Brenden Doms, Mike Foss, and Nate Smith

Project Proposal and Human Studies Documents

The project proposal outlined the scope of the design study and the basics of its execution.

The team prepared an information sheet for describing the project to potential interviewees before the first interview. In addition, it prepared an informed consent form and records release form which all participants signed. These ensured that all of our users were comfortable with our interview process and our procedures for handling the data garnered from the interviews.

Forms in Adobe PDF:

Personas, Goals, and Tasks

The team first revised the project proposal to include an updated team managment sturcture section and problem statement. It then developed goals and personas based on interviews of mail merge users. In addition, the team described the tasks which made up mail merge and the lexicon in which users described them. The team members' contibutions to this phase were enumerated in the work breakdown.

Scenarios and Preliminary Design

The team created four scenarios involving the personas in "missions" for which they would typically use mail merge. It also performed a comparative analysis of a few solutions currently available for doing mail merge. Next, each team member created a preliminary design concept individually, employing the personas, goals, tasks, scenarios, and comparative analysis as guides. (See Initial Design 1, Initial Design 2, and Initial Design 3.) The team chose to create design concepts individually in order to generate diverse ideas. These preliminary concepts were discussed as a group and will influence low fidelity prototypes in the next phase. The team members' contributions to this phase were enumerated in the work breakdown.

Low Fidelity Prototype

The team made a paper prototype and interviewed several users, walking through example scenarios and interactions with them. Find out about the prototype and how the interviews happened in the writeup. The results and discussion page has the reporting and interpretation of the interviews. The team members' contibutions to this phase were enumerated in the work breakdown.

First Interactive Prototype

The team dished out a fine interactive prototype, which includes instructions on how to use it and example scenarios to go through. Then the team made a written description of it in the prototype overview. After that, the team wrote about everything that happened this phase, including the interface redesign, the tools used, and the breakdown of what each team member did. Finally, we created a presentation to summarize the work we've done so far.

Second Interactive Prototype

Four of our class mates compiled a heuristic evaluation critiquing our first interactive prototype. The team then addressed all the violations of severity three and four and several violations of the other categories, either changing the prototype or justifying the current format. The new version of the prototype can downloaded here. Finally, the team members' contribution to this phase were enumerated in the work breakdown.

Usability Testing

During this phase, the team sought feedback from users. The team modified several scenarios for users to work through during interviews. Since the second prototype did not include the necessary functionality to run these scenarios, the team updated the prototype appropriately; you can download prototype 2.5 here (right-click and "Save target as..."). Instructions for getting the prototype to run are here, and this version requires that you run it in the directory that contains all the extracted files. After conducting the interviews, the team compiled its results and discussion, including possible changes to the prototype. The team members' contributions to this phase were enumerated in the work breakdown.

Third Interactive Prototype

The team reflected on everything that was done leading up to this point and presented the entire process to the class. This summarizes the problems with the current version of mail merge (in Word) and our team's proposed solution. After defining the problem, our team developed pertinent personas, goals, and scenarios. Our prototype has undergone many iterations throughout the design process, and our final prototype is decidedly more intuitive than Word's process. Download it here--don't forget to read the instructions if you haven't yet installed the proper ActiveX control. The team members' contribution to this phase were enumerated once again in the work breakdown.