Goal: To develop a family of standards for usability testing formats and the user-centered design process. These standards are being implemented by industry to improve their products through more uniform and improved usability testing and evaluation.
NIST participates on the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 7 and ISO/TC 159/SC 4 as the WG28 Joint Working Group, US delegation co-convener, to develop standards for usability documentation. This family of documents provide a definition of the type and scope of formats and the high level structure to be used for documenting required usability information and the results of usability evaluation. These standards define the content of the context of use, user needs, user requirements, user interaction specification, user interface specification, user report format, and field data report.
The current released ISO standards are:
Our current ISO activities include ISO/IEC 255066: Systems and software engineering -- Software product Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE) – Common Industry Formats (CIF) for other usability test methods. These include methods such as inspection, surveys, formative testing, etc.
The CIF for summative usability test reports (ISO/IEC 25062:2006) is now in use across industry and, specifically, for safety-related usability certification of electronic health record systems by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator , for usability and accessibility testing and certification of voting systems by the Election Assistance Commission and for usability testing of biometric systems.
Are you using these standards? Let us know!
Project contact: Brian Stanton
History of the first CIF standard:
In October of 1997, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) initiated an effort to increase the visibility of software usability, the Industry USability Reporting (IUSR) Project. Cooperating in the IUSR project are prominent suppliers of software and representatives from large consumer organizations. The IUSR project is a product of the Visualization and Usability Group, Information Access Division, of the Information Technology Laboratory.
The Common Industry Format (CIF): The original CIF ( ISO/IEC 25062:2006) was developed as a standard best practice for summative usability testing raises the overall expertise of usability professionals. Many usability professionals are using the CIF as part of formative testing reporting, but it was not designed for this. A series of workshops, aimed at more than just raising the visibility of product usability, but also creating additional standard best practices for usability professionals occurred over a couple of years. Coming out of these workshops was a set of common formative test report elements. . The format test report work has been transferred to the ISO working group and will be included in ISO/IEC 255066: Systems and software engineering -- Software product Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE) – Common Industry Formats (CIF) for other usability test methods upon completion.