Project 2: Part 5 – Interviews and Observations

Perhaps the most effective technique for gathering qualitative data combines interviewing and observation, allowing the designers to ask clarifying questions and direct inquires about situations and behaviours they observe in real time, Cooper A, Rerimann R and Cronin D. (2007). About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Wiley Publishing, Inc. Ethnographic interviews take the spirit of Ethnography research and apply it on a micro level. Rather then trying to understand behaviours and social rituals of an entire culture, the goal is to understand the behaviours and rituals of people interacting with individual products. Cooper A, Rerimann R., Cronin D. 2007.

Formulating a statement of the projects goals helped to keep the line of questioning focused on the users interaction with the system. The goals were to enhance the users experience on by simplifying the procedures for booking, timetable access, data entry and ticket management.

The team gave feedback on Slack on the creation of the script questioning. A number of sources on the formation and development of the script were used, such as from Krugs’ Rocket Surgery Made Easy and 5 Steps to Create Good User Interview Questions,

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Since we needed to capture a range of user behaviour regarding the usage of the product, it was critical that we identified an appropriately diverse sample of users and user types, Cooper A, Rerimann R., Cronin D. 2007. Based on the data gathered from the survey we were able to identify the characteristics and usage traits of a typical GoBus user. This informed us of the target audience on who to conduct the interviews on.

There were 5 interviews done in total with John, Ann, Donal, Ronan and Derek. Problem discoverability (here, p) is the likelihood that at least one participant will encounter the problem during usability testing. Nielsen and Landauer (1993; see also Nielsen, 2012) found on average p=0.31 for the set of projects studied. Based on that, 5 users would be expected to find 85% of the usability problems available for discovery in that test iteration. Similarly, Virzi (1992) created a model based on other usability projects, finding p between 0.32 and 0.42. Therefore, 80% of the usability problems in a test could be detected with 4 or 5 participants.

Each team member was to be a facilitator on at least one interview/observation, I did mine with Derek who was an occasional GoBus user and fitted with the typical user archetype in all but age as he was 42. The important thing to keep in mind when doing the interview was to get the user to externalise their thought process. To hear what they’re thinking so that we can understand what’s confusing and troubling them. Trying not to influence them, to remain as neutral as possible and see if they can figure out any issues for themselves, Steve Krug, 2010.



The script had 3 main parts:
Section 1 – Personal Profile which had straight forward questions, mainly close-ended, on personality, technological ability and internet usage.
Section 2 – was on an Overview of the site with descriptive questioning  and concentrated on the users goals such as their main reasons for being on, their impressions of the site and what they thought of the interface.
Section 3 – was more detail focused and concentrated on particular tasks for the user to perform, how they felt while performing the task and suggestions on how it could be improved.

The next step in the project was to analyse the qualitative data gathered so that we could determine behavioural patterns and create the persona.


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