Bonnie John, Carnegie Mellon

Bonnie John, Carnegie Mellon

Title: Deploying CogTool: Integrating Quantitative Usability Assessment with Cognitive Modeling into Real-World Software Development


Usability concerns are often difficult to integrate into real-world software development processes. To remedy this situation, IBM research and development, partnering with Carnegie Mellon University, has begun to employ a repeatable and quantifiable usability analysis method, embodied in CogTool, in its development practice. CogTool analyzes tasks demonstrated on a storyboard representing an interactive system and predicts the time a skilled user will take to perform those tasks. We discuss how IBM designers and UX professionals used CogTool in their existing practice for contract compliance, communication within a product team and between a product team and its customer, assigning appropriate personnel to fix customer complaints, and quantitatively assessing design ideas before a line of code is written. We then reflect on the lessons learned by both the development organizations and the researchers attempting this technology transfer from academic research to integration into real-world practice, and we point to future research to even better serve the needs of practice.

Speaker Bio:

Bonnie John is interested in techniques to improve the design and implementation of computer systems with respect to their usefulness and usability. To that end, she has investigated the effectiveness and usability of several HCI techniques (e.g., think-aloud usability studies, Cognitive Walkthrough, GOMS) and produced new techniques for bringing usability concerns to the design process (e.g., CPM-GOMS and software architecture evaluation for usability). Much of her work focuses on cognitive modeling, where she works within a unified theory of cognition to develop models of human performance that produce quantitative predictions of performance with less effort than prototyping and user testing. She also works on bridging the gap between HCI and software engineering, specifically including usability concerns in software architecture design.

Prior to joining IBM Research in December 2010, I was a Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University for two decades. She holds a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union, a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. She was elected to the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2005.

Here's a paper for the students to read: