Special Issue Papers Sought on the Science Behind Usability and User Experience


Guest Editors Phil Kortum (Rice University) and Barbara Chaparro (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) welcome submissions to a Human Factors special issue titled “The Science Behind Usability and User Experience”


The field of usability helps us understand if people will be able to successfully complete a task without error, in a reasonable amount of time, and to their satisfaction. In simple everyday tasks, failures in usability can seem more like minor inconveniences, unworthy of serious scientific study. However, in today’s increasingly complicated and interconnected technologically driven world, usability failures can have real and serious consequences. Recall the butterfly ballot in Florida in the 2000 presidential race, where voters were unable to use the punch card voting system correctly, likely changing the outcome of the presidential election. In the most significant cases, lives are at stake, as evidenced by the 260 patients at Cedars-Sinai hospital who were exposed to 10 times the safe level of radiation during routine brain scans because of the complexity of the device and its operation.

Understanding how system design impacts usability and user experience is key to helping avoid these kinds of tragic consequences, and a special issue addressing some of the most pressing usability issues of our time helps Human Factors take a more prominent role in this growing area of research.

Scope of Topic

In the proposed special issue we will focus on the science behind the assessment of usability, and how that science applies to the practical measurement of usability in the field. Topics of interest may include the influence of usability in one or more of the following areas:

  • Medical device and/or environments
  • Visual displays
  • Security
  • Mobile devices and applications
  • Special populations (i.e., aging)
  • Transportation
  • Psychometrics/Measurement
  • Consumer products or applications

We encourage all submissions to include practical examples in their articles, but case studies of simple usability measurement will not be sought. Contributions to this special issue will contribute to the understanding of the science behind usability and user experience. Insights from contributors will help demonstrate the rigor involved in establishing best practices in interaction design systems.

Online submissions are requested by May 3, 2019. Please review the author instructions before submitting your work.