Tag Archives: Author: Dr. V

Personas, Scenarios, Use Cases, and Task Analysis

10 Jan

Persona – a composite profile of an imaginary person which represents one user group.

Scenarios – stories of personas using the site in their normal context to accomplish their goals.

Personas and Scenarios are covered in BGW 2.

Use Cases – detailed description of a typical task a user will try to accomplish. Includes the steps the user will take and the system’s response to each step.

Task Analysis – breakdown of what it takes to accomplish a task into sub-tasks and specific steps.

Use cases and Task Analysis are covered in BGW 4.

Lecture notes: Memory and Visual Perception

10 Jan

Do make sure you review the readings as well.

Below are the slides I used in class.

Excise example: Papers2

24 Apr

One of the ways to avoid excise is to allow information entry where information is displayed. Asking the user to click a button to enter EDITING mode is excise – it makes the user work to fit the computer’s work processes.

Below is an example from citation management software Papers2 (which I love, overall), but I cannot tell you how many times I have clicked in the right bar where I can see the article’s information to try to edit the title, authors, or enter missing information (e.g. journal number, page numbers). To be able to edit that information, I HAVE to click the Edit button on the bottom right – because that’s how the software works, not because that’s how I (the user) think.

Excise example from Papers2

Review for final exam

24 Apr

The final exam will cover concepts discussed since the midterm, but also the user-centered design process in its entirety.

Screenshot 4:22:13 6:12 PM

Click the Lecture Summary tag or category name on the right to see all of Dr. V’s slides and notes from each class session.

In addition to the blog notes, you are expected to master content from your notes during class discussion and, of course, the readings.

The topics the exam will adress are:

  • Usability principles for homepage and navigation design – what are the main questions the homepage and navigation should always answer? How are these implemented?
  • Menus & controls – what are the major types of menus and controls? For example, is a checkbox a selection, imperative, entry, or display control?
  • Writing for the Web – what are some guidelines for writing for the web? What is the inverted pyramid style? Why don’t users read online?
  • Nielsen’s 10 heuristics – if I give you an example, and a list of possible heuristics it violates, can you identify the correct one?
  • Usability evaluation – usability inspection, focus groups, cognitive walkthroughs, usability testing. What are these, how are they done, what are the steps?
  • Cross-platform & mobile – what are some major issues to consider when: designing across platforms; designing for mobile? What is responsive design and how does it work?
  • TheĀ overall user-centered design process.

Please feel free to collaborate on questions & answers related to the final exam in the comments below.

Telling your portfolio’s story

23 Apr

Here is a very simple example of how you could lay out the steps you took to develop your final project.

The screen shot below is from the same website. This is a more creative way of showing the process, but it does not have enough information. However, if each image on the side were clickable and would provide more info about that step, that would work well.

I am sure you have already found other examples that can serve as inspiration – use your creativity here to communicate the content you need to in a way that works for the medium (Web).


Show & Tell: OK

21 Apr



I like to critique interfaces by referring to the usability principles they apply well or violate, but this case is so absurd, I’m SPEECHLESS.

(No, this is not a joke, though I am tempted to tag it “humor.”)


Somebody got PAID to do this?!?!

Affordances explained

19 Apr

In this brief video (under 2 min.) Donald Norman, who brought the concept of “affordances” into HCI, explains it:

Please let me know in the comments if this helps your understanding of this concept. Also let me know what other questions you have about it.