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Augmented Reality (AR) Usability Evaluation Framework: The Case of Public Safety Communications Research



Yee-Yin Choong, Kurtis Goad, Kevin C. Mangold


Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device. AR has potential uses in many fields such as education, retail, repair/maintenance, manufacturing, and gaming. Any well-conducted and well-planned product development project should follow an iterative human-centered process. Throughout the development lifecycle, usability evaluations should be conducted to ensure that the product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use. This AR Usability Evaluation Framework provides guidance on planning user-based usability evaluations of AR technology. While this report demonstrates the framework using a firefighting scenario in the public safety domain, the framework is applicable and can be expanded to other domains where users-based AR usability evaluations will be performed. Applying the framework in AR development lifecycles will provide the following benefits: • Creating explicit structures for user-based evaluations • Providing a consistent terminology and an initial set of usability metrics • Facilitating comparability across AR research and development efforts • Facilitating sharing of usability evaluation results • Facilitating establishing human-centered AR design guidelines This report provides a five-component AR Usability Evaluation Framework to facilitate planning usability evaluations systematically to ensure successful evaluations and collecting useful usability data for product improvement. It will help reduce development cost and bring the product faster to market while providing good usability for users that are easy, quick, comfortable, and safe to use with minimal errors.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8422
Report Number


Augmented Reality, Usability, Usability Evaluation, Human-centered design, User needs and requirements, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Public safety communications research.


Choong, Y. , Goad, K. and Mangold, K. (2022), Augmented Reality (AR) Usability Evaluation Framework: The Case of Public Safety Communications Research, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created April 5, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022