Analysis & Reporting

Reading Materials Covered :

The UX Book – Chapters 16 (Analysis) & 17 (Reporting)

     The readings for this week were not really boring but more theoretical and concentrated much on documentation.  The authors tried to cover each and every single minute concept so as not to miss anything for the reader but instead this became much more annoying to me at some point.  Also, the authors have tried to generalize the reporting and analysis concepts.  Nobody likes documenting and welcome to most boring part of every Job. :).  I can think I can summarize both these chapters in an equivalent of two tweets. (Almost ;).)

Analysis :

    In short, the process of Analysis in UX Design is like a ‘Travel Check List’ in which you verify that you have packed all the things and if you have missed anything, you fix them.  This is exactly the same but here you assign classes (Scales, Ranking & Priorities) to missed and defective items, rate them for their fixtures.  Also, every problem has its own keyword in the UX Galaxy so as to understand its cause and severity.

Reporting :     

    Reporting, Simply is the ‘Work Log Documentation’ for the usability process and activities that we had followed.  They talked about standardised ANSI, NIST and CIF etc., reporting formats and also to write the report in a very neutral accent.  (Also, I can tell that every organization the methods for reporting definitely vary.)

  Though, the weeks reading were informative.  I felt they were rigorous in explaining the every little details of the concepts.   But, rather than just blindly following the rules of the UX Analysis and Reporting, I think it is up to every individual for using their ‘Common Sense and Knowledge’ for accomplishing the task quicker and effectively.

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Rigorous Empirical Evaluation

Reading Material Covered :

The UX Book – Chapter 14 & 15

Learning in the Week’s Reading :

I particularly cannot figure out why would they call this UX Evaluation Plan as ‘Rigorous’.  This creates an illusion of ‘Process Toughness’ for the readers and new comers in the field.   Again, successfully they completed both the chapters with out any pictures and with smaller text.  A process flow tabulation would have made things a lot more easier to understand than just using the text.  But, I liked the example of showing a UX Lab at Bloomberg.  In this blog post, I’ll try to make things simple by dividing the plan into individual sub tasks and making the reading a whole lot easier. (Like an Outline).

The Rigorous UX Evaluation Plan consist of two main tasks with individual smaller sub tasks.  And, they are :

a. Preparation :

1. Identify Goals of the Evaluation & Planning Things

2. Creating the Formal Plan for Evaluation

3. Organizing the Team & Allocation of Individual Tasks

4. Choosing the Evaluation Method

5. Identification & Recruitment of Participants for the Study

6. Choosing the Right Environment for conducting the Evaluation

7. Planning the Session Timing, Length & Discussion of Protocols based on the Individual Participants

b. Running the Session :

1. Completion of Initial Preliminary Activities – like the Paperwork involved in the Study.

2. Maintaining Harmony with the Participants during the Study & Keeping them at ease for mutual benefit.

3. Overseeing & Reviewing In-Session Protocols with the Team.

4. Usage of specific Data Collection Method as per plan for collecting Information.

5. Session Wrap-Up with the current participant.

Image Courtesy : http://www.partnershipsforolderadults.org/

      I found the above picture while collecting additional information about UX Evaluation Plan while ‘Googling’.  It gave me a very clear insight for creating evaluation plans in addition to the book reading this week.  I thought of sharing the same with you.  As it says, the plan depends on the project budget, time and people limitations.  It is our purpose to decide what to follow, what to avoid and what needs to be taken care of.  Hope, the blog post is useful for everyone.

Thanks. :).

Prototyping & Organizing Information

Reading Material Covered :

1. The UX Book : Chapter 11

2. Readings on BlackBoard : Information Architecture & Organising

Prototyping :         

     Everytime, when I used to see the word ‘Prototype’, I used to get reminded of the above mentioned cartoons.  I received those pictures in one of my friend’s forwarded e-mail.  Previously, in my workplace it was casual for a few to make fun of ugly interfaces like ‘I asked you for a product, not a prototype.’ :).  It is the common mindset of everyone to think of prototype as an initial, non-working ugly model of the product.

   But, after readings for today, I understood and value of prototyping and how it would be impacting the final model, design and working of the product.  I learned about Horizontal and Vertical Prototypes, Low, Medium and High-Fidelity Prototypes.  In particular, the variances and nuances of each and every varieties of Prototypes.  The UX Book has every feature of the prototypes clearly explained in those tables and charts in those chapters.  I liked the way on how they showed what kind of prototype to choose for a particular kind of project based on several factors and constraints (The people who are going to see the prototype and the details of the prototype etc.,).  (Though, my alter-ego tell that all these are not very practical in real-time projects and they are very ambitious plans unless we have dedicated units working for Prototypes. :).  )  They also closed the curtains mentioning the features of an Ambitious Prototyping Tool.

Organizing Information :

     The readings from the blog explained the way to organize information, so as to refer them easily and retrieve them.   The time that we spent on most in our Usability Report 2 assignment for the class is  organizing the answers and details from the Interview transcripts.  I wished we had every data organized neatly in a excel spreadsheet, so that I was able to sort and query on the data that I needed.  B-).

   At this point I would like to point out to some techniques that I use for real street smart data organizing.  I personally, don’t use ‘Sticky Notes’ but use ‘Microsoft Excel’ for organizing all the data either generic data, research papers or creating charts.  Excel even has the power to query and support for automation using Macros.  Recently, most people even use the concept of MindMapping for organizing Ideas – you can read what it is and a collection of Mind Mapping softwares here – MindMapping.org.

The Evolution of a Design

Reading Materials covered :

1. The UX Book – Chapters 7,8 and 9

2. About Face 3 – Chapter 7

     The week’s reading were very long and lengthy.  :(.  In my personal opinion, they could have spiced it up with more realistic examples rather than the repeating theories and the word ‘framework’.  (Visual Design, Interaction, Design and Industrial Frameworks.)  Also, in contrary, the chapters from The UX Book helped me in a great deal in making me understand all the concepts about sketching, wire framing and designing prototypes.  This is kind of similar to the process in the field in which I am going to work in future which is the Animation Industry.

   Every Animation Movie needs a Story, here it’s the Product and the Idea behind it.  The story gets brainstormed from the screen writers whereas its the User Interviews and the Persona creation by the UX Experts.  Before an Animation Movie goes into the modeling, design and the process of creation, it needs what is called the ‘Concept Art’ which evolves as the design model for the movie.  In the Interface Design, it is called Sketching & Wire framing.  That is it, so simple right :).  I can compare this evolution of the design to human evolution or progression.  I tried to compare the design evolution tin similar lines of human evolution using a small flow diagram like last week’s reflection for everyone to understand it much more easier.  I would also like to stretch on the word Incremental and Iterative because out of my work experience as a Interface Programmer, there will be incremental design and development that you should do when working real-time.

      As the book examples, were not sufficient, I tried to look up more and found thiss article on this documentation for User Interface Development.     The flow diagram below is from the same.  You can navigate to the document by clicking here.  This page clearly explains the design flow from creation of Personas, Sketching, Wireframing and Interface Development.  You don’t want to miss this article to gain more understanding of the book topics.  

Thanks. :).

Image Courtesy :

1. Human Evolution     – http://whatthehealthmag.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/a-new-theory-behind-evolution/

2. Photoshop Evolution – http://gizmodo.com/5117129/20-years-of-photoshops-interface-evolution-doesnt-show-much-evolution

3. User Sketches              – http://www.dashboardinsight.com/articles/digital-dashboards/fundamentals/excel-user-experience-designer.aspx

4. Design Flow                 – http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i213/s05/projects/thermostat/a9_writeup.php

The Flow

Reading Materials covered :

1. The UX Book – Chapters 4 and 6

2. About Face 3 – Chapters 5 and 6

     After reading the chapters for today, I clearly understood what User Personas and how they work in UX context.  I particularly liked the way how the chapters from both the book explained them.  Cooper has explained the concepts with nice illustrations but no clear real world example on how it would unlike the last week’s reading.  The UX book chapter was entirely based on process.  However, both served their purpose on defining the logic, terminologies and their context of use.  I prepared the following flow chart for serving as addendum for the readings this week.  The first flow diagram is the purpose of User Persona Creation and its use.  The second flow diagram is about Task Analysis.  Kindly, mention your thoughts and suggestions about them in the comments section.

User Persona Creation & its purpose :

Task Analysis :

Thanks. :).

Activity Reflection – User Personas for CGT Department Website

     The class activity that we had last week in our class was fun and interactive deviating from all the previous classroom styles that I have ever seen but most importantly it was fun.  I particularly liked how everyone had very serious discussions like professionals :).  I would like to start this blog post with the set of questions that my team (Eric, Jackie & Ramya) had come up in the activity and I want the readers to review those questions if they had some suggestions in the comments.

The Questions :

1. Are you a CGT Student ? If Yes, 2nd Question.  If No, the general questions for identifying the personality’s preferences.

2. What are the things that would help in accomplishing your graduation or course goals ?

3. Are you using the CGT Website ? If Yes, 4th Question. If No, the general questions for identifying the personality’s preferences.

4. How often do you use the CGT Website ?

5. What are the features and Why do you use the CGT Website ?

6. What are the features that would help more ?

7. Are you in any Special interest groups or Organizations ?

8. Where are you from ?

9. What is your favourite color ?

Image Courtesy : http://purduecco.wordpress.com/

Being the Interviewer :

– Our group specially focused not to intimidate the interviewee by continuously shooting out questions, one of us were noting down their answers, one was asking questions and the other person interacted with the interviewee.  We tried to make it more like a Informational Interview by discussing rather than asking questions continuously.

– It was fun to know about the every persona’s preference and their interests.

– I personally felt like that interviewee was affected by knowing that the discussion was going to be about. Even when we tried to ask a few general questions their answers were based on the website.

– Also, the results cannot be generalized because it comes from a very little group of representative users.

Being the Interviewed :

– Being the Interviewee, I made sure that I forgot that the interview was about the CGT website and tried to answer their questions by addressing the needs for the question.

– The wide array of questions the group that interviewed me with was entirely different from my group’s question.  They asked even what my favourite animal was.  :).  We should atleast spend 10 to 15 minutes in total for discussing the questions and how that would help on deciding the requirements for the CGT website.  I am sure everyone would have different perspectives and this would be a very good retrospective activity for knowing it.

Key improvement Areas :

– Conducting an Informational Interview / Discussion Interview rather than the panel shooting out questions.

– Keeping the questions short but at the same time being valid. This would also help in conducting User Interviews within the given time frame and budget limits.

– Focus on studying and understanding User’s Personality.

– Covering a wide range of User Personas from each ethnic group for understanding everyone’s personality.

Thanks. :).

 

 

 

Users – An Important Part of the Design Plan

Reading Material – About Face 3 (Chapter 4) & The UX Book (Chapter 3).

Images Source – Google Images

I’ll write this reading reflection answering three basic questions.  Why are chapters there ? What do those chapters suggest ? How can  we do that ? .

Why ?

     Okay, we have an idea for a product, we know what are we going to do and we have every resource and talent in our hands to complete the cycle for building a product.  But, Will it be great ?,  Will people buy it when it reaches the market ? and Will people for whom we are designing for – embrace it ? What should we do for achieving that ?  What is the process that we should follow ?

   Both the chapters from either of these books answer these questions.  From reading the topic I initially thought they were two separate chapters on two different ideas.  But, after I completed the reading both of these suggested the same – Including the customer before beginning the process of building the product.  I’ll try to give my thoughts in lay man’s terms in this post rather than dealing with it in tough ‘big’ words like the authors ;-).

What ?

     About Face 3 started by discussing the advantages and disadvantages in ‘Qualitative Research‘ methods and slowly traversed to ‘Contextual Inquiry‘ methods and The UX Book directly began on  using ‘Contextual Inquiry‘ based research methods.  Both the books suggested the same at the end – which is including the users in every part of the consultation and design phase so as to know for whom you are developing the product for.  I loved the examples from both the books – the Video Editing software and Elderly lady’s problem with the voting booth. There could be know better example other than Black & Decker’s Snake Light for illustrating how successful a product can be when it solves user problem’s even if its costlier than the other methods.  The more the usability, the more its usefulness and the more its success.

How ?   

      Context, Partnership, Interpretation & Focus.  These are important keywords for studying the Users contextually.  First, we should understand and read the mindset of the target users that we are building the product for.  We should observe the users as they do their normal activity rather than in a designated environment.  This will help us in understanding, interpreting and focusing their problems much more in detail.     There are so much factors to consider that contributed for the product design which is usable and for doing User Study.  Their Persona, Role in Business, Behavior,  Demographic Variables and their Ethnicity.

  But, I understood how these factors can build a bridge between the Users and Designers.  In turn,  these factors make the producer-consumer distinction line thinner leading to a more Usable – Useful product which in turn leads to the product success making ‘Win-Win’ situation for both.