Project, Part 1

Report due Sat, Mar 3rd in Canvas at 11:59pm

Part 1 Report Rubric: 85 possible points

Points modified if your group wasn't instructed to make all 5 models

  • Required sections included: 12
  • Work models - required models included, correct: 15
  • Evidence of grounded, observed data: 15
  • In-depth user understanding: 13
  • Clear communication: 30

Checkpoint 1: At least 1 interview must be completed. Submit to Canvas at least 1 of each work model by Sat, Feb 10, 11:59pm. Feedback will be returned to your group by Wed, Feb 14.

Checkpoint 2: At least 3 interviews and the work models and affinity must be completed by Sat, Feb 17. Show the instructors your models for all 3 interviews on Mon, Tues, or Wed for credit or submit all models as a pdf by the deadline.

Checkpoint 3: ALL interviews and interpretation sessions resulting in the 5 different work models for each user must be completed. Submit to Canvas either the final interviews' work models or the consolidated models (including your affinity diagram) by Sat, Feb 24, 11:59. Feedback will be returned to your group by Thurs, Mar 1. See the instructor if your final interviews are late in the week - you MUST have finished consolidaton in order to finish your Part 1 Report

In-Class presentations: 15 possible points Feb 21st, Feb 26th and Feb 28th
See Presentation requirements for Part 1 for more details, IN ADDITION to the specifications listed below.
Class Presentation Slides (in order of appearance):

    Wednesday, Feb 21
  1. Gecko
  2. The Funky Bunch
  3. Monday, Feb 26
  4. Bachmanity
  5. The All American Regex
  6. The Designer Brand
  7. //TODO
  8. HCIce Ice Baby
  9. Wednesday, Feb 28
  10. Team Name Pending
  11. 404 Team Name Not Found
  12. Capri-Sun Microsystems
  13. 4 and a Half Men
  14. Diversity
Peer Evaluations for Part 1: Due Fri Mar 9 in Canvas.
Links to reports that will be assigned to students for peer review will be listed here. The numbers in this list correspond to the number of the report you will be assigned.
  1. //TODO
  2. 4 and a Half Men
  3. 404 Team Name Not Found
  4. Bachmanity
  5. Capri-Sun Microsystems
  6. Diversity
  7. Gecko
  8. HCIce Ice Baby
  9. Team Name Pending
  10. The All American Regex
  11. The Designer Brand
  12. The Funky Bunch


The goals of this phase of the project are to provide you with experience:

  • Interviewing and observing users.
  • Identifying users' needs, characteristics, skills, and culture of practice.
  • Identifying cultural, physical, and practical constraints within which a system must operate.
  • Identifying key work practices and support tools/procedures.
  • Summarizing your findings in ways that can be easily:
    • Communicated to others.
    • Fed into the design process.


In this project phase, your goal is to learn as much as you can about your target users. You need to learn:

  • Your users' goals. What do they need to do and why? What is their motivation? What are their needs?
  • What tasks they perform, the sequence of steps they employ to complete their tasks, and why they perform those tasks.
  • How they perform their work: The tools and strategies that help them get work done.
  • How their work integrates with others.
  • How their culture of practice impacts how they can, or cannot, accomplish their work.

Data Collection

To gain this information, you will use the interviewing and observational techniques discussed in class and in the Contextual Design guide and mind maps. Remember: People have a hard time articulating what it is they do and how their work could be improved. As you interview and observe people, you will need to continually look for clues that suggest what factors are essential to getting their work done.

Model Building

If done correctly, interviewing and observing your users will be like being on a rollercoaster ride: You will have more information coming at you than you know what to do with. Representational models help you convert all of the various pieces of data into a coherent whole that characterizes work practice.

For this project phase, you must construct sequence, artifact, cultural, flow, and physical models. These are all detailed in guides and related mind maps, and we will have an in-class work session on building these models. Each model has its own notation/language. You are expected to develop syntactically correct models that carry appropriate semantic meaning for the particular model being created. See the work models guide for details on notation syntax and semantics We will provide butcher paper and Post-Its for you to use during your interpretation sessions. We strongly suggest you use white boards for model creation so that everyone can see what is being drawn, and so that they are easy to change. Once you have developed models you can use software or high-quality images to insert into your written report, described below.


You must upload an electronic copy (PDF) of your report to Canvas. Your report should include the following sections:

  • Introduction
    • Summarize all information in the report such that if we only had time to read the introduction, we would have a clear idea of your users, their tasks, and the most important issues regarding what needs to be improved in their work processes.
  • User Description
    • Describe, in as precise terms as possible, who your users are. Relevant information includes any information that uniquely distinguishes them from the general population: Their job title, their age, assumed knowledge, and any and all unique qualifications they draw upon for the job (e.g., any unique expertise, training, and/or skills).
  • Task Description
    • Describe, as precisly as possible, the particular task the users must perform. Include sequence, artifact, and flow models to describe the task. Reading this section should provide enough information that the reader could easily visualize the activity, the work environment, and the tools used. If you employed a coding scheme to quantify activities, describe the coding scheme and the breakdown of activity according to the coding scheme.
  • Constraints
    • Any new piece of technology will have to honour constraints within a culture of practice. Describe what constraints any tool will need to honour within your users' work environment, be they related to the work culture, users' capabilities, users' skill set (or lack thereof), time, or resources (such as money). This is the section in which to include your cultural and physical models.
  • Strengths and Limitations of Existing Practices
    • In this section, detail what aspects of their current work processes the existing tools do well, and what could be improved, focusing on those aspects that could be improved via computational systems. Include breakdowns identified in workflow and workarounds developed to compensate for tool deficiencies.
    • Be sure to identify any general inefficiencies introduced by the way the tools force users to structure work. That is, how does the toolset structure work and how do users seem to resist that form of work? How do they really want to work?
  • Next Steps
    • Conclude your report by describing what aspects of their work practice seem most promising to address in the next phase of the project, using the data collected to support your argument.


Both your report and poster presentation will be graded. The presentation will receive 15% of the mark, the report, 85%. In both cases, we will consider the following:

  • Is the information requested above clearly communicated?
    • That is, can we understand who the users are, their tasks, their environment, and tools, without needing to ask additional questions?
    • Are your descriptions clear, coherent, and efficiently present your findings, as evidenced by presentation style, proper grammar, and spelling?
    Asking friends outside your group to comment on your project is the best way to ensure this component of the project is done well. Use whatever media and presentation formats best convey this information
  • Have you gained an in-depth understanding of the users, their tasks, needs, work environment, constraints, and their existing tools?
  • Do you have data to ground your presentation and report?
  • Have you included all work models?
  • Do you have each of the required sections listed above?

Easy ways to lose marks

The following are some easy ways to lose points:

  • You spend the whole report critiquing the existing application/interface used, not describing the goals users are trying to accomplish
  • There is no indication you talked to, or observed, a real user
  • Instead of describing users' needs, you present new designs. Your presentation and report should have no suggestions for improving the interface. Feel free to track and record these ideas elsewhere, but this phase is entirely about describing what people do and what they need to get the job done