Monday, April 6, 2009

Reading - Sketching User Experiences: Paper Prototyping

Static vs. Dynamic
Static paper prototype: testers interact with static paper models.
Dynamic paper prototype: testers' choices affect the "next step" sketched with paper.

Why paper?
  • Design flaws are caught early, and alternatives are quick to generate and tested.
  • Get interactive faster, sooner, and cheaper.
Paper-based Technique
In a testing session, there are:
Facilitator - talks with users and walk them through the exercise
Computer - manipulates paper interface in response to users' actions
Videographer - videotapes the testing session

When is this used?
  • Quickly explore a concept
  • Informal testing or quick probes
  • Usability testing
Why videotape the session?
  • Future reference
  • Communicate ideas to those not physically presented
  • Capture user comments and subtle interactions
Wiklund's Study (1992):
  • The aesthetic quality of prototype did not bias users for or against the prototype's perceived usability.
  • Sketches are not prototypes.
  • Just because something looks like a sketch doesn't mean that it is a sketch.
Design vs. Usability Engineering
  • Design: Branching exploration and comparison
  • Usability Engineering: Iterative incremental refinement

  • The role of design is to find the best design.
  • The role of usability engineering is to help that design the best.
Process Design vs. Product Design
  • Innovation in process trumps innovation in product.
  • Sketches, prototypes, models, simulations, and demos.

Reading - From User to Character


What is a Scenario?
A scenario has a protagonist, a setting, and a goal.

What is a Story?
A story has a protagonist, a setting, and a plot.

So, a scenario is a story with a setting, a goal/plot, and a protagonist.

Traditionally, there are two story types:
Plot Driven and Character Driven.
In a plot driven story, the plot drives the development of the story. The characters are merely participants of the story. However, in a character driven story, the character is the center of the story and the plot develops around the central character.

User Scenario - Character Driven Story
  • Writer's Attitude Toward Model User
- Give insight into the user as a person not a tool.
- Focus on character development rather than action.
- Be aware of the motivation behind character's reaction.
  • Definition of a Character
- "paradigm of traits"
- Drives story development. Not a product of the plot. Not a participant.
  • Writing a Rounded Character
- Character is the central element --> see the user as a person.
- Describe in greater details:
multiple traits
physiology, psychology, sociology
inner needs and goals, motivation

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mini Project - Environment

Horribly long elevator waiting line in the building ( 2 W 13th St.) before class start times. The major cause of this problem is the inefficient use of the elevators (have each of them stops at almost every floor). This wastes time and causes long waiting line formed at the first floor.

Project Description
Purpose: Maximize the usage of limited resources.
Target Space: lobby at 2 W. 13th
Audience: people who have access to 2 W. 13th
Method: Design an environment that direct the users to designated elevators according to their destination.

Design Questions and Challenges
Best Practice - What's the best way to allocate elevators to floors?
Aesthetic - The design should not conflict with the original environment.
Flexibility - The design need to account for non-rush hour usage.

1. Existing Elevator System Models

2. Innovative Traffic Control - Technology and Practice in Europe

3. NY Subway - 7 Express v.s. 7 Local

4. Portable-deflatable Led-Matrix

5. Restaurant Logo Projection

6. Philip Color Kinetics - NECA 2008

Design Plan

Elevator Assignment

On-floor lighting instructions and traffic direction layout

Operating Hours
8:40 am - 9:00am
11:40am - 12:00pm
2:40pm - 3:00pm
5:40pm - 6:00pm

User Scenario: Off-Peak Hours

User Scenario: Peak Hours

Strength & Weakness

- Optimize Resources
- Blend in with original environment

- Implementation Cost & Technical Possiblity
- Is the proposed elevator assignment the best practice?
- Human behavior - will people cooperate?