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Task Definition and Usability Requirements

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105538D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 84K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

DiAngelo, MF: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a methodology for obtaining user defined usability requirements and user tasks to aid in the design and testing of computer products. Task Definition and Usability Requirements, TDUR, is a specific set of procedures, taxonomies and analysis techniques that are designed to elicit specific product related information from a group of users.

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Task Definition and Usability Requirements

      Disclosed is a methodology for obtaining user defined usability
requirements and user tasks to aid in the design and testing of
computer products.  Task Definition and Usability Requirements, TDUR,
is a specific set of procedures, taxonomies and analysis techniques
that are designed to elicit specific product related information from
a group of users.

The TDUR methodology is comprised of three major stages: defining
current tasks, defining future tasks, and defining usability
requirements.  User groups are lead through each of the stages in
sequence by a trained moderator.  Participants in each user group are
selected on the basis of product experience, current usage, specific
job assignments, and several other relevant factors.  During group
session, participants work to define the required information.  This
differs from previous methods of gathering user information which
would typically involve one-on-one interviews and/or detailed task
analysis based on direct observation.

The first stage is to define current tasks.  Participants are asked
to briefly describe all the tasks they now perform in a particular
area.  The area may be very specific as in "with your word processor"
or it may be much more general such as "on the job".  Brief task
descriptions are collected and held for the next step,
categorization.  The group is given a brief presentation by the
moderator describing rules for categorization.  The group then
categorizes all the tasks they had previously listed.  Sample
categories may be provided if they were obtained from previous group
sessions.  Once all tasks are categorized, the group engages in a
series of voting procedures to determine the priority of each task
category on several different dimensions.  The last step for defining
current tasks is to have each participant in the group describe a
"typical" task in detail for each category.  Participants are asked
to define the task in terms of several factors that are used in later
analysis.

Future tasks, the second stage, is handled in much the same way as
current Tasks.  The sequence of steps is the same.  By definition,
future tasks are those that will be done at some later time when the
capability exists or when the need arises.  In any event, the task is
not being performed at present.  As a result of this lack of re...