The function of USINACTS is to identify, characterise, document and disseminate examples of successful application of usability principles from ACTS usage trials, and from industry. The objective is to improve the usability of ACTS usage trials, and to further best practice in usability. The application of usability principles by ACTS usage trials will deliver tangible benefits, through promoting services better adapted and configured to the requirements of users.
The project has -
a) produced a number of deliverables,
Inter-dependencies with projects and chains (Del 1)
Currently available HF Guidelines and standards (Del 2)
(These deliverables are available on the USINACTS Web server - http://atwww.hhi.de/usinacts)
b) developed a comprehensive, user friendly web site containing a large data base of current, state of the art usability information, including -
a Usability tutorial
existing standards and guidelines
project information, and links to other ACTS projects
links to other sources of usability information
an Electronic Forum, which has on-line discussion of usability issues with experts
an information section, which lists relevant activities and events
c) organised a distributed, interactive programme - 'The USINACTS Event - Services, Trials and Users', using videoconference links with four sites (Brussels, Madrid, Tampere Finland, and Berlin); this was a participative event, focusing on user participation in the design of trials and services; further information is available on the USINACTS Web Service.
In the next years, USINACTS will -
produce eight more deliverables (see Web site for list)
organise two more interactive events (check web site for up to date details)
improve and market the Usability Web Services (Electronic Forum, data base access, etc.)
establish a USINACTS User Group, to provide a means whereby ACTS projects can obtain first hand experience of user evaluation trials, and provide feedback to USINACTS on the criteria for the type of information they require on Usability, and to act as a trial user group for new USINACTS services
produce of a book relating the experiences of the projects in adopting usability principles in design. The book will include guidelines for future projects within the Framework V programme on how to design future telecommunications systems and services with the user in mind, The opportunity to provide the Book on CD-ROM and/or the web to allow the inclusion of video clips and interactive demos will be examined.
improve the usability of ACTS applications in usage trials,
further best practice in usability.
deliver tangible benefits through application of usability principles in ACTS usage trials, by promoting services better adapted and configured to the requirements of users.
This will be achieved by:
identifying examples of current best practice in designing for usability;
classifying the best examples of applying usability principles in real usage trials, both in ACTS and in industry as a whole, to ensure that the human factors issues in the social, organisational, personal and technological areas are highlighted;
The project will organise three major dissemination events to provide a platform to:
disseminate key results in usability from ACTS projects and from industry;
raise awareness of the achievements of usage trials in successfully applying usability principles;
highlight the need for maintaining a strong focus on usability throughout the service life cycle.
Summary of trial
The work of this project is such that no practical experimentation is foreseen.
There is a critical requirement for accurate and thorough user needs analysis in the ACTS chains since they are concerned with the development of generic information to a wide range of applications and services. USINACTS will help the chains, and through them the projects, meet this requirement.
New services, such as VR, will require new approaches to the application of usability principles, especially user evaluation.
USINACTS, in designing its own services to its user group (the ACTS projects), will adopt usability principles for its trials. The main usage trials developed by USINACTS will be participative, interactive distributed videoconferences, and new web based services.