Leveraging Microsoft's mobile usability guidelines: Conceptualizing and developing scales for mobile application usability

Int. J. Hum.-Comput. Stud., Volume 89, 2016, Pages 35-53.

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factor analysisconfirmatory factor analysismobile usability guidelineExploratory factor analysismobilityMore(13+)
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We argue that it is important to think from the ground up about mobile application usability and develop and validate a survey instrument for assessing the usability of mobile applications

Abstract:

This research conceptualizes mobile application usability and develops and validates an instrument to measure the same. Mobile application usability has attracted widespread attention in the field of human-computer interaction because well-designed applications can enhance user experiences. To conceptualize mobile application usability, w...More

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Introduction
  • The use of mobile devices has grown exponentially, with worldwide sales of more than 1.9 billion units in 2014 alone (Gartner Research, 2015).
  • One of Microsoft’s application development guidelines suggests that it is: “important to take full advantage of design principles to ensure that your application’s functionality is quickly and clearly conveyed at every step of the user interaction” (Microsoft, 2014)1
  • This suggests that design principles are an important aspect for the usability of mobile applications, it does not provide information on how important design principles are and whether a given application incorporates design principles effectively.
  • The authors expect the work will help practitioners in achieving better mobile application design that helps individuals to more effectively interact with the application
Highlights
  • Over the last decade, the use of mobile devices has grown exponentially, with worldwide sales of more than 1.9 billion units in 2014 alone (Gartner Research, 2015)
  • We argue that it is important to think from the ground up about mobile application usability and develop and validate a survey instrument for assessing the usability of mobile applications
  • Rosemann and Vessey (2008) suggest that developing relevant research is “not necessarily based in theory, [but] involves examining a practical intervention using a well-established, rigorous research approach” (p. 7). Our study followed this recommendation and employed Microsoft’s user experiences guidelines. These guidelines were developed by practitioners, and we rigorously developed the constructs and an associated survey instrument to represent mobile application usability
  • Internet-enabled smartphones have become increasingly accepted in recent years
  • Little systematic guidance is available that supports mobile application designers in capturing consumers beliefs regarding the usability of mobile applications in the field
  • We found strong support for the psychometric properties for our scales
Methods
  • Mobile Usability Conceptualization Study

    Expert evaluation Longitudinal field Aesthetics and readability

    Sonderegger et al.

    experiment (2012)

    Cross-sectional Cognition support (predictability, Ji et al (2006)

    usability expert learnability, structure principle, survey consistency, memorability, familiarity), information support

    Cross-sectional usability expert survey

    Laboratory experiment

    Single-user testing

    Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment.
  • Expert evaluation Longitudinal field Aesthetics and readability.
  • Cross-sectional Cognition support (predictability, Ji et al (2006).
  • Usability expert learnability, structure principle, survey consistency, memorability, familiarity), information support.
  • Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment
Results
  • Evaluation of measurement properties

    The third stage of the instrument development process focuses on evaluating the measurement properties of the new scales. Lewis et al (2005) recommended using two independent samples that are relevant to the population of interest.
  • Lewis et al (2005) recommended using two independent samples that are relevant to the population of interest.
  • Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) should be used to discover the factor structure in the first sample.
  • Using the second sample, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) should be used to validate the scale properties (Lewis et al, 2005).
  • Researchers should assess the nomological network of the scales by testing if the constructs of interest predict theoretically relevant dependent variables.
Conclusion
  • Due to the widespread diffusion of mobile technologies, more and more organizations are seeking to incorporate mobile presences into their existing channel strategies
  • Mobile vendors, such as Microsoft, Apple and Google, provide general guidance for developing mobile applications, the authors could not identify any scientific instruments that help practitioners to accurately measure the overall usability of mobile applications.
  • Researchers can leverage the conceptualization and scales to study mobile usability and practitioners can use them to evaluate existing and to-be developed mobile applications
Summary
  • Introduction:

    The use of mobile devices has grown exponentially, with worldwide sales of more than 1.9 billion units in 2014 alone (Gartner Research, 2015).
  • One of Microsoft’s application development guidelines suggests that it is: “important to take full advantage of design principles to ensure that your application’s functionality is quickly and clearly conveyed at every step of the user interaction” (Microsoft, 2014)1
  • This suggests that design principles are an important aspect for the usability of mobile applications, it does not provide information on how important design principles are and whether a given application incorporates design principles effectively.
  • The authors expect the work will help practitioners in achieving better mobile application design that helps individuals to more effectively interact with the application
  • Methods:

    Mobile Usability Conceptualization Study

    Expert evaluation Longitudinal field Aesthetics and readability

    Sonderegger et al.

    experiment (2012)

    Cross-sectional Cognition support (predictability, Ji et al (2006)

    usability expert learnability, structure principle, survey consistency, memorability, familiarity), information support

    Cross-sectional usability expert survey

    Laboratory experiment

    Single-user testing

    Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment.
  • Expert evaluation Longitudinal field Aesthetics and readability.
  • Cross-sectional Cognition support (predictability, Ji et al (2006).
  • Usability expert learnability, structure principle, survey consistency, memorability, familiarity), information support.
  • Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment Laboratory experiment
  • Results:

    Evaluation of measurement properties

    The third stage of the instrument development process focuses on evaluating the measurement properties of the new scales. Lewis et al (2005) recommended using two independent samples that are relevant to the population of interest.
  • Lewis et al (2005) recommended using two independent samples that are relevant to the population of interest.
  • Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) should be used to discover the factor structure in the first sample.
  • Using the second sample, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) should be used to validate the scale properties (Lewis et al, 2005).
  • Researchers should assess the nomological network of the scales by testing if the constructs of interest predict theoretically relevant dependent variables.
  • Conclusion:

    Due to the widespread diffusion of mobile technologies, more and more organizations are seeking to incorporate mobile presences into their existing channel strategies
  • Mobile vendors, such as Microsoft, Apple and Google, provide general guidance for developing mobile applications, the authors could not identify any scientific instruments that help practitioners to accurately measure the overall usability of mobile applications.
  • Researchers can leverage the conceptualization and scales to study mobile usability and practitioners can use them to evaluate existing and to-be developed mobile applications
Tables
  • Table1: Prior evaluation methods, research methodologies and conceptualizations used to study mobile application usability
  • Table2: Coding matrix adapted from Miles and Huberman (1999)
  • Table3: Construct definitions based on the content analysis and literature review
  • Table4: Item pool, proportion of substantive agreement and substantive validity coefficients based on the content validity survey
  • Table5: Exploratory study — covariance explained by each factor, item loadings and Cronbach’s alpha reliability
  • Table6: Confirmatory study—measurement properties of the usability model from the confirmatory factor analysis
  • Table7: Confirmatory study — discriminant validity tests for the usability factor
  • Table8: Confirmatory study — measures of model fit – factor-centric
  • Table9: Confirmatory study — model fit
  • Table10: Confirmatory study — reliabilities, AVEs and correlations
  • Table11: Confirmatory study — structural model results
Download tables as Excel
Funding
  • This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication
  • Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain
  • Conducted a pilot study followed by a quantitative assessment of the content validity of the scales
  • Examined the impact of mobile application usability on two outcomes: continued intention to use and brand loyalty
  • Confirmed that mobile application usability was a good predictor of both outcomes
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