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Method and Apparatus of User Manual Testing Disclosure Number: IPCOM000190599D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Dec-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Dec-08
Document File: 8 page(s) / 176K

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The usability of software user manual is vital important to demonstrate the quality of the products and to train customers. A common way to guarantee usability is to do manual checking. However, it is costly and difficult. As a result, we proposed an automated approach to usability testing based on behavior analysis. By relating a manual and user behavior that following it, we find usability problems by automatically analyzing the behaviors according to some predefined patterns. We conduct a case study to evaluate its effectiveness in the end of the paper.

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Method and Apparatus of User Manual Testing

1. Introduction

  For any products, it is necessary to provide user manual. But it will be uncomfortable to the users if a user manual has errors or difficult descriptions. Therefore, the usability of user manual is important to demonstrate the quality of the products, especially for the software development product [] because the customers

will follow the guidance of user manual to develop. However, it

write a usable user manual according to three essential factors.

                                           First, the experts mainly focus on the development of software products that they may not have sufficient experiences and knowledge on making usable manuals. Second, the experts probably have different backgrounds with the customers so that their descriptions may not be understood by the customers. Third, the experts have been familiar with the products, so that they are easy to ignore some descriptions which is important to let the novice know, such as detailed steps, necessary explanations of common exceptions.

A common way to guarantee the usability of user manual is to do manual

checking with testers' help [2][3]. Testers, sometimes being customers,

perform a manual to report their experiences. However, this manual checking approach is not only costly but also difficult. The difficulties include: customers are difficult to contact; they are reluctant to write complex reports; they may not remember all problems or do not think some are necessary to report.

As a result,

try to propose an automated approach to checking the usability problems of user manual. The approach is based on the hypotheses that if manuals are difficult to use, users' actions following the manual will exhibit. Then we can find the problems of manual by analyzing users' actions instead of reporting them by users. By automating the action analysis, the manual checking can be automated. The challenges are how to relate behaviors with manual and how to reveal the usability problems. Generally,

we solve the first challenge be dividing the manual into steps

and number them. Then ask testers to tell the analysis tool which step they are in

when they perform the tasks in the manual.

                              We also use key word monitoring to relate the manual and behaviors for some problems' analysis. We solve the second challenge by using behavior patterns. By observation,

we find some behavior

patterns when manuals have some typical usability problems. By mining and then reporting them to manual authors,

                                      The rest of the paper is organized into four sections. Section 2 elaborates the usability testing approach step by step. Section 3 describes the pattern framework and listed some useful patterns. Section 4 evaluates the approach by a case study. Section 5 concludes the work

we automate the testing.

The contributions of this paper are as follows.

Provides a hybrid m...