Homework 4: Implementation in Visual Basic

For 05-863/08-763/46-863: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction for Technology Executives (Fall, 2008)

Homework 4: Start: Tues, Nov 18, 2008, Finish: Tues, Nov 25, 2008

Using the design that resulted from all your testing and revisions from Homework 3, you are now going to implement the interface in Visual Basic .NET, and then run a user test of that implementation. You can either use Visual Basic .Net 2005 or Visual Basic .Net 2008. The 2008 version is available for free download from here: http://www.microsoft.com/express/vb/Default.aspx (Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition).  See also the Resources for Visual Basic that we prepared.

PART A: The first part of this assignment is to implement your interface. You should implement at least enough that all your user tasks can be completed, with sufficient feedback so the users can see what the system's responses are. You should simulate actions of your device. For example, if you were doing a copier, when the user clicks "Start" you might display a dialog box that says everything about the current operation, for example: "now copying, 2-sided, no staples, using paper tray #1". If there are parts of your user interface you do not implement, there should still be controls (buttons, sliders, etc.) that would lead to those parts of the interface, but instead lead to dialog boxes that say "not implemented yet" or something. That is, all of the screens you show should look complete, even if all the operations do not necessarily function.

  1. The deliverable for PART A is the complete implementation before your user test. Just zip up your entire directory structure including project files, etc. Name your file: HCI-HW4a-lastname-firstname.zip, for example: HCI-HW4a-myers-brad.zip. Put this file on blackboard.

PART B: Perform a user study of the prototype you created in PART A. You should put your implementation in front of at least one and preferably more than one user. This should be a different user than you used for your other homeworks, and this person should also be a novice at your appliance.

As before, you might want to videotape your sessions. However, since this user study is done entirely on a computer, you can use screen capture software instead. Microsoft supplies a nice free one, called "Windows Media Encoder 9 Series": http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx or direct to the download site. It will also record what the user says by using your computer's microphone (like if you have a laptop with a built-in microphone).

  1. The first deliverable for PART B is the script that you use to direct the users on what to do. If it is the same as previous assignments, please mention this, but go ahead and include it again, so we have everything in one place, and
  2. The second deliverable for PART B is a set of at least five (5) User Action Reports (UARs) describing the results of the user test or tests. You can find the UAR Templates here (it is the same template as last assignment). These will be turned in using hardcopy, like usual.

PART C: Next, you will modify your implementation to try to fix the problems you observed in your user study. The fixes should correspond to what you write in the "Possible solution" section of your UARs.

  1. The deliverables for PART C is your new implementation. Again, just make a zip of this version. Name your file: HCI-HW4b-lastname-firstname.zip, for example: HCI-HW4b-myers-brad.zip. Put this file on blackboard.
  2. Also turn in a summary of what you changed. This should be a short description. Be sure to reference the appropriate UARs to motivate your changes. This will be turned in using hardcopy.

Important Notes: