Handout 6: 2/8/01
Computer-Human Interaction--CPSC 436/500--Assignment 2
Topic selection: Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Written report due: Tuesday, March 6, 2001
In-class presentations: Thursday, February 22, 2001 and Tuesday, February 27, 2001

The goal of this assignment is to describe and analyze a user interface. The project is to be carried out in a group of two students. The project has two "deliverables"--a brief oral presentation, in class, of about 10 minutes duration and a written report, which probably will be around 2000 words or longer. Both reports should present both aspects of the project--interface description and interface analysis.

The user interface should be an instance of one of the topic categories below, or you can come up with your own topic category. If you come up with your own, it should not overlap any of the example topic categories. You should, of course, pick a topic category that you can gain access to information about! Being able to gain access to the interface itself, as well as prior familiarity with examples of the interface. may also be helpful. Each group will select a different topic category. We'll take some time in class to coordinate selections.

Your report should describe the interface, considering at least the following elements: goal of interface; expected users and their characteristics; any special environmental considerations; required hardware environment including specialized input/output devices; functions provided. Analyze the interface, considering at least the following considerations: successfulness in achieving goal; successfulness in usability for intended user population/environment (including characteristics that indicate adaptation for use situation); consistency (or inconsistency) of interface; novel features; elements requiring improvement and assessment of how to go about achieving improvement. If possible, also indicate if there are competitors to this product and if so briefly indicate what they are.

Donald Norman gives an version of the key concepts for designing for usability that is expanded from those given in the text. Thinking about these issues might help you to focus on your evaluation. The key concepts are:

Before the presentation dates, we will have a random drawing of numbers to determine the order of choice for topic categories. The ordering established then also will be used in choosing class presentation times.

Here are the example topic categories: