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Glossary » automatic evaluation

automatic evaluation

a method of measuring the usability of a system automatically; that is, the usability is tested by a software application rather than manually, by a person.

Some types of automatic evaluation do not involve users at all. For instance, some types of standards inspections can be performed automatically, as in an HTML-checking tool that tests for cross-platform compatibility or a dialog-layout tool that verifies spacing and alignment properties. A computer can also simulate human interaction sequences (mouse clicks, text entry) to test a product’s robustness. By supplying the computer with a user model, such as a set of goals, tasks, and ways to perform those tasks, a system can be profiled for completeness and to detect likely sources of user confusion.

Other forms of automatic evaluation include using logging tools to capture user interaction data and using online feedback forms to capture user impressions and automatically provide summaries of those responses.