Chapter

Software for People

Part of the series Management for Professionals pp 39-52

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Software Usability in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Germany: An Empirical Study

  • Florian ScheiberAffiliated withChair of SMEs and Entrepreneurship, University of Mannheim Email author 
  • , Dominika WrukAffiliated withChair of SMEs and Entrepreneurship, University of Mannheim
  • , Achim ObergAffiliated withChair of SMEs and Entrepreneurship, University of Mannheim
  • , Johannes BritschAffiliated withCAS Software AG
  • , Michael WoywodeAffiliated withChair of SMEs and Entrepreneurship, University of Mannheim
  • , Alexander MaedcheAffiliated withChair of Information Systems IV, University of Mannheim
  • , Felix KahrauAffiliated withChair of Information Systems IV, University of Mannheim
  • , Hendrik MethAffiliated withChair of Information Systems IV, University of Mannheim
  • , Dieter WallachAffiliated withUniversity of Applied Sciences
    • , Marcus PlachAffiliated withERGOSIGN GmbH

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Abstract

Usability has become a competitive factor in the software industry. Specifically, the software industry in the United States has recognized this important factor and successfully leverages it for achieving competitive advantage. Compared to this fast development in the US, it seems questionable whether this view is also widespread among small and medium sized software producing and client companies in Germany and whether they direct sufficient attention to usability. This article presents the results of an empirical study exploring the status quo of the importance, the knowledge and the actual use of usability concepts among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany. Following an organizational field perspective, we investigate how interactions between actors in the software field influence the usability awareness as well as the knowledge and actual use of usability concepts. Based on the results of our study, we provide recommendations on how to increase awareness and maturity of software usability in SMEs in Germany.