Usability evaluation of software tools for engineering design

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Hashemi Farzaneh, Helena; Neuner, Lorenz
Series: ICED
Institution: Technical University of Munich
Section: Design management
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Much of the work in design research focusses on the development of methods and tools to support engineering designers. Many of these tools are nowadays implemented in software. Due to the strongly growing use of computers and smart devices in the last two decades, the expectations of users increased dramatically. In particular users expect good usability, for example little effort for learning to apply the software. Therefore, the usability evaluation of design software tools is crucial. A software tool with bad usability will not be used in industrial practice. Recommendations for usability evaluation of software often stem from the field of Human Computer Interaction. The aim of this paper is to tailor these general approaches to the specific needs of engineering design. In addition, we propose a method to analyse the results of the evaluation and to derive suggestions for improving the design software tool. We apply the usability evaluation method on a use case - the KoMBi software tool for bio-inspired design. The case study provides additional insights with regards to problem, causes and improvement categories.

Keywords: User centred design, Computational design methods, Evaluation, Bio-inspired design / biomimetics


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