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Suggested Deliverables and Evaluation Criteria

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For this project, students are expected to produce 7 group deliverables and 4 individual deliverables.

Group Deliverables

Project proposal

Description: This one-to-two page single-spaced memo proposes an OSDDP project that fits with the level of expertise of the usability research team in doing primary research as well as their interest in a particular open source product (software application or user manual/tutorial). The proposal should include, but not be limited, to the following elements: description of the product to be tested by the student researchers, rationale underlying their choice of this particular product, qualifications of the students as usability researchers, as well as potential benefits of the project for the developers of the product, target users of the product, and the team of student researchers themselves.

Evaluation:The proposal needs to be both informative and persuasive. It should convince the instructor that what is being proposed is both worthwhile and manageable in a 6 or 7-week time frame.

Example: See page 1 of the pdf document attached in the "media" box.

Team project plan with Gantt chart

Description: The team plan should answer several important questions that the team needs to consider at early stages of the project, such as who is the typical user of the product to be tested, what are some of the characteristics of the "typical" or "average" user, what does the typical user use the product for, what methods will be used to recruit and select users, what problems the student researchers anticipate to occur before, during, and/or after the test sessions, what role(s) each team member plays and so forth. The Gantt chart is a visual way of presenting the timeline by mapping out major tasks to be completed vertically and the expected length of time it takes to complete each task horizontally.

Evaluation: The group plan should demonstrate signs of careful thinking into the whole process that the team will go through from selecting the product to be tested to submitting final draft of the usability report by thoroughly answering questions mentioned above. The Gantt chart should represent the timeline clearly and accurately.

Example: See pages 2-3 of the pdf document attached in the "media" box.

Periodic oral progress report

Description: This is an informal oral report on what the team has achieved in a particular week and what needs to be done in the following week. It's an opportunity for each team to share their work-in-progress with other teams and get feedback and suggestions.

Evaluation: The report should be informative and concise. It should update other teams on both the products/deliverables that the team has produced AND the process the team is going through.

Usability testing materials

Description: The usability testing materials package should include pre-test background survey, observational data sheet to record user reactions to and interactions with the product, and follow-up survey or interview questions.

Evaluation: While testing materials differ significantly depending on what is to be tested, well-developed testing materials packages share several things in common. They should reflect clear and well-articulated testing objectives as well as maintain a good balance between good planning and room for flexibility. They maximize both validity and reliability of the tests.

Example: See pages 14-17 of the pdf document attached in the "media" box.

Usability testing

Description: Each team should select a reasonable number of users as participants in the tests. (For a 3-person team, 6-9 users would be good enough. More than 9 may not be manageable considering the time constraints.) Each team should try to select users from a variety of backgrounds, taking into consideration such factors as gender, race, education, prior knowledge about the product, level of expertise in the product and so forth. In addition, to help enhance the reliability of test results, users should not have a previous connection with any of the team members. Each test session should last approximately 45-60 minutes.

Evaluation: The test sessions will not be evaluated on their own as quality of the tests will be reflected in the report itself, especially in the analysis, findings, and discussion sections of the report.

Usability report

Description: The report should provide adequate information on the background of the product tested, the methods used (user profiles, researcher roles, testing facility, data collection and analysis methods and procedures) as well as thorough discussion of test results (key findings and recommendations). Encourage your students to follow the CIF (Common Industry Format) guidelines developed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testing) and adapt these guidelines for their own purposes. Click here for a sample handout on the structure of a usability report based on the CIF guidelines.

Evaluation: The report should allow the readers to see not only the results of the test sessions but also the process that the usability researchers have gone through. The researchers should be able to identify patterns in the raw data they've collected by using appropriate analytic tools/frameworks and justifying their choice. They should interpret their findings in a fair manner, and the recommendations they make should match and be based on their findings.

Example: See pages 4-17 of the pdf document attached in the "media" box.

Oral presentation

Description: Each presentation should run 15-20 minutes. In addition, presenters should be prepared to answer questions from the audience. Each Q-A session lasts about 5-10 minutes. All presentations must include multimedia elements and be accompanied by a handout. Each team member will be expected to take part in the presentation.

Evaluation: Use the following categories to evaluate the oral presentations: content and organization, audience awareness, slide design and use of visuals, and delivery.

Individual Deliverables

Professional profile of skills and interests

Description: The profile should include the following information: name, major and minor, expertise/specialties (tie this to the tasks to be accomplished), products wanting to test, and contact information. The purpose of this assignment is to help students find out whom they are likely to work well with. This information can also be used later by the teams to assign specific roles to each individual member.

Evaluation: This step itself won't be graded but will be used to help form teams.

Project log

Description:It details each individual's contributions to the group project by describing what each individual has done in a particular week and the amount of time spent.

Evaluation: This step itself will not be graded, but will be used as one factor in your determination of each individual's participation grade for this project.

Project assessment

Description: This one-to-two page single-spaced reflective piece describes each individual's experience of doing primary research in the form of usability testing, analyzing data and reporting on key findings in a clear and logical manner.

Evaluation: While description of certain aspects of the project is necessary, the bulk of this document should go beyond description and should answer such questions as "what worked? what didn't work and why? what would I do differently next time, knowing what I know now?" and so forth.

Peer collaborative project evaluation document

Description: This document, accessible to the instructor only, describes each individual's contribution to the project in detail. It tells you who deserves more or less credit than others based on such descriptions. This document can be in paragraph or memo format; or you can use a form similar to the one being used by English 420 (Business Writing) instructors at Purdue.

Evaluation: This document itself won't be graded, but will be used as one factor in your determination of each individual student's participation grade for this project.