Fall 2003
Human Computer Interaction
Katy Börner
Project 3
(User and Task Analysis, Interface Sketches & Scenarios )
Handout 3
Sept 25, 2003

Due 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 A. Landay.

"User centered 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." [Saul Greenberg]
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.

How to proceed?
Read about Hierarchical Task Analysis & HTA Diagram in [Dix et. al, 1998], pp. 262-268.

Analysis of the Existing System:

User Analysis: Task Analysis: Interface Sketch:
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.

Don't 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!

Scenario Development:
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 following:

  1. Description of the current system - functionality, user group, tasks that are supported.
  2. A concise statement of the interface problem you are tackling and a brief synopsis of your proposed solution (one paragraph).
  3. A characterization of your target user group.
  4. A description of the 5-10 tasks the new system should definitely support.
  5. Analysis of how users perform these tasks with the current interface.
  6. A short description of who you interviewed and the main points they said.
  7. Description of which - if any - tasks you dropped and why.
  8. Table showing user types, final set of tasks, and guesses about relative frequencies of tasks.
  9. An Hierarchical Task Analysis diagram for one task that the new system will support more effectively.
  10. Suggested solution
  11. Statement of "Who did what" a la Task Analysis done by ... UI design by....., etc.
  12. Open your final web page in IE, make sure everything is in place and it prints on 5 pages (excluding the sketches).
Handin your web page via the project handin web page at http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~katy/handin/L542-F03/cgi/handinlogin.cgi

Your project will be graded out of 20 points and the points will be awarded as shown:

    1. Required Outline Items [5]
    2. Quality of User & Task Analysis [4]
    3. Creativity of Design Ideas [4]
    4. Quality of Scenarios & Sketches [4]
    5. Writing [3]

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 katy@indiana.edu  with questions or comments about this web site.
Wed Sept 25, 2003