Hix and Hartson: Developing User Interfaces: Chapter 4

by Carson Reynolds

Iterative Evaluation and User-Centered Development are the focus of chapter 4 of Hix and Hartson. The principles of development they advocate are:

– empirical testing
– iterative refinement (w/ cost/benefit analysis)
– verification and control by management

The authors contend that many have not adopted these approaches (at the time of writing).

The waterfall model for development is examined next, along with the spiral model. The authors perfer the spiral model because it is a self-correcting process.

The authors propose a “star-life cycle” which is an iterative model in which “usability evaluation” is a junction that all other stages must be reached through. The rest of the chapter concerns itself with articulating progressively more complex models for interface software development as connected to normal software development.

The outcome looks ridiculously complex (Fig 4.10), with rapid prototyping and formative evaluation tacked on to a large diagram that tries to compartmentalize many aspects of software development. In their defense, the authors are trying to describe a business process that is complex, but their description provides little insight other than that interface requires many interlinked tasks.