Heuristics for broader assessment of effectiveness and usability in technology- mediated technical communication

Roger A. Grice, Audrey G. Bennett, Janice W. Fernheimer, Cheryl Geisler, Robert Krull, Raymond A. Lutzky, Matthew G.J. Rolph, Patricia Search, James P. Zappen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To offer additional tools for the assessment of effectiveness and usability in technology-mediated communication based in established heuristics. Method: An interdisciplinary group of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute selected five disparate examples of technology-mediated communication, formally evaluated each using contemporary heuristics, and then engaged in an iterative design process to arrive at an expanded toolkit for in depth analyses. Results: A set of heuristics and operationalized metrics for the deeper analysis of a broader scope of contemporary technology-mediated communication. Conclusions: The continual evolution of communication, including the emergence of new, interactive media, provides a challenging opportunity to identify effective approaches and techniques. There are benefits to a renewed focus on relationships between people and between people and information, and we offer additional criteria and metrics to supplement established means of heuristic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-27
Number of pages25
JournalTechnical Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Assessing usability
  • Design heuristics
  • Technology-mediated communication
  • Usability metrics
  • Usability toolkit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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