Tuesday 10-14-2003 at 10pm.
The goal of this project
is to learn how to conduct an analysis of a system, to construct improved
usage scenarios, and to draw design sketches for the re-design of an existing
user interface. The project was adapted from an assignment by James
system design is not an academic process where some cookbook formula can
be applied. Nor is it an intuitive process where a programmer can sit in
their office and think they know what the user and their tasks are. Rather,
it is a hands-on process that requires you to go out and identify actual
users, talk to them about what tasks they are trying to do, and understand
the entire context of their work. You then base your designs on this information.
Because your initial designs will be crude and problem-prone, you will
have to identify potential usability problems by continually evaluating
your design and by crafting new designs. This is called iterative design."
Your job will be to identify
current usability (i.e., effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction)
problems of a system and to suggest a re-design. The systems listed below
aim to facilitate the efficient access, management, and processing of emails.
In order to simulate the normal,
interdisciplinary mixture of HCI teams, please form four groups of 4 students
and sign up for one of the above listed systems during lab 4.
Webmail at IU (https://webmail.iu.edu)
Li, Ryan, Sang, Masako)
Evolution (Unix) (http://www.ximian.com/products/evolution/)
Dorrie, Stephanie, Kelsey)
Mail program that comes with
Mac OS X (Junior, Jocelyn, Joe)
How to proceed?
Read about Hierarchical
Task Analysis & HTA Diagram in [Dix et. al, 1998], pp. 262-268.
Analysis of the Existing
Analyze the existing system
- read about it, examine it, describe the existing functionality.
Define your main user group
- students, faculty and/or staff at IU.
Watch members of your user group
using the system. What goals do they have? Understand the basic tasks that
are currently supported and which ones are missing. Keep in mind that the
interface should be very efficient and highly usable.
Decide about a set of 5-10 tasks
that should be definitely supported by the redesigned system.
Ask 2-3 subjects to perform
these tasks with the current system. Observe how subjects solve these tasks.
Interview at least three subjects
about what they would like in a new version of the system and how they
would like it to work. Try to identify subjects with different needs and
preferences (according to technical background, age, undergraduate/graduate,
Based on your interviews, decide
which tasks are most important. Make notes which tasks you decided to drop
Make a table showing user types,
final set of tasks, and guesses about relative frequencies of tasks.
Draw an Hierarchical Task
Analysis diagram for one task, which the new system will support more
Given your analysis of the
supported existing and new tasks, explain how the system will work. This
should consist of either
You should also provide rough
sketches showing at least three of the important screens. Label the sketches
clearly to describe all their elements. We suggest that you get feedback
on your design from your target user group before you finalize your solution.
A textual description or
A flow chart (or both) showing
the sequences of steps that will be allowed in the system.
be afraid to propose a complete redesign of the current system. This might
be the best solution! At this point, you don't need to worry about
who will implement this system. Don't let the current interface restrict
your interface design!
Select three tasks (1 easy,
1 moderate, and 1 difficult) and walk through how one would solve them
using your new user interface.
The project result should
be written up as a web page that prints on no more than five pages
excluding the sketches. In fact, I will stop reading after five pages and
look for sketches only.
Make sure you include the
Description of the current system
- functionality, user group, tasks that are supported.
A concise statement of the interface
problem you are tackling and a brief synopsis of your proposed solution
A characterization of your target
A description of the 5-10 tasks
the new system should definitely support.
Analysis of how users perform
these tasks with the current interface.
A short description of who you
interviewed and the main points they said.
Description of which - if any
- tasks you dropped and why.
Table showing user types, final
set of tasks, and guesses about relative frequencies of tasks.
An Hierarchical Task Analysis
diagram for one task that the new system will support more effectively.
Statement of "Who did what"
a la Task Analysis done by ... UI design by....., etc.
Open your final web page in
IE, make sure everything is in place and it prints on 5 pages (excluding
Handin your web page via the
project handin web page at http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~katy/handin/L542-F03/cgi/handinlogin.cgi
Functionality (i.e., what can
you do with it).
Rough sketches of user interface
& description on how to use it.
Three scenarios (1 easy,
1 moderate, and 1 difficult) of example task walkthroughs.
Your project will be graded
out of 20 points and the points will be awarded as shown:
Outline Items 
of User & Task Analysis 
of Design Ideas 
of Scenarios & Sketches 
This is a group assignment,
so please work as a group. Try to find the strength of each team member
and distribute and organize team work so that you maximize the result.
Send mail to email@example.com
with questions or comments about this web site.
Wed Sept 25, 2003