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Lecture 7: Task Analysis

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  1. Lecture 7: Task Analysis 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  2. UI Hall of Fame or Shame? Suggested by Vikki Chou 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  3. UI Hall of Fame or Shame? 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  4. Nanoquiz closed book, closed notes submit before time is up (paper or web) we’ll show a timer for the last 20 seconds

  5. 11 12 13 14 15 10 17 18 19 20 16 6 2 3 4 5 0 7 8 9 1 Which of the following is not an important part of user-centered design? (choose one) A. prototyping B. evaluation C. spiral model D. waterfall model Which of the following are good reasons for choosing the spiral model over the waterfall model? (choose all good answers) A. risky design space B. substantial user involvement is needed C. outsourcing to India D. you are not the user A prototype in the inner ring of the spiral model is: (choose all good answers) A. Low-fidelity B. Early in the process C. Costly D. Slow to create E. Rarely made of paper

  6. Today’s Topics • User analysis • Task analysis • Domain analysis • Requirements analysis 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  7. Know Your User • Identify characteristics of target user population • Age, gender, culture, language • Education (literacy? numeracy?) • Physical limitations • Computer experience (typing?) • Motivation, attitude • Domain experience • Application experience • Work environment and other social context • Relationships and communication patterns 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  8. Multiple Classes of Users • Many applications have several kinds of users • By role (student, teacher) • By characteristics (age, motivation) • Example: Olympic Message System • Athletes • Friends & family • Telephone operators • Sysadmins 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  9. Personas • A persona is a fictitious character used as a specific representative of a user class • Yoshi is a 20-year-old pole vaulter from Tokyo who speaks some English • Bob is an IBM sysadmin in New York • Fritz is the 50-year-old father of a German swimmer • Advantages • Convenient handle for talking about user classes • Focuses on a typical user, rather than an extreme • Encourages empathy • Disadvantages • May be misleading • Stereotype trap 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  10. Example: User Analysis of Piazzza • Piazzza is our class Q&A forum • Let’s do a user analysis for it 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  11. How To Do User Analysis • Techniques • Questionnaires • Interviews • Observation • Obstacles • Developers and users are sometimes systematically isolated from each other • Tech support shields developers from users • Marketing shields users from developers • Some users are expensive to talk to • Doctors, executives, union members 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  12. Task Analysis • Identify the individual tasks the program might solve • Each task is a goal (what, not how) • Often helps to start with overall goal of the system and then decompose it hierarchically into tasks 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  13. Essential Parts of Task Analysis • What needs to be done? • Goal • What must be done first to make it possible? • Preconditions • Tasks on which this task depends • Information that must be known to the user • What steps are involved in doing the task? • Subtasks • Subtasks may be decomposed recursively 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  14. Example from OMS • Goal • Send message to another athlete • Preconditions • Must know: my country code, my username, my password, the other athlete’s name • Subtasks • Log in (identify yourself) • Identify recipient • Record message • Hang up 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  15. Other Questions to Ask About a Task • Where is the task performed? • At a kiosk, standing up • What is the environment like? Noisy, dirty, dangerous? • Outside • How often is the task performed? • Perhaps a couple times a day • What are its time or resource constraints? • A minute or two (might be pressed for time!) • How is the task learned? • By trying it • By watching others • Classroom training? (probably not) • What can go wrong? (Exceptions, errors, emergencies) • Enter wrong country code • Enter wrong user name • Get distracted while recording message • Who else is involved in the task? 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  16. How to Do a Task Analysis • Interviews with users • Direct observation of users performing tasks 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  17. Example: Elevator Task Analysis • Suppose we’re designing the Student Center elevator interface • What are the tasks? 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  18. Domain Analysis • Identify important things in the domain • People (user classes) • Athletes, friends & family, sysadmins • Physical objects • Namecard, telephone • Information objects • Messages, accounts Account Sysadmin Athlete Message Namecard 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  19. Domain Analysis • Determine important relations between the things • Athletes have accounts • Accounts have messages • Family & friends know athletes • Sysadmins register athletes or create accounts Sysadmin create Athlete Account Message account messages 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  20. Domain Analysis • Identify multiplicities of things and relations • Numbers are best, but simple multiplicity indicators (!,?,+,*) help too Sysadmin 100 create Athlete 10,000 account Account messages Message 10 [0-100] ! 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  21. Feedback to User & Task Analysis • People entities who really should be user classes • Missing tasks • CRUD: Create, Read, Update, Delete 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  22. Example: Twitter Domain Analysis • Suppose we’re reimplementing Twitter. • What are its entities, relationships, and multiplicities? 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  23. Requirements Analysis • Requirements: what should the system do? Users Requirements Tasks Domain 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  24. Common Errors in User Analysis • Describing what your ideal users should be, rather than what they actually are • “Users should be literate in English, fluent in spoken Swahili, right-handed, and color-blind” 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  25. Common Errors in Task Analysis • Thinking from the system’s point of view, rather than the user’s • “Notify user about appointment” • vs. “Get a notification about appointment” • Fixating too early on a UI design vision • “The system bell will ring to notify the user about an appointment…” • Bogging down in what users do now (concrete tasks), rather than why they do it (essential tasks) • “Save file to disk” • vs. “Make sure my work is kept” • Duplicating a bad existing procedure in software • Failing to capture good aspects of existing procedure 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  26. Hints for Better User & Task Analysis • Questions to ask • Why do you do this? (goal) • How do you do it? (subtasks) • Look for weaknesses in current situation • Goal failures, wasted time, user irritation • Contextual inquiry • Participatory design 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  27. Contextual Inquiry • Observe users doing real work in the real work environment • Be concrete • Establish a master-apprentice relationship • User shows how and talks about it • Interviewer watches and asks questions • Challenge assumptions and probe surprises 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  28. Participatory Design • Include representative users directly in the design team • OMS design team included an Olympic athlete as a consultant 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation

  29. Summary • User analysis identifies the user classes • Task analysis discovers their tasks • Domain analysis finds the entities and relationships in the domain 6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation