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Kane Bonnette

Usability (2 Points)
You've learned about three usability evaluation techniques in this class: heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, and observing users. Compare and contrast two of these. What are the strengths of each approach? What are the weaknesses? When are they appropriate to use? Why would you choose one over the other?

Heuristic evaluation is using a number of 'heuristics' to objectively describe strengths and weaknesses of an interface. Observing users is a method of watching a new user use an interface, and seeing what they have trouble with and what they are good at. Heuristic Evaluation is good because it's more objective, several people can do it independantly, and it provides a throrough overview of many aspects of an interface. However, Heuristic Evaluations have problems with issues unrelated to a heuristic, and can fall down if the individual portions work well, but the overall package has problems. Observing users provides the best example of what a novice user will really be like, and what features a user appreciates and which ones users don't understand, giving a very real world example. However, this is time-consuming, personnel intensive, and the user may not cover all aspects of the functionality well. Use a Heuristic Evaluation for systems that are well compartmentalized and the users will be fairly competant. Use Observing Users when you don't know your target audience well or when there is little tolerance for difficulty of use. I would choose HE more often since it's more objective and requires less people and time.

Frameworks (2 Points)

1. Why are frameworks useful?

Frameworks are useful because it allows other users to create their own version of software easily and quickly.

2. What is the difference between a framework and a class library?

A framework is a pre-made application with the details stubbed out to be filled in. A library is code that does certain functionality, which must be including in an application the user will create.

3. List two of the Squeak frameworks covered in this class and what they provide.

Two of the Squeak frameworks are Morphic, which provides a graphical front end for a model, and Seaside, which is used for website creation.

4. Explain two of the reasons that a framework is difficult to develop.

A framework is difficult to develop because of the large amount of contingency code that has to be written, and because of the need to make your code as open as possible so other can use it, rather that writing tight code that only depends on itself.

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