can un-cover behaviors such as breadth-first search, initial site scanning, and other browsing behaviors.

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