STTR Phase I: Integrating scenario-based usability engineering and agile software development practices

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008

$150K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Meridium Inc.
10 South Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I will integrate scenario-based usability design practices into existing agile development processes and tools to enable the efficient development of usable software systems. This effort will integrate scenario-based design methods with agile methods employed for industrial desktop and mobile application development. Agile development methodologies have emerged as one way to mitigate the many risks of software development. However, these methods and tools focus heavily on implementation at the expense of usability - resulting in systems which meet functional requirements, but which can be difficult or frustrating for end users. This research will identify key interactions, communication mechanisms, and design representations to enable successful integration of usability into agile processes. This work will be validated through a combination of small-scale development projects using the combined approach and early-stage tools as well as interviews and questionnaires with users in all areas of application development, including software engineers, managers and business analysts. The proposed efforts, motivated by a clear line of background and related work, will address the theory-practice gap between academia and industry by bringing classic and recent innovations in human-computer interaction and usability research into the agile software development arena. The efforts will enhance understanding in scientific and engineering communities by providing important feedback and results to validate and motivate further HCI research in