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An international peer-reviewed journal

Introduction

Bill Albert and Joe Dumas
Journal of Usability Studies - Editors in Chief

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 9, Issue 1, November 2013

We are delighted to publish an editorial by Tharon Howard (and many others) on “The UTEST Community: Celebrating 20 Years of a Safe Place for UX Discussions.” In this editorial the authors provide a fascinating history of the UTEST online community, the secrets to its success, and what the UTEST members think about their community. As part of this editorial the authors describe a model for their success called “RIBS,” which stands for “Remuneration,” “Influence,” “Belonging,” and “Significance.” This model not only provided a foundation for the success of UTEST, but also can be used to establish other online communities.

The first article is by Philip Kortum and Claudia Ziegler Acemyan titled “How Low Can You Go? Is the System Usability Scale Range Restricted?” In this article the authors pose a critical question about the System Usability Scale (SUS): What is the real range of scores, particularly on the low end. In their article they describe a study in which they collected SUS data on 14 different voting interfaces. They found that the range of SUS scores were widely variable, with many scores on the lower end of the scale. This article provides some evidence that the SUS instrument is effective at measuring the usability of both good and bad designs.

The second article is by David Youngblood and Susan Youngblood on “User Experience and Accessibility: An Analysis of County Web Portals.” In this article the authors take an in-depth look at both the usability and accessibility of county portal web pages across the state of Alabama. The authors adopt an innovative perspective by examining the relationship between county demographics and portal adoption, usability, and accessibility. The framework developed by the authors, as well as their results, can be used to evaluate and improve the usability and accessibility across a wide range of governmental websites.