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User Research

User Research

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User Research

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  1. Our time on Earth is short and we must focus on compelling problems facing society and not just incremental technological improvements

  2. Loren Terveen CS 5115, Fall 2010 September 22 User Research

  3. How do you learn from users? • Surveys • Interviews • Focus groups • Observation • Participatory Design • Ethnography • Contextual Design / Contextual Inquiry Contextual Inquiry Ethnography

  4. Ethnography

  5. Ethnography?

  6. Ethnography?

  7. Contextual Design, Beyer and Holtzblatt • Consider trying to teach someone to drive not in a car, but in a conference room • Defining requirements for a figure layout feature in a word processor

  8. Contextual Inquiry • User is expert, designer is apprentice • Contextualized interviews • User’s natural habitat • Short • At users’ workplace (contextualized) • 2 to 3 hours long (much quicker than ethnography) • Design-oriented

  9. Personas • Fictional users • Research-based • Narrative • Basis • Cluster users by relevant attributes • Identify clusters • Create “realistic” representatives • Force you to consider whether your design is appropriate

  10. Example Persona • Sara is a graduate student living in Minneapolis. She travels by plane about three times a year—about half of that time for conference trips for her University research group. When she travels on her own dollar, she is very price-conscious, and wants to be sure to get the lowest price, even if that involves obscure routes or indirect trips. When she travels for the University, she is happy to let their staff make the arrangements. As a computer scientist, Sara knows all about search engines and other computer systems. Sometimes this makes her suspect that the system may be hiding the best fares. …

  11. Another Persona • Patricia is a 31 year old accountant for a technical publisher who has used Windows for six years at the office. She is fairly competent and technical. She installs her own software; she reads PC Magazine; she has programmed some Word macros. She has a cable modem for her home PC. She’s never used a Macintosh. “They’re too expensive”, she’ll say, “you can get a 4MHz PC with a gig of RAM for the price of…”

  12. Yet Another Persona • Nelson has been an English professor at Carleton College since 1975. He’s written several books of poetry and has been using computer word processors since 1980, but has only used two programs, WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. He doesn’t care how computers work; he stores all his documents in whatever directory they get put in if you don’t know about directories.

  13. Human Cognition Basics • It’s Human-Computer Interaction, UserInterface Design • … so a brief overview of human cognitive capabilities as relevant to HCI • Goal: use this knowledge to guide design of interfaces that extend people’s abilities and compensate for weaknesses

  14. Human Cognition Basics • Attention • Perception and recognition • Memory • Learning • Problem solving and reasoning

  15. Attention • From the range of available possibilities, select what to concentrate on

  16. Attention – Design Implications • Information relevant to the current task should be salient • Graphical techniques – layout, ordering, organization, underlining, color, animation – can be used to achieve this goal • But don’t visually clutter the interface: plain interfaces can be easier to use

  17. Attention - Example • Consider two interfaces that support web search; evaluate both from the perspective of being able to focus on where to enter your query

  18. Two more examples

  19. Perception • Acquiring information from the environment using different senses • Vision is dominant sense for sighted people

  20. Perception – Design Implications • Icons should be designed so users can easily distinguish their meanings • Sounds should be clearly audible and distinguishable • Text should be legible and distinguishable from the background

  21. Perception - Example • My goal is to read new messages in an online forum

  22. Icons: are their meanings clear? Attention: easy to focus on the right stuff?

  23. Memory • Short-Term Memory • Severely limited capacity – “7 plus or minus 2” • Instant, effortless recall • “Chunking” • Fragile • Long-Term Memory • “Unlimited” capacity • Takes time/effort to store and retrieve • Interpretative • Retrieval is context-sensitive • rote memory vs. relationships vs. explanation

  24. Memory (continued)‏ • People are really good at remembering some things • Visual cues, especially faces • People are much better at recognizing things than recalling them • People are good at associative reminding • People remember the typical case and the exceptions

  25. Memory – Design Implications • Don’t make users remember complicated procedures • Design interfaces that promote recognition over recall • Give users resources to help them visually encode information (colors, icons, time stamps, etc.)‏

  26. More than 7 +- 2 items in menu – bad? What about a voice menu?

  27. Visual representation of contacts – recognition, not recall Spatial organization of information Pictures

  28. Learning • Acquiring new knowledge or skills • Exploratory learning – learning by doing • Scaffolding or “training wheels”

  29. Learning – Design Implications • Create interfaces that encourage exploration • Easy to try out and undo actions • Design interfaces that constrain and guide users to select the right action • Provide multiple, linked representations

  30. Examples • Graphical editors • Simulation environments

  31. Can undo picture editing action Can learn about actions that are not available in current context

  32. Problem solving and reasoning • Conscious; reflective • Thinking over one’s options • Figuring out the best option or solution • Making a plan • Weighing pros and cons

  33. # of levels of decision making # of alternatives at any level A lot – deep A few - shallow A lot – wide Hard: games, puzzles, recreational activities Menu A few – narrow Recipe Don’t Make Me Think! Task Structure

  34. Problem solving – Design Implications • Provide the proper information and aids • But, even better – design to make problem-solving and reasoning unnecessary

  35. Spreadsheet

  36. Tax Preparation Software • User doesn’t have to do computation • User doesn’t have to figure out which form to use • Instead, software poses questions that users are likely to be able to answer

  37. Example • What’s the best flight from Vancouver to Montreal? • Time • Layovers • Plane changes • Price • …

  38. AC 117 Vancouver Calgary 7:00 9:00 Cdn 321 Vancouver Calgary 9:00 12:00 Cdn 355 Calgary Montreal 13:30 19:30 AC 123 Calgary Toronto 12:30 16:30 AC 123 Toronto Montreal 16:45 17:30 Representation 1 * Time zones: van-cal  + 1 ; cal – tor, mon  + 2

  39. Representation 2 7 9 11 13 15 17 Vancouver Cdn 321 AC 117 8 10 12 14 16 18 Calgary Cdn 355 AC 123 20 Toronto 10 12 14 16 18 Montreal