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A Comparison of Usage Evaluation and Inspection Methods for Assessing Groupware Usability



S Greenbaum, C Gutwin, Michelle P. Steves


Evaluating groupware usability can be a difficult problem. Many researchers believe that groupware can only be evaluated by studying real collaborators in their real contexts, a process which tends to be expensive and time-consuming. Others believe that it is more practical to evaluate groupware through usability inspection methods. Deciding between these two approaches is difficult, because it is unclear how they compare in a real evaluation situation. To address this problem, we carried out a dual evaluation of a groupware system, with one evaluation applying user-based techniques, and the other using inspection methods. We compared the results from the two evaluations and conclude that although user-based techniques do provide some information that cannot be found through other means, inspection techniques are an inexpensive and effective way of finding usability problems in groupware.
Proceedings Title
ACM'S Group '01
Conference Location


evaluation, groupware usability, inspection evaluation techniques, usage evaluation techniques


Greenbaum, S. , Gutwin, C. and Steves, M. (2001), A Comparison of Usage Evaluation and Inspection Methods for Assessing Groupware Usability, ACM'S Group '01, , USA, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created May 31, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021