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Carnegie Mellon Students Examine Usability Aspects of OutSystems Agile Platform

Carnegie Mellon University has partnered with OutSystems in a project to study the usability of the vendor's agile development platform. Over an eight-month period, five graduate students in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute's Masters program studied the Agile Platform to understand how it is being used by people with varying levels of technical expertise, including developers and project managers.

"The Human-Computer Interaction Masters program ... prepares students to participate in the design and implementation of software systems that are usable, are effective, and contribute to an overall brand experience," said Anind Dey, assistant professor in the School of Computer Science. "Collaborating with OutSystems was a terrific opportunity for our students to really apply their skills to a real-world application. We are thrilled with the outcome and the fact that the industry will benefit from this combined work and innovation with OutSystems."

Following the university's own methodology on experience-driven user design, the students studied the daily activities of Agile Platform users. This style of study allowed the students to elicit user needs, motivations, and overall reaction to the development tools. With ergonomics, aesthetics, and comfort in mind, the team then prototyped and tested solutions to overcome the challenges experienced by users.

In particular, the team focused on improving the user interaction, making information in the Agile Platform more readily available to developers, improving support for commenting and revisiting past work, and supporting collaboration among developers working on the same project.

OutSystems will now continue the research internally. The company's Agile Platform is a set of tools for creating Web business applications based on the Agile development methodology.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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