Homework # 2: Contextual Inquiry
Start: Wednesday, July 3
Hand in: Friday, July 12
Counts for 15% of final grade.
In this assignment, you will practice using the Contextual Inquiry and Design
techniques. Unfortunately, we won't be able to do a "real" contextual
inquiry of someone performing a real task. As a stand-in, you will perform a
contextual inquiry of one of your classmates performing a task that is similar
to ones for your project.
- Arrange to interview one person from the class or not, but who is not
in your group, in their own context (e.g., home, work, car) as they perform
a task that is related to what your eCommerce site will be for. You
are going to interview them about activities they do in connection with your
website/business. The interview should be 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Example: Find
out how people buy clothing from paper catalogues—what’s important to
them, and what they do.
For this, you might sit with a homeowner, in her home, as she peruses
her catalogues, noting which ones she keeps, where she stores them, how she
reads them, and follow through on the actual order process, noting all tasks
such as keeping notes or marking up the catalogue, process of ordering
(phone, email, postal, etc.), payment, shipping, handling returns, etc. You
would also go with the shopper to look at her closet, to ask her about which
clothing she buys from catalogues and which she buys from stores, and why
she chooses each method.
- Everyone in your group should attend the interview. If possible, one
person should record the session using a videocamera and/or tape recorder.
All members should take notes. You should turn in detailed notes, or even
better, a transcript. Important : number the lines on your written
observations and notes, so you can refer to your data by line number in your
discussion and models.
- As a group, discuss the results of your interviews, and create models of what
you learned (see below). As you model, be sure to link ideas in the models with
the data from your notes by citing line numbers.
- Brainstorm ideas for your site with your group, building on data and models.
- Write up a 1 to 2-page report of your contextual interviews and design
exercise. Who were the people you interviewed? What was your focus? What
questions did you pursue? How did the interviews go? What did you learn? Did you
revise your ideas of the users' goals or would you now re-write your user
scenario? Did you get ideas for making your site useful to users? (You may list
design ideas, functionality ideas, content or application ideas, if any.)
- Attach to your report, for each user, your notes, a flow model, cultural
model, and (rough) sequence model. (These models will be explained in Lecture
4). Include physical or artifact models only if
relevant. These can be sketched on paper, and do NOT need to be neat. Please
give us copies rather than the originals. Your models must cite your data using
line numbers, times or other indicators.
Check list of what to turn in:
- Numbered notes or transcript created above (#2)
- Report created for #5
- Models created for #6
Please turn in a hardcopy printout of the report, and email a copy to the TA.
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