Your team will create user profiles (aka personas) and usage scenarios based on interviews. The profiles and scenarios will be for an application (e.g. Web site, applet, utility software) of your choice. Interviews should involve contextual inquiry as much as possible.
To complete this assignment, your group needs to choose an application. In general, your choice should be a simple application. Common office and business software such as word processors, database systems, or spreadsheets are far too complicated given the time and effort expected of this project. I would much prefer a thoughtful and thorough treatment of a simple application. Public domain software and Web CGI's and applets are a good place to look.
When choosing your application, consider the logistics of recruiting participants for this project and future projects. You will need to interview representative users and ask a few of them to participate in a usability test. Also, I must be able to run your chosen application. It must run on a Windows platform. Please provide me with some reasonable means to run your application (disk, download instructions, etc.). For Web CGI's and applets, submitting the URL is fine. Before starting your evaluation, send me a note describing your chosen application.
The goal of your interviews is to learn about your users and the tasks they do with your chosen application.
You must prepare your interview in advance. Working either individually or as a team, the interview script should include the following:
We will discuss the contents of the interview script in class. In addition to the script, you should consider how you selected and approached potential users for the interviews. Your method should select a good variety of participants that use your chosen application.
When you create your set of interview questions, consider the artifacts and tasks that exist in the problem domain. Plan on conducting a contextualized interview. Class demonstrations will provide the most useful guidance. The context will tyically involve asking your participant to review the application. Also ask about tasks that your participant would like to do but that the product does not support.
Keep the interview simple and focussed so that it lasts about 20 minutes. Each individual should plan on interviewing at least two people, thus yielding at least 6 to 8 interviews for the whole group. Simply keeping notes is acceptable. If you choose to record the interview, make sure you have the participant's permission.
After the interviews, your team can start consolidating the results and placing them in the report. The following items correspond to the sections in your final report.
In a couple of paragraphs, present the general purpose of your research and a description of your chosen application.
Also provide a summary in one or two paragraphs of your major results. Most importantly, note if there are any tasks that your users would like to do but your product does not do.
From each interview, create personas and usage scenarios . Using fictitious names is fine, but they should not be the actual names of your participants. Consolidate interviews with similar notes into one scenario. This analysis can start individually but must finish as a team. In the end, you might finish with 3-6 personas (user profiles) and 6-12 usage scenarios (tasks).
Summarize in one or two paragraphs your process for conducting the interviews and consolidating the results into user and task scenarios. Your procedure should also explain how you obtained informed consent from your participants. As appropriate, refer to materials in the appendix.
The appendix contains supporting information including the interview protocols and the methods for selecting participants. Also attach a copy of the individual notes from the interviews. The notes do not have to be created with a word processor.
Submit a softcopy through the dlweb site. Please place all contents in one document using a common format (e.g. Word, PDF, RTF, HTML). Only one submission per team is needed and may be submitted under any one name. The report should include the names of all the team members and how they contributed to the assignment. Interview notes may be typed in or scanned.
In addition to completeness, I will consider the following issues when grading the reports: