Posts Tagged ‘users’

User as a two-component-system: physical/cognitive processor

June 13, 2008

“Earlier, it was asserted that usability-based approaches tend to encourage human factors specialists to consider people as processors. Physical processors with attributes such as strength, height and weight, and cognitive processors with attributes such as memory, attention and expectations. Here, then, the user is often looked at as being simply a cognitive and/or physical component of a three component system – the other two components being the product and the environment. It could be argued that the traditional human factors approaches to people ignore the very things that make us human – our emotions, our values, our hopes and our fears.
In order to find a way into these issues, we need to have an understanding not only of how people use products, but also of the role that those products play in people’s lives. This gives a chance to understand how the product relates to the person in a wider sense than just usability and can help the human factors specialist in gaining a wider view of the user requirements – the requirements for pleasure.”

From: Jordan, P. W. (2002), ‘Human factors for pleasure seekers’ in ed. Frascara, J. Design and the Social Sciences: Making Connections, London: Taylor & Francis, p.16

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Hierarchy of user needs

June 13, 2008
    The User needs hierarchy (variation of Maslow’s pyrmaid) has three levels

  1. Functionality
  2. Usability
  3. Pleasure

“Abraham Maslow (1970) developed a “hierarchy of human needs.” This model views the human as a “wanting animal” who rarely reaches a state of complete satisfaction. Indeed, if a nirvana is reached it will usually only be temporary because once one desire has been fulfilled another will soon surface to take its place. The idea is that as soon as people have fulfilled the needs lower down the hierarchy, they will then want to fulfill the needs higher up. This means that even if basic needs such as physiological needs and safety have been met, people will still et with frustration if their higher goals are not met.”

From: Jordan, P. W. (2002), ‘Human factors for pleasure seekers’ in ed. Frascara, J. Design and the Social Sciences: Making Connections, London: Taylor & Francis, p.13

Personas

June 13, 2008

“A summary representation of the system’s intended users, often described as real people. Any project can have one or more personas, each representing a different kind of audience for the system. Also known as: user profiles, user role definitions, audience profiles.”

From: Brown, Dan (2007), Communicating Design, Berkeley: New Riders, p.15

Doing user testing

June 6, 2008
  1. Determine the goals and explore the questions
  2. Choose the paradigm and techniques
  3. Identify the practical issues: Design typical tasksIdentify the practical issues: Select typical users
  4. Identify the practical issues: Prepare the testing conditions
  5. Identify the practical issues: Plan how top run the tests
  6. Deal with ethical issues
  7. Evaluate, analyze, and present the data

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley

Interviewing: Asking users and experts

June 6, 2008
  1. There are three styles of interviews: structured, semi-structured and unstructured.
  2. Interview questions can be open or closed. Closed questions require the interviewee to select from a limited range of options. Open questions accept a free-range response.
  3. Many interviews are semi-structured. The evaluator has a predetermined agenda but will probe and follow interesting, relevant directions suggested by the interviewee. A few structured questions may also be included, for example to collect demographic information.
  4. Structured and semi-structured interviews are designed to be replicated. Focus groups are a form of group interview.
  5. Questionnaires are a comparatively low-cost, quick way of reaching large numbers of people.
  6. Various rating scales exist including selection boxes, Likert, and semantic scales.
  7. Inspections can be used for evaluating requirements, mockups, functional prototypes, or systems.
  8. Five experts typically find around 75% of the usability problems.
  9. Compared to user testing, heuristic evaluation is less expensive and more flexible.
  10. User testing and heuristic evaluation often reveal different usability problems.
  11. Other types of inspections include pluralistic and cognitive walkthroughs.
  12. Walkthroughs are very focused and so are suitable for evaluating small parts of systems.

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley, p. 424

Observing users

June 6, 2008
  1. Observation in usability testing tends to be objective, from the
    outside. The observer watches and analyzes what happens.
  2. In contrast, in participant observation the evaluator works with
    users to understand their activities, beliefs and feelings within
    the context in which the technology is used.
  3. Ethnography uses a set of techniques that include participant
    observation and interviews. Ethnographers immerse themselves in
    the culture that they study.
  4. The way that observational data is collected and analyzed depends
    on the paradigm in which it is used: quick and dirty, user
    testing, or field studies.
  5. Combinations of video, audio and paper records, data logging, and
    diaries can be used to collect observation data
  6. In participant observation, collections of comments, incidents,
    and artifacts are made during the observation period. Evaluators
    are advised to discuss and summarize their findings as soon after
    the observation session as possible.
  7. Analyzing video and data logs can be difficult because of the
    sheer volume of data. It is important to have clearly specified
    questions to guide the process and also access to appropriate
    tools.
  8. Evaluators often flag events in real time and return to examine
    them in more detail Identifying key. events is an effective
    approach. Fine-grained analyses can be very time-consuming.

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley, p.386

User-centred approaches to interaction design

June 6, 2008
  1. Involving users in the design process helps with expectation
    management and feelings ownership, but how and when to involve
    users is a matter of dispute.
  2. Putting a user-centered approach into practice requires much
    information about the users to be gathered and interpreted.
  3. Ethnography is a good method for studying users in their natural
    surroundings.
  4. Representing the information gleaned from an ethnographic study
    so that it can be used in design has been problematic
  5. The goals of ethnography are to study the details, while the
    goals of system design are to produce abstractions; hence they
    are not immediately compatible.
  6. Coherence is a method that provides focus questions to help guide
    the ethnographer towards issues that have proved to be important
    in systems development.
  7. Contextual Design is a method that provides models and techniques
    for gathering contextual data and representing it in a form
    suitable for practical design.
  8. PICTIVE and CARD (collaborative analysis of requirements and
    design) are both participatory design techniques that empower
    users to take an active part in design decisions.

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley, p. 312

Understanding users

June 5, 2008
    KEY POINTS

  1. Cognition comprises many processes, including thinking,
    attention, learning, memory, perception, decision-making,
    planning, reading, speaking, and listening.
  2. The way an interface is designed can greatly affect how well
    people can perceive, attend, learn, and remember how to carry out
    their tasks.
  3. The main benefits of conceptual frameworks and cognitive
    theories are that they can explain user interaction and predict
    user performance. . The conceptual framework of mental models
    provides a way of conceptualizing the user’s understanding of the
    system.
  4. Research findings and theories from cognitive psychology need
    to be carefully reinterpreted in the context of interaction
    design to avoid oversimplification and misapplication.

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley

How do users think about the site’s content?

June 5, 2008

(…)

    There are (four) good ways to learn how people think about your content:

  1. observe others
  2. study the enemy
  3. visit your search logs
  4. do a card sort

From: Wodtke, Christina (2003), Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web, Berkeley, CA: New Riders

How do users think about the site’s content?

June 5, 2008

(…)

    There are (four) good ways to learn how people think about your content:

  1. observe others
  2. study the enemy
  3. visit your search logs
  4. do a card sort

From: Wodtke, Christina (2003), Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web, Berkeley, CA: New Riders