Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis
contextual inquiry methodology to learn more about the work practices of your target customers.
The interviews will help you perform a task analysis of your idea. Finally, you will design rough sketches of your proposed user interface.
- Interview at least three (3) target customers using contextual inquiry.
- Answer the standard task analysis questions.
- Analyze new and existing tasks. Describe six (6) tasks in moderate detail that users will perform with your application. There should be two (2) each of easy, moderate, and difficult tasks. Compare and contrast your tasks with any existing tasks.
- Based on your analysis and tasks, explain your proposed interface. Describe in text and support your description with rough sketches of important screens.
- Choose one each of your easy, moderate, and difficult tasks and develop a scenario for each, total three (3), that describes how they will be performed using your user interface.
Problem and solution overview
This overview should be a concise statement of the problem you are tackling and a brief synopsis of your proposed solution.
Contextual inquiry interview descriptions and results
Describe the rationale behind your choice of target customers. For each of the three (3) customers, give some details of their background, the environment where you observed their work, and your role as the “apprentice”. Identify tasks and themes that the customers shared in common in their work practices. Then, note anything unique about each interview and comment on the rationale behind these events.
Task analysis questions
- Who is going to use the system?
- What tasks do they now perform?
- What tasks are desired?
- How are the tasks learned?
- Where are the tasks performed?
- What's the relationship between user & data?
- What other tools does the user have?
- How often are tasks performed?
- What are the time constraints on the tasks?
- What happens when things go wrong?
Give a rationale for your design ideas. This section should clearly indicate the functionality of your artifact and what the user interface will be like (described and sketched -- references the figures in your text). You should then describe three scenarios of how someone would use it to accomplish three of the tasks above. Scenarios include the steps customers will go through to accomplish the task. You should include "storyboards" of the sequences described in your three scenarios. The solution section should be the bulk of the write-up and take approximately 3 pages.
Low-fi Prototyping and Usability Testing
mission statement that describes your goal for the project.
Test will use the three (3) tasks that you turned into scenarios These benchmark tasks should include 1 easy task,1 moderate task, and 1 hard task. These tasks should give good coverage of your interface.Design and construct your low-fidelity prototype. Use the techniques described in the
“Prototyping for Tiny Fingers” paper as a guideline.
You will find at least three (3) participants (volunteers who are not in your group) to work through your benchmark tasks. You should not use friends or other members of the class. The type of people you use should be based on your task analysis. Remember it must be voluntary. You should get them to sign an informed consent form saying the test will be confidential.
Have one of your teammates demo the system to show the real participant how they would interact with your prototyped system. Do not show your participants exactly how to perform your tasks. Just show how the system works in general and give an example of something specific that is different enough from your tasks.
You should write up a script of your demo and follow the same script with each participant. The participant will then be given task directions for the first task that tells them what they are trying to achieve, not how to do it. When they are finished, you will give them the directions for the next task and so on. Keep each task on a separate card.
During the experiment, you should make a log of critical incidents (both positive and negative events). For example, the user might make a mistake or they might see something they like and say, "cool". Write it down along with a description of what was going on. Later you should prioritize these events and assign severity ratings to the problems. Each participant will perform all 3 tasks. You will want to keep the data separate for each task
Writing and Experimentation Guidelines
Introduction and Mission Statement
Briefly introduce the system being evaluated, and state the purpose and rationale behind the experiment. Then, present your mission statement. As described in “The Discipline of Teams”, the mission statement should represent the common purpose and goal of the project. Each member of the team should agree on and be committed to achieving the mission statement.
Describe your prototype. Reference sketches of the interface screens in your description.
Describe the participants in the experiment and how they were selected. Also describe the testing environment and how the prototype and any other equipment were set up.
Describe some details of your testing procedure. This should include the roles of each member of the team. To prepare for the experiment, you should assign team members to the different tasks (i.e., computer, facilitator, etc.) and practice with someone playing the participant.
The test measures detail what you looked for or measured during the experiment. You should concentrate on process data (i.e., what is happening in the big picture) in addition to bottom-line data (i.e., time or # of errors).
Summarize the results of the experiment from your process data.
Discuss your results. What did you learn from the experiment? How will the results change the design of your interface? Was there anything that the experiment could not reveal?
Use the results of your low-fi prototype tests to design a revised user interface. Develop new and/or revised scenarios for your tasks by storyboarding your ideas. The tasks that most of you used in the low-fi assignment should be sufficient for this, but some were simple or partial tasks that did not adequately cover your proposed functionality. Make sure to revise those tasks. If you are changing your tasks, make an appointment with us to present your new tasks, design ideas, and storyboards for discussion.
For web applications, we would like you to use HTML.
Heuristic Evaluation of Prototypes
Tasks, scenarios, UI design, screenshots, and interactive prototype you will apply Nielsen's heuristics to the UIs. You should be able to get all of this information from web page.
Read their report first and then examine prototype (i.e., run it). Your evaluation will use both the information in the written report and the prototype.
After finding all of the problems, go back and assign a severity (from the 0-4 scale defined) for each violation you found.You will produce a report showing the problems in the interface.
Your report will list each of the problems found in the following format:
problem# [heuristic violated][severity]
description of problem and reasoning why you think this violates the heuristic
5. [H2-4 Consistency & Standards] [severity = 2]
The interface used the string "Save" on the first screen for saving the user's file, but used the string "Write file" on the second screen. Users may be confused by this different terminology for the same function.
6. [H2-3 User Control & Freedom] [severity = 3]
The interface brings the user into a set of preference screens when they select "New User", but doesn't allow the user out of the dialog until they fill out all 4 screens. There is no way to cancel from any of the screens if a user came into the first screen by accident.
Your report will also summarize the number of violations found in each of the ten heuristic categories and give the total number of violations in the entire interface. You should also list the total number of violations in each severity category.
Finally, your report should close with some overall recommendations you have for improving the user interface given what you read of their description.
H1-1: Simple & natural dialog
H1-2: Speak the users’ language
H1-3: Minimize Users’ memory load
H1-6: Clearly marked exits
H1-8: Precise & constructive error message
H1-9: Prevent errors
H1-10 Help and documentation
Web usability Guidelines
2 Optimizing the User Experience
2:1 Display Information in a Directly Usable Format
2:2 Do Not Display Unsolicited Windows or Graphics
2:3 Provide Assistance to Users
2:4 Provide Printing Options
2:5 Standardize Task Sequences
2:6 Minimize Page Download Time
2:7 Warn of ‘Time Outs’
2:8 Reduce the User’s Workload
2:9 Use Users’ Terminology in Help Documentation
2:10 Provide Feedback When Users Must Wait
2:11 Inform Users of Long Download Times
2:12 Do Not Require Users to Multitask While Reading
2:13 Design For Working Memory Limitations
2:14 Develop Pages that Will Print Properly
3:1 Comply with Section 508
3:2 Design Forms for Users Using Assistive Technology
3:3 Provide Text Equivalents for Non-Text Elements
3:4 Do Not Use Color Alone to Convey Information
3:5 Provide Equivalent Pages
3:6 Ensure that Scripts Allow Accessibility
3:7 Provide Client-Side Image Maps
3:8 Enable Users to Skip Repetitive Navigation Links
3:9 Provide Frame Titles
3:10 Test Plug-ins and Applets for Accessibility
3:11 Synchronize Multimedia Elements
3:12 Do Not Require Style Sheets
3:13 Avoid Screen Flicker
Hardware and Software
Design for Common Browsers
Account for Browser Differences
Design for Popular Operating Systems
Design for User’s Typical Connection Speed
Design for Commonly Used Screen Resolutions
Provide Feedback on Users’ Location
Use a Clickable ‘List of Contents’ on Long Pages
Do Not Create Pages with No Navigational Options
Differentiate and Group Navigation Elements
Use Descriptive Tab Labels
Present Tabs Effectively
Use Site Maps
Use Appropriate Menu Types
Keep Navigation-only Pages Short
Use ‘Glosses’ to Assist Navigation
Organize Information Clearly
Put Critical Information Near the Top of the Website
Group Related Elements
Display Only Necessary Information
Ensure that Necessary Information is Displayed
Format Information for Multiple Audiences
Design Quantitative Content for Quick Understanding
Use Color for Grouping
Provide a Search Option on Each Page
Ensure Usable Search Results
Allow Simple Searches
Make Upper-and Lowercase Search Terms Equivalent
Design Search Engines to Search the Entire Site
Design Search Around Users’ Terms
Notify Users When Multiple Search Options Exist
Provide Search Templates