Report 1: Understanding the Problem
October 5, 2009
The key goal of this first substantive part of the project is to deeply understand that problem that you are addressing, its set of pertinent users, and the issues and constraints that are involved in the problem. If the task has an existing system/interface, you should perform an interpretive evaluation of that system to help you learn more about it. Most important is identify important characteristics of the problem that will influence your subsequent design.
In class we will discuss different techniques for acquiring this kind of information. Feel free to utilize the techniques that you feel are most appropriate to the particular task you are examining. Your report and deliverable for this part should deeply examine the problem of study. Who are the potential users? What tasks do they seek to perform? What functionality should the system provide? Basically, you are setting up a set of constraints for your subsequent design. What criteria should be used to judge if your design is a success or not?
More specifically, you should develop the following items in this part, and you should communicate them through your report:
- An overview of what they system will do and why it's needed.
- A description of the important characteristics of the users of the system.
- A description of the important characteristics of the tasks performed by users.
- A description of important characteristics of the task environment.
- A simple task analysis of the problem.
- An interpretive evaluation (eg., heuristic evaluation, walkthrough, etc.) of the existing system/interface, if one exists.
- A description and justification of how the above information was gathered.