The first step in an iterative user-centered system design is to get to know the intended users, their tasks, and the working context of their actions. Only then do you consider what the actual system design should look like, where you would base the design on real people, real tasks, and real needs. This is a hands-on process which requires you to go out and identify actual users, talk to them about what tasks they are trying to do, and understand the entire context of their work.
In this assignment, you will develop an interview or observation strategy for current or potential users. You will then interview and/or observe at least 3 potential users. From these, you will decide on the most important user goals, and develop corresponding personas for your project. You will also do a preliminary task analysis.
This is a group assignment, so you should work as a team.
Step 1: Determine the Project Management Structure
Meet with the members of the team and assign management roles to each team member. The manager is responsible for making sure the work gets done, not for actually doing the work themselves. Everyone needs to help out with the different parts of the project. Suggested management role breakdowns are:
Most groups have three members, so the group manager should also take on one of the additional roles. Your writeup should state who is taking on which roles.
Step 2: Design Interview Questions and Recruit Potential Users
Create an interview to assess what potential users would like to see in a design, and to form a basis for personas and tasks. If redesigning a system, also arrange to observe current users using the system you are redesigning.
Most useful would be a set of interviews with perspective users, but other means of discovering user needs and goals are also acceptable. Use the class discussions and the readings (Cooper, Nielsen, Johnson, Ims) to help guide you in this process.
Depending upon your situation, you may or may not be able to access real potential users. Consequently, each team should select the approach below that best fits their constraints and team membership.
The following are recommended things to do during the interviews. Your needs may differ.
Step 3: Conduct the Interviews
You should interview at least 3 people, but the more you can do the more representative your results will be. You should also find out if these people will be willing to talk with you later in order to assess your task descriptions, and eventually, your designs.
Be sure to record the interviews in some manner. If you use an audio or video tape recorder, you must be get the interviewee's permission to do so.
Step 4: Determine Personas, Goals and Tasks
Because it is unrealistic to meet all requirements and address all users, it is important to focus on a few representative types of users and goals. Based on these interviews, and your common-sense notions of what will be required for your project, create create personas, or hypothetical archetypical users, to capture the most important user types and their goals. Use the description in the Cooper readings to help you. Assign personal details to them in order to make them more vibrant and memorable.
Determine which tasks must be done, which are optional, and how often they will need to be done by each persona. Make a chart, table, or flow diagram to illustrate the frequency and/or importance of each of these tasks in isolation. You will use these together in the next assignmetn to create scenarios.
Remember that goals:
Step 5: Turn in the assignment
Each assignment for the class project is designed to be modular enough so that it can go nearly unchanged into the final report. Each group will have shared space in the class project directory; each assignment is expected to be written in HTML and placed in the project directory, (Kevin Heard is going to arrange for group directories once the group memberships are solidified. We'll send email with the directory locations once they are ready.)
Below, the number of pages refers to number of printed pages when printing from a web browser.
To turn in:
Upcoming due dates: