Chapter 14: Evaluation Studies: From Controlled to Natural Settings

Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment Comments | Teaching Materials


The main aims of this chapter are to:

  • Explain how to do usability testing.
  • Outline the basics of experimental design.
  • Describe how to do field studies.


Imagine you have designed a new shared web space intended for advertising second-hand goods. How would you find out whether householders would be able to use it to find what they wanted and whether it was a reliable and effective service? What evaluation methods would you employ?

In this chapter we describe evaluation studies that take place in a spectrum of settings, from controlled laboratories to natural settings. Within this spectrum we focus on usability testing which takes place in usability labs; experiments which take place in research labs; and field studies which take place in natural settings such as people’s homes, schools, work, and leisure environments.