Developing and Validating a Methodology for Discount Usability Evaluation of Collaboration Technologies

Usability evaluation of collaboration technologies (CT) needs to address usability specific issues related to human–human interaction between groups of users in addition to those related to human–computer interaction of single user applications. The objective of this study is to develop and validate the collaboration technology usability instrument (CTUI)–a questionnaire-based instrument designed as a discount method for assessing CT usability. The CTUI conceptualises collaboration usability as the fit between the requirements of a collaborative task and the support provided by a collaboration technology in terms of three underlying components of collaboration. The instrument was developed and refined via an online survey and its predictive validity was further assessed via a laboratory experiment that compared the usability of eight different CT used for completing four different collaborative tasks. Results indicate that a higher score on the CTUI was associated with greater usability in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction.