Articles published and to be published soon:
Abstract: This study examines a document produced by the United States Department of Homeland Security handed out to immigrant parents during the “Family Separation Policy” crisis of 2018. The article examines whether such a document could be ethically tested for usability. Ultimately, the text argues that by the standards of the Belmont Report and the best practices in usability research, such a document would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to test ethically. It argues that, while usability testing is an excellent tool for exploring how users interact with texts that can have life-changing consequences, it may also be used as a tool to perpetuate injustice and marginalize potential users.
Bartolotta, J., Bourelle, T., & Newmark, J. (2017). Revising the online classroom: Usability testing for training online technical communication instructors. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26 (3), 287-299.
Abstract: This article reports on an effort by the authors to use usability testing as acomponent of online teacher training for their multimajor technical communicationcourse. The article further explains the ways in which programadministrators at other institutions can create their own usability testingprotocols for formative online teacher training in course design and inprinciples of user-centered design.
Bartolotta, J., Newmark, J. & Bourelle, T. (2017). Engaging with online design: Undergraduate User-Testers and the Practice-Level Struggles of Usability Learning. Communication Design Quarterly Review, 5(3), 63-73.
Abstract: As usability research and user-centered design become more prevalent areas of study within technical and professional communication (TPC), it has become important to examine the best practices in designing courses and programs that help students better understand these concepts. This article reports on a case study about how usability research and user-centered design were introduced to TPC students. The article examines how students responded to and articulated new concepts and looks forward to ways TPC programs can develop comprehensive curricula that introduces students to these topics.