Product Evaluation in Computing
For this project you will evaluate an existing phone or computer application and develop a set of recommendations for improvement — much like a user experience researcher would do to incrementally improve a product or service.
While this project will focus on user experience evaluation, the video below provides a broader overview of user experience design, including the research and evaluation components of the domain. This will provide a good context to think about the skills needed for this project.
Below are two common ways to consider documenting a task analysis. One is tabular and the other is a diagram. No matter which method you choose it is important to capture the details of each step a person takes in completing the task. It is a good idea to go through each step and generate notes on any important features or potential problems along the way.
Below is a great checklist to use when evaluating the usability of a product or service.
- Functionally Correct - Does the product simply do what it should?
- Efficient - Can tasks be completed in a timely manner that is appropriate for the context?
- Easy to Learn - Can a new user understand how to use it?
- Easy to Remember - Can a returning user quickly recall how everything works?
- Error Tolerant - Does the design keep people from making errors or at least allow them to fix errors?
- Subjectively Pleasing - Is the interaction engaging and provide a positive experience?
- Conduct a task analysis of an existing computer/phone product
- Complete a systematic review of the product's usability
- Develop a set of recommended improvements for the product
- Synthesize a report or presentation to share their findings and recommendations.
- Choose a computer application (mobile or desktop) that you will evaluate for a couple tasks. Find an application that has two tasks, each requiring at least three steps.
- Document a detailed step-by-step description of the tasks in a table or diagram format.
- Capture screenshot images for each step.
- Review each step in your analysis and record notes on any important features or potential problems along the way.
- Go through each item in the usability checklist and note any room for improvement with the tasks.
- Based on your evaluation generate a list of improvements to consider, no matter how small or large.
- Review your improvement list and identify the top two changes that would provide the most benefit. Consider the effort needed to make the change as well.
Generate a presentation that summarizes your evaluation and the recommended improvements. Include the following elements in your report.
- Title of Project and Contributors
- Description of the application evaluated
- Screenshots of the application
- The table or diagram of the task analysis
- A description (text, annotated images, or sketches) of the proposed improvements to be made.
- A prompt for the audience to provide feedback on your report.