Users People act toward technology in a way that is based on the meaning that it has for them. Design continues in use.
Where does user and task analysis come from? • Anthropology and ethnography • Thursday’s readings • cognitive psychology • technical communication, tech writing • instructional systems design • market research: • Market research tends to focus on attitudes and opinions, user and task analysis on behavior. • Participatory design and Scandinavian model
Starting a user and task analysis • Assemble group of people who interact with users. - Including sales, service personnel; help staff • Brainstorm preliminary list of users and potential users. Create a user/task matrix or a user/characteristic matrix. • Discuss the relevant characteristics that you assume are typical of your user community. • Decide how to test your assumptions.
Types of Users • Primary users • Secondary users • E.g., the customer of the travel agent • Gatekeepers, early adopters • User communities: • new learners and experts, teachers and students, those administering and operating systems, those who use products and those who supervise them, those who repair products and those who break them. • Users as buyers – a potential design conflict • Market researchers tend to concentrate on the people who buy; designers (ideally) concentrate on the people who perform tasks. • Surrogate users • May not speak effectively for the products’ users. • (But may be efficient source of information – e.g., librarians)
Sources of user identities • functional specifications • targeted users or goals • organizational priorities • users you are mandated to serve (e.g., people in specific organization, doing specific jobs) • structured analyses and marketing studies • – people currently using you or a competitor • observations, surveys, user feedback, user registrations • R&D – projected users
What do you want to know about your users? • Users and their jobs • What they do • what they know about their tasks & tools • their mental models and vocabulary • User communities • Disciplines, work groups, organizational units… • People who communicate with one another • People who share knowledge, expertise, orientation… • Individual differences • personal characteristics & preferences, physical & cultural differences • motivational differences: • E.g., willingness to change vs. hostility toward learning something new.
Representative Users as Subjects • Validity • defining relevant characteristics: • demographics are cheap and easy but often irrelevant • age as a proxy for experience: ask about experience • race, ethnicity as proxy for language • gender? • Experience or expertise
User characteristics: Expertise • Expertise is relative • In degree • How to define more, less expert • Relative to others: who are the referents? • To a domain • Content area, functionality • E.g., researchers versus technicians; students vs. faculty • Technology • Expertise changes over time • Help users to use local expertise • Image library users who knew the photographers needed photographer names
Local Definitions of Expertise:CalFlora on plant identification • Professionalscan generally answer yes to one of the following: • I am a professional botanist or have professional training in botany. • Although not a botanist, I am a professional biologist expert in the plants for which I will be submitting observations • Although I do not have formal credentials, I am recognized as a peer by professional botanists • Experts can generally answer yes to this: • Although I do not consider myself to have professional-level knowledge, I am quite experienced in the use of keys and descriptions, and/or am very familiar with the plants for which I’ll be submitting observations. • Non-experts should be able to say yes to this: • I am confident that I know the correct scientific names of the plants for which I’ll be submitting observations.
Some Tensions in User-Centered Design • Current and/or known users and uses vs. unknown, future, emergent • New or different users • Users change over time (learning) • New or different uses • Customization for a specific group vs. universal (or at least more general) design • Trying to be too many things to too many people?
Ethnography • Useful method studying people’s behavior and understandings • Can learn from anthropologists, sociologists, others who have extensive experience with this method • Course IS272 – Qualitative Methods – addresses in more detail
Ethnography and HCI (Blomberg) • studies of work • where new technology might be intro’d but w/o explicit design agenda • studies of technology in use • situated use of specific technologies, classes of technology • participatory/work-oriented design • people who use/are affected involved in design – based on their understandings of their work
Central premises • It is difficult for people to articulate tacit knowledge and understandings of familiar activities • So we observe them as well as talk to them • Participants act (toward technology) based on their own understandings and meanings • So we listen to them as well as observe them
Presuppositions (Blomberg) • Natural settings • Holistic • concern with understanding relation of particular activities to the constellation of activities that characterize a setting • Descriptive of lived experience • how people actually behave, not (just) their accounts • withhold judgment, recommendations, design • Members’ point of view • Use their categories, language • Your point of view affects what you see and understand
Ethnographic Data Collection Methods • Observation • Video, photography • Interviews • Participation (do it yourself)
Getting Access • Whose approval, agreement do you need? • Officially • Really (they can let you in and not tell you anything) • Why should they let you in? • Benefits to them? What will they learn? Better system design? A way to communicate their point of view? • Concerns about deleterious effects: • Privacy • Power relations among participants
Getting Access (II) • Who are you? • Double hermeneutic (Giddens): observing and writing about them will affect them • Knowing that they are observing you and reviewing your work affects you
Representation: how to report what you learned? • Textual accounts • Descriptive reports • Scenarios • Storyboarding techniques • Video (edited) • Case-based prototyping
Difficulties with Ethnography • Harder to do well than it appears • High resources demands • Human resources – time and expertise • Calendar time • Difficult translating observations and understandings for others • How to link to design? • How to use to develop designs of more general use
But: • Useful as an orientation, set of principles • Important reminder to stay grounded in the users’ actual experience and understandings