Usability study of a risk based inspection software
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- Master's theses (TN-IKM) 
Usability, or the “ease of use” of a software application, is important in order to allow for a user to carry out the intended task in an efficient and effective manner. For a technical software, as the risk based inspection (RBI) software studied in this thesis, such aspects is equally important. But in order to ensure a software which is “easy to use” there must be carried out usability activities in relation to the software’s development. The goal of the thesis was to carry out a usability study on DNVs risk based inspection software in order to identify what had a positive and negative impact on the software’s usability. By indentifying it strengths and weaknesses it should be possible to present recommendations in order to improve usability in future RBI software applications. In the thesis there was proposed a framework for carrying out the usability study as such guidance were not found in the literature. The proposed framework was developed specifically for the project and was based upon recognized usability evaluation and design methods. In addition the most beneficial usability evaluation method for the project had to be identified. The method of choice was Nielsen’s ten heuristics; a set of broad based rules which if followed should ensure a software application with a high degree of usability. Through the use of the software application to carry out an RBI analysis, each of the heuristics was applied to the software user interface, and thereby making it possible to indentify its usability strengths and weaknesses. The usability evaluation revealed several aspects which had an impact on the overall usability of the software. Especially the software’s RBI working process and its somewhat limited error handling was found to have the most significant impact on the software’s usability. In addition to the usability evaluation there was carried out a literature survey to identify guidelines and design rules which could be relevant for future RBI software developments. From the usability evaluation and literature survey there were presented more than 30 suggestions and recommendations that should be considered when developing RBI software applications in the future. Through the application of the proposed framework usability problems were identified and subsequent suggestions and recommendations for future software were presented. Based upon the latter accomplishments the usability study of Orbit Offshore was found to be a success.
Master's thesis in Offshore technology