I created surveys to assess the strategies people use to predict usability.  Surveys were created using Qualtrics and recruited over 500 participants through  Mechanical Turk.

Participants rated the predicted usability of products and reported the strategies they thought they used to make their predictions.


Multidimensional scaling methods and attribute ratings informed the interpretation of the underlying strategies that people use to make predictions about usability.

Results of this study reveal that the type design class participants evaluated had a significant effect on the type of strategy participants used to make their a priori usability assessments (UAs).  Participants reported using “complexity” or “organization” most often to predict the usability of cookbooks.  Participants reported using “mental simulation” or “typicality/familiarity” most often for predicting the usability of drinking glasses.  Participants reported using “complexity,” “organization,” and to a lesser extent “typicality/familiarity,” and “mental simulation” as strategies for predicting the usability of cooktops.  MDS methods were used to uncover the underlying dimension of the UA space.  For drinking glasses, the “fanciness” and “holdability” were associated with UAs.  For cooktops, “the number of controls” and whether participants believed “it was easy to understand how each burner was controlled” were associated with making UAs.  And for cookbooks, “the length of the instructions” and “poor contrast of the text with the background” were associated with UAs.  Overall, there is evidence that at least some participants in Phase 2 used terminology that was consistent with the terminology people used to describe the designs during Phase 1 and that these were congruent with the uncovered strategies.