ISO 9241 is a multi-part standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) covering ergonomics of human-computer interaction. It is managed by the ISO Technical Committee 159. It was originally titled Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). From 2006 on, the standards were retitled to the more generic Ergonomics of Human System Interaction.
As part of this change, ISO is renumbering some parts of the standard so that it can cover more topics, e.g. tactile and haptic interaction. For example, two zeros in the number indicate that the document under consideration is a generic or basic standard. Fundamental aspects are regulated in standards ending with one zero. A standard with three digits other than zero in the number regulate specific aspects.
The first part to be renumbered was part 10 (now renumbered to part 110). Part 1 is a general introduction to the rest of the standard. Part 2 addresses task design for working with computer systems. Parts 3–9 deal with physical characteristics of computer equipment. Parts 110 and parts 11–19 deal with usability aspects of software, including Part 110 (a general set of usability heuristics for the design of different types of dialogue) and Part 11 (general guidance on the specification and measurement of usability).
The revised multipart standard is numbered in series as follows:
Within those series, the standard currently includes the following parts:
In 2006, it revised ISO 9241-10:1996, Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 10: Dialogue principles.
This part deals with general ergonomic principles which apply to the design of dialogues between humans and information systems:
With its introduction in 2008, it revised ISO 13407, Human-centred design for interactive systems.
Of particular interest to the lay computer user are the definitions of flat-panel TV and monitor pixel defects provided in the ISO-9241-3xx series of standards (which renders obsolete ISO 13406-2). These identify three classes for measuring pixel defects in flat panel monitors:
(allowed pixed defects per 1 (one) million pixels in the TFT/LCD matrix)
As of 2010, most premium branded panel manufacturers specify their products as Class 0, expecting a small number of returns due to early failure where a particular item fails to meet Class 0 but would meet Class 1. Budget panel manufacturers tend to specify their products as Class 1. Most premium branded finished product manufacturers (retail TVs, monitors, Laptops, etc.) tend to specify their products as meeting Class 1 even when they have a Class 0 specified panel inside. Some premium branded finished product manufacturers have started to specify their products as Class 0 or offer a Class 0 guarantee for an additional premium.
ISO 9241 was originally titled Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) and consisted of the following parts:
Part 1: (1997) Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) - General Introduction This part introduces the multi-part standard ISO 9241 for the ergonomic requirements for the use of visual display terminals for office tasks and explains some of the basic underlying principles. It provides some guidance on how to use the standard and describes how conformance to parts of ISO 9241 should be reported.
Part 2: (1993) Guidance on task requirements This part deals with the design of tasks and jobs involving work with visual display terminals. It provides guidance on how task requirements may be identified and specified within individual organisations and how task requirements can be incorporated into the system design and implementation process.
Part 3: (1993, deprecated) Visual display requirements This part specifies the ergonomics requirements for display screens which ensure that they can be read comfortably, safely and efficiently to perform office tasks. Although it deals specifically with displays used in offices, it is appropriate to specify it for most applications that require general purpose displays to be used in an office-like environment.
Part 4: (1998) Keyboard requirements This part specifies the ergonomics design characteristics of an alphanumeric keyboard which may be used comfortably, safely and efficiently to perform office tasks. Keyboard layouts are dealt with separately in various parts of ISO/IEC 9995: 1994 Information Processing - Keyboard Layouts for Text and Office Systems
Part 5: (1998) Workstation layout and postural requirements This part specifies the ergonomics requirement for a Visual Display Terminal workplace which will allow the user to adopt a comfortable and efficient posture.
Part 6: (1999) Environmental requirements This part specifies the ergonomics requirements for the Visual Display Terminal working environment which will provide the user with comfortable, safe and productive working conditions.
Part 7: (1998, deprecated) Display requirements with reflections This part specifies methods of measurement of glare and reflections from the surface of display screens, including those with surface treatments.
Part 8: (1997, deprecated) Requirements for displayed colors This part specifies the requirements for multicolour displays which are largely in addition to the monochrome requirements in Part 3.
Part 9: (2000) Requirements for non-keyboard input devices This part specifies the ergonomics requirements for non-keyboard input devices which may be used in conjunction with a visual display terminal. It also includes a suggestion for a user-based performance test as an alternative way of showing conformance. The standard covers such devices as the mouse, trackball and other pointing devices, but it does not address voice input.
Part 10 (1996, withdrawn) "Dialogue principles": Gives ergonomic principles formulated in general terms; they are presented without reference to situations of use, application, environment or technology. These principles are intended to be used in specifications, design and evaluation of dialogues for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs).
Part 11: (1998) This part deals with the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness (Task completion by users), efficiency (Task in time) and satisfaction (responded by user in term of experience) in a specified context of use (users, tasks, equipments & environments).
Part 12: (1998) Presentation of information This part contains specific recommendations for presenting and representing information on visual displays. It includes guidance on ways of representing complex information using alphanumeric and graphical/symbolic codes, screen layout, and design as well as the use of windows.
Part 13: (1998) User guidance This part provides recommendations for the design and evaluation of user guidance attributes of software user interfaces including Prompts, Feedback, Status, On-line Help and Error Management.
Part 14: (1997) Menu dialogues This part provides recommendations for the ergonomic design of menus used in user-computer dialogues. The recommendations cover menu structure, navigation, option selection and execution, and menu presentation (by various techniques including windowing, panels, buttons, fields, etc.).
Part 15: (1998) Command language dialogues This part provides recommendations for the ergonomic design of command languages used in user-computer dialogues. The recommendations cover command language structure and syntax, command representations, input and output considerations, and feedback and help.
Part 16: (1999) Direct manipulation dialogues This part provides recommendations for the ergonomic design of direct manipulation dialogues, and includes the manipulation of objects, and the design of metaphors, objects and attributes. It covers those aspects of Graphical User Interfaces that are directly manipulated, and not covered by other parts of ISO 9241.
Part 17: (1998) Form-filling dialogues This part provides recommendations for the ergonomic design of form filling dialogues. The recommendations cover form structure and output considerations, input considerations, and form navigation.
The Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (referred to as Common Criteria or CC) is an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for computer security certification. It is currently in version 3.1 revision 5.Common Criteria is a framework in which computer system users can specify their security functional and assurance requirements (SFRs and SARs respectively) in a Security Target (ST), and may be taken from Protection Profiles (PPs). Vendors can then implement or make claims about the security attributes of their products, and testing laboratories can evaluate the products to determine if they actually meet the claims. In other words, Common Criteria provides assurance that the process of specification, implementation and evaluation of a computer security product has been conducted in a rigorous and standard and repeatable manner at a level that is commensurate with the target environment for use.Component-based usability testing
Component-based usability testing (CBUT) is a testing approach which aims at empirically testing the usability of an interaction component. The latter is defined as an elementary unit of an interactive system, on which behaviour-based evaluation is possible. For this, a component needs to have an independent, and by the user perceivable and controllable state, such as a radio button, a slider or a whole word processor application. The CBUT approach can be regarded as part of component-based software engineering branch of software engineering.Computer accessibility
In human–computer interaction, computer accessibility (also known as accessible computing) refers to the accessibility of a computer system to all people, regardless of disability type or severity of impairment. The term accessibility is most often used in reference to specialized hardware or software, or a combination of both, designed to enable use of a computer by a person with a disability or impairment. Specific technologies may be referred to as assistive technology.
There are many disabilities or impairments that can be a barrier to effective computer use. These impairments, which can be acquired from disease, trauma, or may be congenital, include but are not limited to:
Cognitive impairments (head injury, autism, developmental disabilities) and learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or ADHD).
Visual impairment such as low-vision, complete or partial blindness, and color blindness.
Hearing-related disabilities (deafness)including deafness, being hard of hearing, or hyperacusis.
Motor or dexterity impairment such as paralysis, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury.Accessibility is often abbreviated as the numeronym a11y, where the number 11 refers to the number of letters omitted. This parallels the abbreviations of internationalization and localization as i18n and l10n respectively.Cyber-Duck
Cyber-Duck is a full service digital agency founded in 2005 and based in Elstree, United Kingdom. The company specialises in user experience (UX) design, marketing strategies, web and app productions, and software as a service (SaaS).
In 2015, Cyber-Duck acquired additional offices in Farringdon, London. It now employs over 40 staff. It works with clients from the financial, pharmaceutical, motoring and security sectors, among others. These include the Bank of England, Cancer Research UK, and GOV.UK Verify partner CitizenSafe.Distinguishable interfaces
Distinguishable interfaces use computer graphic principles to automatically
generate easily distinguishable appearance for computer data.
Although the desktop metaphor revolutionized user interfaces, there is evidence
that a spatial layout alone does little to help in locating files and other data;
distinguishable appearance is also required.
Studies have shown that average users have considerable difficulty finding files
on their personal computers, even ones that they created the same day.
Search engines do not always help, since it has been found that users
often know of the existence of a file without being able to specify relevant search terms.
On the contrary, people appear to incrementally search for files using some form of context.Recently researchers and web developers have argued that the problem is the
lack of distinguishable appearance: in the traditional computer interface most objects
and locations appear identical. This problem rarely occurs in the real world, where
both objects and locations generally have easily distinguishable appearance.
Discriminability was one of the recommendations in the
ISO 9241-12 recommendation on presentation of information on visual displays
(part of the overall report on Ergonomics of Human System Interaction),
however it was assumed in that report that this would be achieved by manual
design of graphical symbols.Effectiveness
Effectiveness is the capability of producing a desired result or the ability to produce desired output. When something is deemed effective, it means it has an intended or expected outcome, or produces a deep, vivid impression.Fitts's law
Fitts's law (often cited as Fitts' law) is a predictive model of human movement primarily used in human–computer interaction and ergonomics. This scientific law predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target. Fitts's law is used to model the act of pointing, either by physically touching an object with a hand or finger, or virtually, by pointing to an object on a computer monitor using a pointing device.
Fitts's law has been shown to apply under a variety of conditions; with many different limbs (hands, feet, the lower lip, head-mounted sights, eye gaze), manipulanda (input devices), physical environments (including underwater), and user populations (young, old, special educational needs, and drugged participants).Human-centered design
Human-centered design (HCD) [also Human-centred design, as used in ISO standards] is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. Human involvement typically takes place in observing the problem within context, brainstorming, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the solution.
Human-centred design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance. ISO 9241-210:2010(E)
Human-centered design builds upon participatory action research by moving beyond participants' involvement and producing solutions to problems rather than solely documenting them. Initial stages usually revolve around immersion, observing, and contextual framing in which innovators immerse themselves with the problem and community. Consequent stages may then focus on community brainstorming, modeling and prototyping, and implementation in community spaces. Further, human-centered design typically focuses on integrating technology or other useful tools in order to alleviate problems, especially around issues of health. Once the solution is integrated, human-centered design usually employ system usability scales and community feedback in order to determine the success of the solution.Human factors integration
Human Factors Integration (HFI) is the process adopted by a number of key industries (notably defence and hazardous industries like oil & gas) in Europe to integrate human factors and ergonomics into the systems engineering process. Although each industry has a slightly different domain the underlying approach is the same.ISO 13406-2
ISO 13406-2 is an ISO standard, with the full title "Ergonomic requirements for work with visual displays based on flat panels -- Part 2: Ergonomic requirements for flat panel displays". It is best known to end consumers for defining a series of flat-panel display "classes" with different numbers of permitted defects (or "dead pixels"). ISO 13406-2 also provides a classification of Viewing Direction Range Classes and Reflection Classes.
As part of an ISO standard, the classes are guidelines, and not mandatory. Where implemented, the interpretation of the standard by the panel or end product manufacturer and effects in terms of labeling of products, what class of panel is used, etc., can vary. Most flat-panel makers use this standard as the excuse for not accepting returns of defective flat-panels. Many customers argue that it's not honest in the makers' part to sell a product that most people wouldn't accept if they knew it had these defects. Also, there is little offer of Class I panels, that added to the fact that the price of these models is usually very high, make it difficult to buy a totally guaranteed product. One solution to this problem would be to sell these defected panels at a lower price than normal ones, clearly indicating the presence of such defects.
The ISO 13406-2:2001 standard has been withdrawn and revised by the ISO 9241-302, 303, 305 and 307:2008 standards.LiMux
LiMux was a project by the city of Munich in Germany to migrate local government software systems from closed-source, proprietary Microsoft products to free and open-source software. The project ran from 2005 to 2013, migrating over 18,000 personal computers and laptops of public employees to a Linux-based software solution. LiMux is also the name of the Linux distribution (an Ubuntu derivative) used for the project as the operating system including LibreOffice and WollMux as the primary productivity software. The project initially had used OpenOffice, but switched to LibreOffice. The city reported that it gained freedom in software decisions and increased security and saved €11.7 million (US$16 million). In November 2017 Munich City Council (Stadtrat) resolved to reverse the migration and return to Microsoft Windows-based software by 2020.LiMux is the first Linux desktop distribution certified for industry use (ISO 9241) by the Technical Inspection Association (German: Technischer Überwachungsverein). It was first based on Debian, and later changed to Ubuntu, the most popular Debian derivative. Version 3 available from December 2010 is based on Ubuntu 8.10, version 4 available from August 2011 is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, although using KDE Desktop 3.5 and version 4.1 available from August 2012 is also based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.
Similar projects were started with varying success by parts of the Chinese government (Kylin), the Gendarmerie (GendBuntu), Amsterdam (Open.Amsterdam),, Zaragosa, Spain (AZLinux), Vienna (abandoned Wienux), and Solothurn, Switzerland (abandoned).Semantic service-oriented architecture
A Semantic Service Oriented Architecture (SSOA) is an architecture that allows for scalable and controlled Enterprise Application Integration solutions. SSOA describes a sophisticated approach to enterprise-scale IT infrastructure. It leverages rich, machine-interpretable descriptions of data, services, and processes to enable software agents to autonomously interact to perform critical mission functions. SSOA is technically founded on three notions:
The principles of Service-oriented architecture (SOA);
Standards Based Design (SBD); and
Semantics-based computing.SSOA combines and implements these computer science concepts into a robust, extensible architecture capable of enabling complex, powerful functions.System usability scale
In systems engineering, the system usability scale (SUS) is a simple, ten-item attitude Likert scale giving a global view of subjective assessments of usability. It was developed by John Brooke at Digital Equipment Corporation in the UK in 1986 as a tool to be used in usability engineering of electronic office systems.
The usability of a system, as defined by the ISO standard ISO 9241 Part 11, can be measured only by taking into account the context of use of the system—i.e., who is using the system, what they are using it for, and the environment in which they are using it. Furthermore, measurements of usability have several different aspects:
effectiveness (can users successfully achieve their objectives)
efficiency (how much effort and resource is expended in achieving those objectives)
satisfaction (was the experience satisfactory)Measures of effectiveness and efficiency are also context specific. Effectiveness in using a system for controlling a continuous industrial process would generally be measured in very different terms to, say, effectiveness in using a text editor. Thus, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to answer the question "is system A more usable than system B", because the measures of effectiveness and efficiency may be very different. However, it can be argued that given a sufficiently high-level definition of subjective assessments of usability, comparisons can be made between systems.
SUS has generally been seen as providing this type of high-level subjective view of usability and is thus often used in carrying out comparisons of usability between systems. Because it yields a single score on a scale of 0–100, it can be used to compare even systems that are outwardly dissimilar. This one-dimensional aspect of the SUS is both a benefit and a drawback, because the questionnaire is necessarily quite general.
Recently, Lewis and Sauro suggested a two-factor orthogonal structure, which practitioners may use to score the SUS on independent Usability and Learnability dimensions. At the same time, Borsci, Federici and Lauriola by an independent analysis confirm the two factors structure of SUS, also showing that those factors (Usability and Learnability) are correlated.
The SUS has been widely used in the evaluation of a range of systems. Bangor, Kortum and Miller have used the scale extensively over a ten-year period and have produced normative data that allow SUS ratings to be positioned relative to other systems. They propose an extension to SUS to provide an adjective rating that correlates with a given score. Based on a review of hundreds of usability studies, Sauro and Lewis proposed a curved grading scale for mean SUS scores.Usability
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object such as a tool or device. In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use.The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, vehicle, or anything a human interacts with. A usability study may be conducted as a primary job function by a usability analyst or as a secondary job function by designers, technical writers, marketing personnel, and others. It is widely used in consumer electronics, communication, and knowledge transfer objects (such as a cookbook, a document or online help) and mechanical objects such as a door handle or a hammer.
Usability includes methods of measuring usability, such as needs analysis and the study of the principles behind an object's perceived efficiency or elegance. In human-computer interaction and computer science, usability studies the elegance and clarity with which the interaction with a computer program or a web site (web usability) is designed. Usability considers user satisfaction and utility as quality components, and aims to improve user experience through iterative design.Usability testing
Usability testing is a technique used in user-centered interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on users. This can be seen as an irreplaceable usability practice, since it gives direct input on how real users use the system. This is in contrast with usability inspection methods where experts use different methods to evaluate a user interface without involving users.
Usability testing focuses on measuring a human-made product's capacity to meet its intended purpose. Examples of products that commonly benefit from usability testing are food, consumer products, web sites or web applications, computer interfaces, documents, and devices. Usability testing measures the usability, or ease of use, of a specific object or set of objects, whereas general human–computer interaction studies attempt to formulate universal principles.User experience
User experience (UX) refers to a person's emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. User experience may be considered subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to the system. User experience is dynamic as it is constantly modified over time due to changing usage circumstances and changes to individual systems as well as the wider usage context in which they can be found. In the end, user experience is about how the user interacts with and experiences the product.User interface design
User interface design (UI) or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices, and other electronic devices, with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience. The goal of user interface design is to make the user's interaction as simple and efficient as possible, in terms of accomplishing user goals (user-centered design).
Good user interface design facilitates finishing the task at hand without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. Graphic design and typography are utilized to support its usability, influencing how the user performs certain interactions and improving the aesthetic appeal of the design; design aesthetics may enhance or detract from the ability of users to use the functions of the interface. The design process must balance technical functionality and visual elements (e.g., mental model) to create a system that is not only operational but also usable and adaptable to changing user needs.
Interface design is involved in a wide range of projects from computer systems, to cars, to commercial planes; all of these projects involve much of the same basic human interactions yet also require some unique skills and knowledge. As a result, designers tend to specialize in certain types of projects and have skills centered on their expertise, whether that be software design, user research, web design, or industrial design.Web usability
Web usability website. Some broad goals of usability are the presentation of information and choices in a clear and concise way, a lack of ambiguity and the placement of important items in appropriate areas. Another important element of web usability is ensuring that the content works on various devices and browsers.
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