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01 Dec - 31 Dec 2009

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« Design Devlopment: Us… | Home | Prototype »

Cognitive Walkthrough

01 11 09 - 21:56

Prototype Description

The current version of the Tradmin prototype is comprised of five main components: the main control, the collaborator buddy list, the comment pane, discussion board, and private message space.  Together these components create workspace for collaborators to comment/revise work as well as hold a conversation about it.  A paper mock-up of Tradmin show these five components:


 

Main Control

Tradmin is an add-in for common word processors, such as Microsoft Word.  Once downloaded, the program lives inside of the word processor and can be activated for any document.  Once activated the paper lives in the cloud, and is shared among specified collaborators.  Tradmin is presented in a word processor as another main toolbar function.  For instance, in Word, Tradmin would be an additional tab on the toolbar ribbon.  The Tradmin ribbon or add-on window would have an “Activate” button to enable Tradmin, and a “Hide/Unhide” button to turn the Tradmin display on and off.  The activate button would be located on the far left, with the hide/unhide command its right.  Towards the bottom right of the word processor’s screen, located typically near the page tracker and word counter, is an indicator light.  This light would turn on to show that the paper is connected and living in the cloud.  If the paper was not being shared, or the program malfunctioning, this light would be off.

Collaborator Buddy List

The collaborator buddy list is where the user manages their collaborators.  The buddy list is a long horizontal bar across the very top of the paper.  It has small colored boxes for each collaborator, displaying the collaborator’s name, and the date of their last activity.  To the right of the names is an “Add Collaborator” button.  On the absolute right hand side of the pane is a “Remove Collaborator” button.  Once “Add Collaborator” is clicked, a menu drops down, and provides a name and an email address field to be filled in by the user.  These fields will auto complete based on history.  To complete this task, the “Add” button is clicked in the lower right hand corner.  Once a collaborator is added, a new colored box will appear in the buddy list to show that the collaborator has been added.  To remove a collaborator, the remove collaborator button is pressed.  A menu will drop down, displaying all of the current collaborators.  The user simple checks which collaborators to remove and clicks on “Remove” in the lower right hand corner.  The user can toggle collaborator’s comments on and off by clicking on the collaborator’s name box. 

Comment Pane

The comment pane is reserved for comments directly tied to the paper.  This pane is the full height of the word processor and is located on the left hand side of the current paper.  The pane is labeled “Comments” at the top, and when no comments are present place holder text describes “Click here to add a new comment.”  To add a comment, the user can click anywhere in this vertical pane.  Once clicked, a comment box appears, and comment reference pointer (or tail) will attach to the mouse.  Once the user clicks on a location in the paper, this tail will stick to the paper to indicate where the comment is referencing.  The user can simply type in the comment box and click “Done” when complete.   The comment box and tail will then be placed in the comment pane and color-colored, corresponding the buddy list.  All users can leave comments at all times.  They will be formatted with the correct color, and in proper order based on their references in the paper.  If a user wants to delete a comment, they simple click the “x” box in the top right corner of the comment.  The user may also respond to a comment.  The user will first click inside of a comment.  Once activated, the comment will expand completely and display an open typing field across the bottom.  The user can type in this bottom field, and click “Done” when complete.  With this response, the comment box will be the two colors of the collaborators involved and display both comments.

Discussion Board

The discussion board is another panel in the Tradmin interface that allows collaborators to post general overall comments for all collaborators.  This panel is located on the right side of the existing paper, occupying the top half of the vertical space, labeled “Discussion.”  Here, comments from all collaborators will be logged and color coded.  If a user wishes to post a comment, he/she simply types in the open field located at the bottom of the discussion board pane and clicks “Post” to the right.  The comment will appear at the bottom of the list, with the date and time stamp.  All collaborators can see all of these discussion items at all times.

Private Message Space

The private message space provides a method of private communication, from collaborator to collaborator, for the user.  This panel is located on the right hand side of the paper, directly below the discussion board.  The private message board displays a list of discussions between individual collaborators, color coded and time stamped.  To send a private message, the user clicks the “New Message” button at the bottom of the panel.  A new box will slide up from this button, to compose a new message.  First, the user must type in the “To” field the collaborators he/she would like to message.  Multiple collaborators may be chosen, and the field will auto complete with the current collaborators.  Below this to field, is a large text dialog box to type message into.  The bottom left of this box will have a check box and the option, “Copy to collaborator@email.com”.  This box can be checked if the user wishes to copy this message as an external email, as well as post it as a Tradmin private message.  Once the message is complete, the user can press the “Send” button in the lower right hand corner.  The message is sent, and a copy of the message appears at the bottom of the log in the private messaging list. 

Reentering Tradmin

The Tradmin document is saved and closed like a normal word processing document.  When the document is reopened, the Tradmin interface is turned on by default.  All new comments, posts, and messages will be emphasized so the user knows what has changed from one session to the next. 

Tasks

    In order to complete the goal of the program there are a number of tasks that the user must conduct:
  1. Getting Started- The user must be able to get to the program to begin work.
  2. Adding and removing collaborators- The program is interested in sharing work between people. This task is integral to the overall goal of the program.
  3. Handling comments (adding, reading, deleting, and responding to them)- our interface deals with the commenting part of the revisioning process. These capabilities enhance the user’s ability to revise their paper.
  4. Sending private messages to collaborators- In case the user has questions or thoughts for individuals within the project, they have the opportunity to message them instead of involving the entire group.
  5. Posting messages to the discussion-This is where the group can leave general thoughts for all individuals about the paper. It is a quick way to involve everyone in the paper.
  6. Sending email notifications- The user can copy a private message to an external email address in case individuals do not check the program frequently.
  7. Continuing the project (or re-entering)- In the revisioning process, this program is used multiple times. The user must be able to re-enter Tradmin with an understanding of what has changed since the last visit.
We see these tasks as the most important, central ideas for the project. They allow the user to achieve the overall goal of the interface. We also discovered a few tasks that we will leave out for this project, due to time constraints. We believe they are important issues, but too big to complete in the scope of this class:
  1. Any edits written directly into the paper will not be tracked or logged. There are many ways to address this need but finding a balance between technology and user values is a complex problem. Microsoft track changes is currently disabled while in a Tradmin project.
  2. Private comments and edits that only you can see- A personal user in the program might want to keep track of what they are doing privately, but Tradmin is set up to be a public space. We haven’t figured out how to balance what you can see and what you can’t because the program is supposed to be real-time.
  3. The option to send some external emails and not everybody- this one is a minor issue, but our current private message set up doesn’t allow for external emails being sent to more than one person/entire group. It’s not a big issue for the program, though we acknowledge this would need to be dealt with in order to keep users from sending emails from their web client that would remove them from Tradmin.

Our Users

Our primary users are academic researchers working in many different fields (technical and non-technical). Our users represent a variety of ages and career experience, ranging from new faculty to university deans. We anticipate that our users will have a full range of experiences working on computers, but we can assume some baseline things about all individuals. Our users do use e-mail to communicate with collaborators on their work. They are all familiar with word processors, and most use Microsoft Word. Our project is designed for use within the Word 2007 environment, which we assume most users will be familiar with by the time this product would make it to market (acknowledging that many still use Word 2003). In addition, our users have all used the basic editing features of programs like leaving comments for their collaborator to view. We know that many individuals in our user group struggle to adapt new technologies, so we have chosen a program that can exist in a space they are comfortable with.

Evaluating the tasks and actions associate with them

1)    Getting Started-

  1. Open word. Open existing file or start a new doc.
  2. Quick on Tradmin tab.
  3. Click “Enable” on ribbon.

A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes, this feature utilizes traditional word processing knowledge.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. If Tradmin is installed then the “enable” button will be available.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. Enable is the only button that’s available to the user.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
      By clicking on enable, the other menus will appear. A Connected light will illuminate in bottom task bar to indicate the paper is now connected to Tradmin.

2)    Adding Collaborators

  1. Click on Add Collaborator
  2. Drop-down menu appears. Type in name and email address to invite them to paper (Autocomplete based on history)
  3. Click add to send invitation.

A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. The main purpose of the program is to collaborate with others.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. We have a big button at the top that explicitly says “add collaborator”. The “Add” button is unavailable for clicking until both fields are filled in.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. Because the dialog is called “Add Collaborators” it should be clear that this is the correct action for sharing the project.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The name will appear in the buddy list.

3)    Removing Collaborators

  1. Click on “Remove Collaborators”
  2. The drop-down list on all the people shows up.
  3. Check the names of people you want to remove
  4. Hit “Remove Selected”
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. The user might want to remove individuals from a project if they accidentally add the wrong person or are done with a part of the project.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. It’s a big button at the top that explicitly says “remove collaborator”.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. “Remove Selected” indicates that the individuals checkmarked will be deleted.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The name will be removed from the buddy list. If the user somehow deletes the wrong person, they can “add collaborator” again and the person will be re-invited with the edits appearing again.

4)    Add a comment

  1. Click on the comment region
  2. Then type in the comment box that appears.
  3. Click on the location of the paper that you are referencing.
  4. Click off box to finish.

 
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. Adding comments is a key part of the revisioning process.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     If the panel is empty then there’s an instruction comment with placeholder text. If there are comments in the panel you know that you can do it. 
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. A comment box appears in the comments pane upong clicking.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The tail shows up to link the comment to the paper. The cursor blinks in the comment box.

5)    Responding to a comment

  1. Click on existing comment
  2. Then type in the field that appears at the bottom of the expanded box.
  3. Click “Done”

 
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. To respond to a comment, the natural thing is to click on it.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     If you don’t click on the comment, you might not see the ability to comment to it. However, once a comment is activated, the field appears, making it clear that it’s an option.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. The text field appears and it’s the only option available.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The users comment will appear directly below the comment responded to.

6)    Reading and Deleting comments

  1. Scroll through paper to read comments connected to paper.
  2. Click on comments to expand text.
  3. Hit the “X” to remove a comment from the paper

 
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     It’s natural for users to read and delete comments.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
    Yes. The delete “x” in the corner is standard. We are following standard word processor protocols.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
    Yes. The “X” is standard for deletion as is the ability to click on the textbox to deal with it (changing focus of the screen).
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The comments disappear once deleted. Once clicked the comment expands/highlights to show all text and options.
***Maybe this feature should be changed to be standard word. I don’t want to click off a text box and lose the expansion.

7)    Post messages to discussion

  1. Type in the discussion field
  2. Hit “Enter” on keyboard.

 
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?

    Most likely. There is a concern about confusion between discussion and private messages.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. The field has placeholder text to indicate type-ability. Once clicked, it will be a blinking cursor field.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. The field appears directly beneath the string of messages from others so its logical that the user’s thought would be appended to it.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The message will appear in the discussion pane.

8)    Send private messages to collaborators

  1. Click on the “new message” button.
  2. Type in collaborators name in To line (auto-complete gives name of person in project)
  3. Type message.
  4. Can choose to copy to recipients email
  5. Hit “Send”

A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. Follows typical messaging client.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. The Private Message region is clearly labeled and located on the message/discussion side of the pane. The “New Message” button makes it obvious that you’re doing that task.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. The “to-line” shows that you’re restricting who you’re talking to. The functionality of emailing out of the program might not be obvious the first time because it’s within the message box.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The message is posted within the users “private messages” list, so that when it is sent you can see it.   

9)    Send an external email notification

  1. Click on the “new message” button.
  2. Type in collaborators name in To line (auto-complete gives name of person in project)
  3. Type message.
  4. Check box to send to recipients email
  5. Hit “Send”
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Most likely. There’s a chance that if they don’t know the option is there (i.e. have never used the private message function before) they might skip trying within the program and use their external email client.   However, if they use that part of the program at all, they will have seen it.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     They might not. See above.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. The check box to email to the given recipient’s email (automatically shown) is obvious.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     It’s visually apparent the user sent the message. If you click on the message then you would see if you chose to email externally. There’s no immediate feedback.   

10)    Continuing the project.

  1. Open word processor
  2. Open file
  3. Scroll paper to see what’s changed
  4. Check unread messages in discussion
  5. Check unread private messages
  6. Begin typing and working on project.
A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Yes. We are following standard word processing actions.
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. To access paper you need to open the file. Typically the user reads over the paper to see what’s changed.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. Opening the paper will bring you to the program.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. It’s clear Tradmin is open and on because the interface appears. You know what’s changed because it’s highlighted or in bold.

11)    Hiding tradmin

  1. Click “Tradmin” hide/show button

A.    Will the users be trying to produce whatever effect the action has?
     Not necessarily. You might not know that hiding tradmin just removes the frames from the screen (but it’s still a tradmin project).
B.    Will users be able to notice that the correct action is available?
     Yes. If you want to hide tradmin, this button is on the ribbon.
C.    Once users find the correct action at the interface, will they know that it is the right one for the effect they are trying to produce?
     Yes. If you want to remove frames from the screen, you’d want to hide it.
D.    After the action is taken, will users understand the feedback they get?
     Yes. The frames disappear from view.