This assessment item has been designed to allow you to acquire and use the concepts in the unit as a way to better understand your world – with an emphasis on principles of usability.
How you are assessed
Your assessment items are graded – look at the Rubrics and Marking Guide. A Credit grade, 7 out of 10, is the ‘expected’ grade – a good solid result for a university student. Some students think that 100% is normal and they have done something wrong if they don’t get it. Not so. 70% is normal. A Pass grade is satisfactory but flawed in some way, a Distinction shows strong creativity, more extensive background research or insight; and a High distinction is, well, what I would have done!
Assessment Item 1 – Usability Report – An Expert Review
Based on the tools, techniques and discussions from lectures and tutorials, you are to identify an artefact in the real world, which might not immediately be thought of as a computer but which may be seen as having some sort of intelligence. You might think about household appliances, car dashboards, ATM machines, thermostats but not smart phones, laptops, etc. There are many other examples. Be quite specific.
Conduct an expert review. Imagine that your review is going to be published in a consumer magazine aimed at people who are interested in the artefacts and might be thinking of buying one. Your review is only based on the user experience (not on issues like pricing or internal engineering).
(1) What is the artefact? Describe the purpose of the artefact, the purpose of theuser interface and how a human interacts with the artefact.
(2) Describe the typical users – are they all the same, or might there be different types of users. Use clear definitions (referenced where appropriate) to describe and differentiate your user types and explain WHY that differentiation is important. Develop at least two personas to represent your user types.
(3) Describe the setting of the interaction(s).
(4) Give some specific examples of functions – using at least one good example and one bad example for your artefact. Use one of your personas to illustrate acognitive walkthrough of these functions (e.g. why are they doing this, how do they feel about it, what do they expect to happen, what else do they want to know). For each example, explain why it is good or bad – be explicit and refer to HCI principles (with references) where possible.
(5) For the bad examples, why might it have been designed that way, and suggest a better design if possible.
(6) Complete a short heuristic evaluation of your artefact using your own observations and reference to any documentation about the artefact. Be clear about which heuristics you are using, and make sure you appropriately reference them.
(7) Imagine this artefact in the future – what enhancements can you envisage to improve the interaction with this artefact. Refer to the heuristic principles, and consider how advances in technology may facilitate these improvements. Are there any associated disadvantages or risks? Use specific examples.
Use photographs or diagrams to illustrate your points.
*Note: Do not choose a refrigerator as an artefact as we will be using this example in the tutorial
Details of deliverables
For this assignment you will prepare a report – a Word Document
Make sure that:
- You use clear headings for each part of your answer 1 to 7.
- You have researched and used principles of usability and appropriately referenced them.
- Your report is useful for its purpose and its readers.
- You have highlighted benefits and issues, and have some ideas on future advances.
- Your report is professional, well set out and not way too short or way too long.
This assignment will allow you to understand
– how to conduct a task in a professional manner – where professional means well-grounded in principles and theory, objective, constructive and repeatable; and
– what makes a ‘good’ interface and interaction.
Both these understandings are crucial in the design of interaction.
The assignment will allow to use HCI vocabulary appropriately and meaningfully.
Be careful with these requirements – read and re-read.
This assignment is an interaction, not between a human and a computer, but between you and your tutor.
The quality of that interaction results in your grade.