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Users People act toward technology in a way that is based on the meaning that it has for them. Design continues in use.

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Presentation on theme: "Users People act toward technology in a way that is based on the meaning that it has for them. Design continues in use."— Presentation transcript:

1 Users People act toward technology in a way that is based on the meaning that it has for them. Design continues in use.

2 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

3 Starting a user and task analysis 1.Assemble group of people who interact with users. - Including sales, service personnel; help staff 2.Brainstorm preliminary list of users and potential users. Create a user/task matrix or a user/characteristic matrix. 3.Discuss the relevant characteristics that you assume are typical of your user community. 4.Decide how to test your assumptions.

4 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)

5 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

6 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.

7 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

8 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

9 Local Definitions of Expertise: CalFlora on plant identification Professionals can 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.

10 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?

11 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

12 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

13 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

14 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

15 Ethnographic Data Collection Methods Observation –Video, photography Interviews Participation (do it yourself)

16 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

17 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

18 Representation: how to report what you learned? Textual accounts –Descriptive reports –Scenarios Storyboarding techniques Video (edited) Case-based prototyping

19 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

20 But: Useful as an orientation, set of principles Important reminder to stay grounded in the users’ actual experience and understandings

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