A user study protocol is essential for organizing a research team and the study design. Use the template below as a starting point. Also read the Beyer & Holtzblatt Contextual Design reading and review the blog post notes on method tips.
On Tuesday in class, Irene and I will work with each of the groups on the user study planning and protocol draft.
User Study Planning Template
List the questions you want to be able to answer after this study.
(e.g. Motivations, goals, tools used, workflows, challenges, portfolio practices and processes)
How do you want to use the findings from your study? What part of the design problem will this study provide insights and perspectives on?
What design research technique or methods will best address your questions? Which will be the most time effective, and generate the needed level of detail?
Describe the participants you are intending to recruit, your rationale, and how you will sample. Who will lead the interactions with the participant? Who will take notes and record the data on your team (min. 2)? What questions will you ask and what prompts will you use? Will you have the user review their current portfolio, recount and show a specific past project and documentation process, or speak prospectively about a current project plans to document going forward?
Where will you conduct the study? What is the availability of team members and your participants? Who will do the recruiting and scheduling, and prepare an email introduction and request. Arrange for data recording equipment (audio, video, still camera, software apps (e.g. screen-capture), note –taking pads, observation sheet.
Leave time to pilot the protocol with a friend or each other, revise as needed.
Data Analysis & Reporting
List the data analysis techniques you plan to use for each type of data collected during your study. Give plans for presenting the data, be as creative and visual as possible.
Develop User Study Protocol
A user studies protocol should given enough detail that someone could repeat your study.
Section 1: Study Purpose
Include problem/issues statement, the objective of the study, and how it intends to shed light on the problem identified.
Section 2: Study Design:
How will you conduct this study? Summarize the study methods and data collection techniques used. If using a published method, cite it. In the appendix, add sample instruments (e.g. interview questions, survey form drafts, photos of tool kits, probes). A Materials Needed Checklist can be useful
Section 3: Analysis Plan
How will the raw data be prepared and processed for analysis? What techniques will you use to make sense of the data? A well-conducted contextual inquiry can yield immense amounts of data for analysis. Technique for analyzing and presenting this data can be broken down into variety methods and techniques of varying complexity and depth. Simple methods such posting photographs of user work environments, user profiles with brief narratives about users and their work, or simple lists of insights and issues can provide design teams with valuable direction.
More complex design issues require more in-depth analysis techniques such as affinity diagramming, user-task matrices, flowcharts, scenarios, or coding discourse, task and artifacts. Each of these methods addresses a different question or aspect of the design.
For example, a team may organize several rounds of affinity clustering: first to identify noteworthy statements and observations or single out outliers; conduct a second round of clustering to find related statements and observations, or identify by thematic correspondences, or organize by chronology or in hierarchical associations; and then finally complete a third round to distill the grouped particulars into general observations with implications for design. Determine best the portfolio practices model to represent your findings, or develop a new one. Look online
The Beyer & Hotzblatt reading outlines five work modeling approaches which can be adapted for a portfolio process: