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User Research Methodology Report


In this individual design deliverable, you will select and use one of the following methods:

(a) Structured Observation: observation of at least two different users, involved in performing a structured task or achieving a specific goal. 

(b) Questionnaire: a formal survey of at least five respondents, performed using an online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics. Note that while you are limited to ~10 questions by the free versions, you can make these quite complicated, to ask more than 10 questions! Supplementary materials: a printout/copy of the questionnaire + the raw data from respondents.

You must carry out each method on your own. You are encouraged (but not required) to identify a core set of tasks that each group member can observe separately, or to design a shared questionnaire for the survey, so you can pool your results to obtain a larger sample. We will discuss these methods in class and on Blackboard. Try to study people who represent potential users of your system – and try to avoid studying people who are all the same  or people who are likely to share your own characteristics or views. Think through some typical user characteristics for representative members of each user segment before selecting your research study sample: demographics, occupation, personal characteristics and capabilities (e.g. technology literacy), goals in using the website/app., etc. Discuss your sample with other group members, so you obtain a wide sample of users from various segments (types of users) across all group members. Do not just study other students! If you don’t manage to find real, representative users, studying friends, family members, or colleagues will be acceptable – but I expect a really above-and-beyond set of interviews and analysis if you do, with plenty of variety in your selection of subjects, more than two observations or more than 5 survey responses, and lots of detail!

Write a report with the following components:

(1) Introduction 

briefly explain the background and purpose of your user research.

(2) Methodology

(a) Discuss the design of your research protocol: - For observations, identify the key reasons that people would visit your site and the goals that you expect them to have. As well as setting them a predefined set of tasks/goals, ask them what they might typically want to do or achieve and observe those activities as well. Explore issues such as why people visit your site, what goals they want to achieve, what problems they experience, and what they would like the site to provide that it does not. Include the full observation protocol, including a list of questions to be asked, or arising from the observations. - For the survey, design a set of questions that explore issues such as why people visit your site, what goals they want to achieve, what problems they experience, how the site design affects their use, and what they would like the site to provide that it does not. Think this through – it is your job to design a questionnaire that explores the user needs in detail. Include the full survey protocol, explaining the reasoning behind its design (what you aimed to discover with each question).

(b) Accurately and thoroughly describe how you carried the relevant method: - Your rationale in selecting and recruiting participants; - How you performed the study and how you needed to adapt the protocol to the situation; - What surprised you about the study; - What you learned about how to perform user research studies.

(3) Interview Data & Findings

For each user observed or surveyed:

(a) Briefly describe your participants’ key characteristics (keep them anonymous!)

(b) In the main body of your report, summarize what the data collected (survey results or observation data) told you about the user’s goals, needs, preferences, and problems (etc.) with the website or app.

(c) Include the “raw data” (survey responses or observation notes) for each user in an appendix, with key insights and needs annotated or highlighted . 

(4) Analysis of Findings 

(a) Identify 3-5 distinguishing insights about each user studied;

(b) Summarize key similarities and differences between different users’ goals, needs, expectations, and problems, etc.; (c) Describe each user in terms of a type (user segment, redefined by the insights from your interviews).

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