CMPT 479/817 Usability Engineering

Project - Context Phase

The main project page identified that
This page provides an elaboration on some expectations of this report.

Remember, ISO 9241-11 defines context of use as "combination of users, goals and tasks, resources, and environment"


The main goal of most CMPT 479/817 project is: to identify  and develop usability-related guidance within some specific topic area.
An additional goal is: to practice some of the usability engineering taught in this class.


Instead of considering the tasks that you need to perform to complete this project (which should already have been identified in your proposal) it is important to identify the main tasks that users of the guidance you are producing will use it for, i.e. it is important to answer the question: what are the potential uses of this guidance?


It is important to recognize that there are a range of potential (direct and indirect) users of the guidance. Remember that to be a user, there needs to be a task that the user needs to accomplish. Thus, identification of users can lead to identification of tasks, beyond those tasks that you first though of. Likewise identification of tasks helps to identify users.

Resources / Content

Within the discussion of context of use both in ISO 9241-11 and the text, the focus of identifying resources / content is on the resources / content that the users will have available to them to use along with the system that is being evaluated/developed. However, many of the users you will have identified will never take the time or effort to actually access the various resources/content that is available to them to provide guidance in their chosen area. Remember that the goal of this project is to create a set of guidance that will replace the users' need to directly refer to other sources of guidance. Thus, an identification of resources / content will also be an identification of the information that you have obtained about the particular subject area. This information will come from a variety of resources that you need to investigate.

In this section of your context of use report you need to consider the various possible sources that you need to investigate. In addition to identifying sources such as the on-line papers that can be accessed from the University of Saskatchewan Library, it is important for you to identify the different terms and groups of terms that you will use in your searching. Within an area it is quite common for different research groups to use different (often similar) terms for the same concept (e.g. accessible design, universal design, design4all, inclusive design, etc.).

While you were to identify at least 5 sources of information in your proposal, they are only a starting point for your investigations. It is expected that your analysis will obtain useful information from a minimum of 15 (and preferably more) sources that each provide some unique insights into the area you are dealing with. While you are not expected to name the individual sources in your context of use report (but will need to include them as references in your analysis report) it is important to ensure that you will be able to find a sufficient number of quality, unique sources when you do your analysis. In preparation, your context of use report should identify a sufficiently broad range of terms and groups of terms that can be used to find the most important quality, unique sources. While your proposal might have considered only a few terms, it is often possible to find additional related or synonymous terms by considering other terms used in those papers and in other papers that those terms might help find.


While the main environments are obviously to assist with design and evaluation, it is important to have a deeper understanding of the environments in which the guidance you are creating might be used. This includes the environments of use, and the conceptual environments where similar concepts are investigated and applied.

Created October 17, 2018