Assignment 3 -- Implementing a Redesign
Due Monday, October 9, 2006
- To use the results from your first user study to redesign
specific parts of your stove and your prototype
- To use videotaping and coding as a new means of
gathering and analyzing data
- To practice with either between-subject testing or
- To perform comparative analysis of your redesign vs. your
- To gain more experience in researching related work, writing,
and group work
In the last project, you proposed a redesign of some of the features of
your stove based on the
results of your first usability study. In this project, you will choose
one of these features
that you identified, redesign your prototype accordingly, and run
study to test this one new feature of your design. You will work in the
that you did for the previous assignment.
What to do
While at first glance this project may appear to be asking you to do
all over again, this is actually not the case at all. Here are the
especially the differences between what you were asked to do in
Assignment 2 and
what you are being asked to do here.
- Your team should pick one aspect of your stove to redesign
and concentrate on just that one. Be as specific as possible.
Some examples of things you might choose include:
- whether your timer should be analog or digital
- whether a particular control should be a knob or a slider
- whether the feedback of a particular knob should be changed
- whether the placement of a burner should be changed with respect
to the placement of the control for that burner
Do not pick something too general. For example, choosing the "timer"
as a whole to redesign would be inappropriate if it involves
altering many things at once such as how one sets the timer,
cancels the timer, set/modifies delays, etc. In other words,
do not try
to fix the entire stove at once. Complex interfaces have facets that
interact with each other in ways you cannot foresee. If you change
many things at once, you will undoubtedly fix some problems, introduce
and still not be able to isolate the good from the bad usability
By testing one element at a time, you will be able to see how it alone
contributes to or detracts from the usability of the artifact as a
We recommend making a list of two or three possible features that you
want to redesign, and then searching for related work (see #2 below) to
design feature yields the most promising outside resources.
- Start researching related work early in the redesign process
to see if there are other possibilities
you have not yet considered. Unlike the previous project, concentrating
on just one feature of the stove will allow you to perform a more
literature search. This, hopefully, will yield publications which will
more directly to the issues you are facing. Note that you can now
perform research on the failed design from Assignment 2 too!
This may also yield fruitful insights. And don't forget about using
design heuristics for additional inspiration!
- Once your team settles on a new design, you should alter your
so that you can easily switch between the original design of your chosen
feature and the new design. (You may need to do some ungluing, poster
cutting, or other surgery to your prototype. That's ok. Low resolution
prototypes are destined for change.)
Remember, don't change the prototype more than you have to, and make it
to switch back and forth between the two designs. You may need to do
this switcheroo during subject testing.
- Design and execute a new usability study. You will probably want to
of the tasks from the first study, but only the ones that relate to your
redesigned aspect. You will want to come up with new tasks too. You
are required to videotape your subjects as they use your artifact. Try
capture both their facial expressions and their actions. As before,
all tests should be carried out in LESS, and you should test 3-4
Also as before, it is your job to determine what protocol to use
(think aloud, retrospective think aloud, etc.), whether you should use
testing or within-subject testing, what to measure, and how to
measure it. The discussions we have in class about videotaping should
give you fresh ideas about data measurement. Feel free to use
pre- and/or post-test questionnaires if you wish.
- The analysis of your data should include the coding of the
which you will turn in as part of your final report. You should also
make comparisons between the results you obtained from this study
versus the results obtained from the previous study. Are there
you can draw from such a comparison?
What to turn in
- A typed report, written by your team, based on the template that
we gave you in class.
Your paper must be between 8-10 pages: single-spaced, 2-column
the list of references.
The hard part will be keeping your paper under the 10-page limit, since
have more to say than you will have room for. That's where your skills
in research writing
will come in handy. Good organization, multiple edits, and
collaborative revising are a must.
Here are some further details:
- Your paper should include all of the sections that
we have previously discussed.
- If your team used the "book boss"
model that was described in class, someone else who has not done it
before should be
"book boss" for this project.
- You are allowed to reuse some of your paper from the previous
project for this one,
but no more than 15% may be reused (one and one-half pages for
every ten pages
of text). For example, you may have
a particularly good motivating example and related work reference as to
placed the burners in their original configuration. That is something
that is ok
to reuse. But at least 85% must be original writing.
- Even though a given section (like Related Work) may be originally
by a single team member, all members should be reading it and suggesting
In addition, for each section, at least two team members should sit down
a computer together and collaboratively revise. In your journal, you
- the sections that you originally wrote
- the sections that you collaboratively revised with someone else (and
the other person was).
- A presentation, presented by at most two (2) members of your team,
lets the rest of the class know what you learned and did. For each
team, at least one
member who did not present for Assignment 2 should present for
Each team will have
10 minutes plus 2 minutes for questions and answers. You should not
artifact to the presentation, but your presentation may include
of the artifact in use.
Each team member should continue journaling as you did for Assignment 2.
Explored and unexplored design choices, interesting methods to try,
results that struck you as unusual, and failed attempts are all fair
When all the presentations are done, you should again write a quick (1-2
page, handwritten) response to the experience. What were your
and actual outcomes of implementing your new design? How did it compare
to other groups? What are your reflections on the videotaping and
techniques that you used? Feel free to again comment on team dynamics
And don't forget to record which report sections you wrote and which
you collaboratively revised, as mentioned above.
We will collect your journals on Wed, Oct. 11.
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