Understanding Usability Approaches

Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Stuart A. Selber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Usability is an interdisciplinary domain that is important to the work of technical professionals. Usability involves a set of practices that aim to improve the experiences people have with designed artifacts. Most historians cite World War II as the context within which usability became an organized endeavor. As Sedgwick (1993) explained, “The field has roots in Frederick Winslow Taylor’s time-andmotion studies at the turn of the century, but it first flowered during the Second World War, when the fate of the Allies hinged on soldiers’ ability to work complicated machinery” (p. 99). Since World War II, however, usability has expanded in three ways: Many different types of technical professionals, not just industrial designers and engineers, are now concerned with usability; many different types of artifacts, not just industrial and military machinery, can benefit from an attention to usability; and many different types of perspectives, not just those from scientific management disciplines, can contribute to an understanding of usability. In a very real sense, then, usability has insinuated itself into the mainstream practices of technical professionals, challenging them to be more attentive to the needs and tasks of real users in specific work settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResources in Technical Communication
Subtitle of host publicationOutcomes and Approaches
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781351841993
ISBN (Print)9781315223803
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Usability Approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this