The User-centred Iterative Design Of Collaborative Writing Software [chapter]

Ronald M. Baecker, Dimitrios Nastos, Ilona R. Posner, Kelly L. Mawby
1995 Readings in Human–Computer Interaction  
Mui Keng Terrace, Kent Ridge, Singapore 119597. Our group carries out research on collaborative multimedia. We design, build, and test prototype software to aid people in working together on tasks such as writing, making movies, using the Internet, and managing information. We continually face the question: How do we study real users working with real software to perform real tasks in real work contexts over real time frames? Evaluation methodologies from human-computer interaction and human
more » ... tors (reviewed in Chapter 2 of Baecker et al., 1995) provide only modest assistance with this question. Usability testing (Nielsen, 1994) tends to be carried on in a laboratory on relatively prescribed tasks of limited duration. Usability inspection (Nielsen and Mack, 1994) makes use of the judgments of experts who typically examine the interface for relatively brief periods of time out of a real work context. Contextual inquiry (Holtzblatt and Jones, 1993) stresses real users in a real work context, but tends to focus on employing insights about work process into the design process. None of these methodologies address our needs. Ideally, in order to gather the most information about real system usage, we would be: • omnipresent • remembering and able to reconstruct everything we see and hear including precise details about user actions and system responses • so unobtrusive that we had no effect on the phenomenon we are trying to observe. This is impossible; the question is how best to approximate this at a reasonable cost and with minimal interference to the work going on. This paper first reviews some case studies in which we have tackled this problem over the past few years. We provide brief descriptions of the study details, data collected, analyses performed, and the problems encountered. The paper concludes with a summary of recommendations derived from our studies.
doi:10.1016/b978-0-08-051574-8.50080-7 fatcat:3z3iwfr6d5f2ngscrq2dybdbim