Designing for system utility and conceptual fit

Speaker:  Ann Blandford – London, United Kingdom
Topic(s):  Human Computer Interaction


People using computer systems are required to work with the concepts implemented by system developers. If there is a poor fit between system concepts and users pre-existing conceptualisation of domain and task, this places a high workload on the user as they translate between their own conceptualisation and that imposed by the system. Most established user-centred evaluation methods (UEMs) focus on usability rather than utility or conceptual fit. Few UEMs encourage the analyst to step back and consider how well a system supports users conceptual understandings and system utility. The focus of this talk is on how to identify users conceptualisations of a domain ideally, prior to system implementation. If a system already exists then it can be evaluated for how well it supports the way(s) people think. For this, it is necessary to gather verbal data from people that allows them to articulate their conceptual models in ways that are not overly constrained by existing devices but allows them to articulate taken-for-granted knowledge. Possible approaches include semi-structured interviews, contextual inquiry interviews and think-aloud protocols. I discuss how to design a study, covering choosing between different kinds of study, planning of questions and tasks, data gathering, and data analysis. I show how this approach can help identify re-design possibilities to improve system utility. This talk can be extended to an interactive half-day workshop.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  35
Duration:  60 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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