This post will provide a detailed plan of how we plan to meet the objectives of USeD project as set out in the Aims and Objectives post. To find out exactly what the USeD project is, please read this previous blog post.
The project will be split into 4 work packages, these are listed below and described in detail in the following sections. The deliverables from each work pack are listed at the end of each section:
- Baseline Evaluation
- Technical Investigation
- Prototyping and User engagement
- Build and Deployment
The purpose of the baseline evaluation is to establish how the current download interface is used and to review pre-existing user requirements. For learnability we will concentrate on novice users to study how big a learning curve is required to get to grips with the service. Persona development will be based on engagement with (paid) sample of current service users.‘Persona’ is a hypothetical individual representing a discernible character facet of real users. It is a form of user modelling in the human-computer interaction (HCI) field. Compared to other methods (e.g. ‘stick figure’ use cases), persona is more user-centric, realistic and entails rich archetypal information: background, behaviour pattern and personal motivation. This information enables system developers, to better judge user goals and needs, and to overcome incorrect system assumptions. Personas are also very useful UI prototyping.
- Personas report
- Initial User requirements analysis (collating extant user evidence and
feedback from ongoing service operation and HelpDesk enquiries)
Based on the Personas developed in the Baseline Evaluation, the aim of the Technical Investigation is to look at technology options for delivery of the functionality required by the Personas. This should investigate what new technology could be used as part of the service and will investigate if new technology is compatible with the background architecture. This is a vital consideration as the database architecture is not being modified as part of this project. New solutions and innovations will have to conform to this existing structure and architecture.
Initial UI mockups will also be delivered as part of the technical investigation.
- A technology assessment report with reasoned recommendation on preferred service development pathways
- Initial UI redesign options
- UI feedback critique from stakeholders
Prototyping and User Engagement
It is anticipated that user engagement will be divided into two separate tasks; primary prototyping with users to tweak and refine the new design and further in-depth testing.
The initial engagement to tweak the interface will be conducted locally with students and staff from the University of Edinburgh. The in-depth testing will be conducted with a wide range of users to ensure that all persona types identified in the Baseline Evaluation are exposed to the new interface. User Engagement will focus on set of tasks that the users have to work through. This should ensure that all features of the new interface are interacted with. Tasks will include a number of generic tasks and some that are aimed directly at a particular user group or persona.
- Finalised user requirements report, refined UI and affirmation of the personas.
- Critical path to inform build and deployment
Build and Deploy
Technical implementation of agreed design signed off by UX Officer. Build through (using Agile RAD Team), iteration and debug. Integration work and final testing pre-release. Documentation revision and User Support upskilling to support new UI once in service.
- New Digimap Downloader UI tailored and adaptable to needs of well known Personas
- Relevant user documentation to support in-service utilisation
The timeline for the project is shown in the figure below. The project was a bit slow to get moving due to some staffing issues but this should not impact on the final delivery of the project.