Authors: Preece, Rogers & Sharp
Case Studies
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2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Chapter Index
Observing Users

Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment Comments | Teaching Materials

This question is design to encourage you to analyze the evaluation case studies in detail and to compare them. By doing so you will discover more about the underlying reasons why the designers and evaluators did what they did. You will also discover that the descriptions of what was done, how it was done and when it was done is incomplete for some case studies, and for published papers that you read. In this case you will have to speculate about the details and make suggestions about what you think happened or what could happen.
The evaluation case studies cover the whole design cycle. Some of the case studies describe very early evaluations, e.g., the one about the Indian auxillary mid-wife nurses and the HelloWall case study. Others are done late in design and often involve usability testing in controlled environments. Many of the case studies demonstrate how different evaluation methods are used together to compliment each other. The advantage of doing this is that they provide different types of data which, when analyzed, offer different perspectives on what is happening. For example, quantitative data from usability tests is often supplemented with observational data and data from user satisfaction questionnaires. You will also see that some methods are used only for examining particular parts of systems. This is because evaluating the whole system may take too long and be too costly or not necessary. If a previous evaluation has shown a particular problem, then the next evaluation may focus on that issue. This approach is often adopted when using analytical methods like those described in chapter 15.
The description of the activity suggests that you may find it useful to complete at table; alternatively you may wish to write longer descriptions. Whichever approach you adopt be sure to focus on when during the design the evaluations were performed, which methods were used, and what was learned from the evaluations?