IAT432 – Usability Studies for Collaborative Systems – Activity


Your goal is to plan a design evaluation of a collaborative system where you can study how multiple people use the system. You will be assigned one of the four areas of the Groupware Time/Space Matrix:

a) Same place, same time: face-to-face interactions

b) Same place, different time: continuous task

c) Different place, same time: remote interactions

d) Different place, different time: communication and coordination


Next, carry out the following steps for your designated groupware area where you will come up with a design evaluation plan. You should work in a small group.

1) Motivation: Decide on a system that would be interesting to study. Answer the question: why is it important to study the design of this system?

2) Goals: Decide on what you want to achieve with the study. Generate one or more focal questions for your study. Try to include at least one question that focuses on usability, and at least one question that focuses on a redesign.

E.g., where do users face usability challenges when sending messages to others on Facebook? how should the Facebook messaging user interface be improved?

3) Study Method: Decide on the method you would use to study the system and situation you are interested in. Include details on:

Participants: Who would you include and why? Who would exclude? How would you recruit participants?
Questionnaires: Would you use any? Give a few sample questions.

Tasks: What would participants do and why? Come up with at least 2 different tasks. How would you structure the tasks given the challenges posed by your type of groupware system?

Data Collection: How would you collect data (e.g., observations, interviews)? How would you structure the data collection given the challenges posed by your type of groupware system?

Data Analysis: How would you analyze your data?

4) Post-Study: What would you do after the study gave you the results?

After you are complete, you will present and discuss your ideas with the larger class.