White Papers

Usability Study of San Jose Police Communication Systems

In June 2004 the San Jose, California, Police Department (SJPD) rolled out a new mobile, in-vehicle communication system for police officers. This roll-out completed the entire replacement of a dispatch and mobile response system developed by PRC in 1990. Working with PRC, the SJPD had spent many years perfecting their own system, which was a customized, closed suite of applications. SJPD had learned much about what made a very usable system for their officers, sergeants, and lieutenants who manage officers, dispatchers, and dispatch managers. They considered themselves among the more knowledgeable police departments in the US, having had many years of experience debugging and using their system. However, it gradually became apparent that a system based on a long-obsolete operating system (Windows 95) was in need of overhaul or replacement. Among other factors, connecting with new communications technologies, such as wireless phones, was not possible with the current system.

The complete case study can be seen in the file below


Return on Investment (ROI) for Usability

In 2002, AM+A published a white paper about the return-on-investment (ROI) of usability evaluations. The study was based on careful analysis of existing publications on the topic. AM+A later published the study in User Experience (UX) Magazine, the member publication of the Usability Professionals Association. AM+A revised that document and publshed it as “User Interface Design’s Return on Investment: Examples and Statistics.” Chapter 3 in Bias, R. G., and Mayhew, D.J.., (Eds.), Cost-Justifying Usability, 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Elsevier, pp. 17-39, 2005.

The 2004 version of the white paper appears in the downloadable file below:


AM+A_ROIWhitePaper_20Apr0 1.pdf

LoCoS: A Universal Sign Language

AM+A worked with the Yuko Ota, Tokyo, Japan, who invented the universal sign language LoCoS in 1964, to prepare a Website explaining LoCoS. The site is now available without a password at

A version of the explanation of the Website and of LoCoS appears in the downloadable file below:



Six User-Experience Spaces for All Products and Services

AM+A worked with Samsung Electronics, Seoul, Korea, in 2000 to study user-interfaces for smart phones, which were subsequently introduced into North America in 2003. As part of their studies, AM+A identified six user-experience spaces. AM+A published a version of this explanation in User Experience (UX) Magazine, the member publication of the Usability Professionals Association.

A version of this document appears in the downloadable file below:


AM+A_UseSpaces_LM15Sep04 1.pdf

Integrated Information Systems and Information Design

Complex, computer-mediated, interactive systems of information content, or “integrated information systems”  (IISs) require complex user-interfaces (UIs), i.e., artifacts of metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and presentation techniques. Information designers (ID) ensure the usability, usefulness, and appeal of user interfaces.  In addition to explaining these concepts, this white paper shows relevant AM+A projects and presents an IIS/UI/ID educational curriculum for universities and design schools.


Cross-Cultural Analysis of Social Networking Services in Japan, Korea, and the USA

Techniques of cross-cultural analysis of Websites based on culture models are used to examine user-interface components (the metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance) of social networking sites in Japan, Korea, and the USA. We note and evaluate patterns of similarity and difference in the Website designs that seem to link social networking sites by culture dimensions.

AM+A_XCSNS_19May2009 1.pdf

Culture’s Impact on Arabic Website Design

This initial study explores the influence of culture on Arabic Websites from three countries . Do the Websites of Arabic countries reflect their culture? How specifically? Do they share attitudes about design? Can an Arabic designer understand and design what users in other cultures need and want? What are differences reflected in the differences between Arabic countries in the Eastern world and Western countries? This paper discusses these and other issues.