CMPT 479/817 Usability Engineering

Projects


The purpose of the class project is to investigate some aspect of Usability Engineering in further detail beyond that covered in the class or in the text.
Students are free to propose any topic and are recommended to discuss potential topics with the instructor prior to creating their proposal.

All projects are required to have three distinct components (which will have equal weighting in the mark for the project report):
NOTE: There is no construction of an actual required for this project. Students who wish to involve prototyping or other methods are reminded that the marks for the project will be based solely on the reports for each of the three components.

NOTE: Reports for each of these three components of the project are not required to use the formatting of records suggested in the text, but must clearly demonstrate the concepts discussed in the classes and the text.

The majority of the mark will be for a good project report, however, some marks are also assigned for a class presentation.

Expectations for CMPT 817 students are significantly higher than for CMPT 479 students in recognition of their graduate standing and in recognition that they will not have a final exam in their class.

CMPT 479
CMPT 817
30% Term Project
  5% for presentation
25% for project report
5% for proposal
5% for context of use
5% for analysis
10% for design
50% Term Project
  5% for presentation
45% for project report
5% for proposal
10% for context of use
10% for analysis
20% for design

Some possible projects 

Revised 2018-10-15

NOTE: Students are free to propose other types of projects. These examples are available, but are only listed here as some of the topics I can readily think of. There are many other possible topics that would be suitable.

Expanding Guidance in ISO 9241-110 relating to User Engagement

ISO 9241-110 contains 7 long established dialog/interaction principles and a selection of guidelines related to each of these principles. It is currently being revised, with individualization being merged into controllability and the addition of "User engagement" based on the ISO 14915-1 principle of "suitability for engagement", the increasing importance of User Experience, and the emerging use of the term "User Engagement"
A project of this type would analyze the data to find guidance that could be based on this data, including
  1. context: getting familiar with the new draft of ISO 9241-110 (minus the current work on user engagement in the draft) and related items in the text and identifying potential sources of information on User Engagement
  2. analysis: 
    1. identifying individual guidance in research and literature related to User Engagement
    2. organize this guidance on User Engagement in structure similar to ISO 9241-112, i.e. a level of sub-principles / categories beneath the principles to organize the individual guidelines
    3. identify and analyze any other issues that can relate to how these principles and associated guidance can be used 
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: create a set of well worded guidance on User Engagement that could be added to ISO 9241-110
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create examples to illustrate each of the guidelines in this guidance

Developing Guidance on Cultural and Linguistic Issues

While there is considerable recognition of the importance of cultural and linguistic accessibility, there is limited guidance in this area. I can provide students with existing ISO guidance in this area.
A project of this type would create more comprehensive guidance on cultural linguistic issues and means of better addressing these issues. A project of this type would involve:
  1. context: getting familiar with existing ISO guidance and related items in the text and identifying potential sources of further information on cultural and linguistic issues
  2. analysis: identifying and analyzing guidance from various published (scholarly literature) sources
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: create a set of guidance that goes significantly beyond existing ISO documents that either could be added to existing documents or used as the basis of a new document
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create examples to illustrate each of the guidelines in this guidance

Developing Guidance relating to Affective Computing

While most existing guidance relates to the effectiveness and efficiency of user interactions and interfaces, there is a growing recognition that successful interactions also involve an affective (emotional) component which relates not only to satisfaction but which can also influence overall effectiveness and efficiency. Some approaches to affective computing focus on the computer recognizing the user's emotional state while others focus on the computer trying to influence this state. ISO/IEC 30150 provides a model of affective computing that recognizes 4 major activities {collection of affect-related data, recognition of affective characteristics from affect-related data, developing and deciding upon strategies for dealing with affect, affective presentation of data} and the need for a computable representation of affective characteristics and their values.
A project of this type would gather information on research into affective computing to
  1. context:  getting familiar with the four activities in ISO/IEC 30150 and related items in the text and identifying potential sources of further information on one of the activities
  2. analysis: identify and analyze guidance from various published (scholarly literature and other) sources related to the chosen activity
  3. design:
    1. For CMPT 879 students: develop a clear description of this activity along with a clear set of guidance related to this activity
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create examples to illustrate each of the guidelines in this guidance

Developing Guidance on Usability Methods

Work on developing ISO 9241-230 Human-centered design and evaluation methods has been put on hold for a variety of reasons, including difficulties among the experts in the structure and focus that the document should have. I can provide students with the latest draft and a discussion of some of the big issues.
A project of this type would identify what is really needed for this document and how it should be developed to be usable. A project of this type would involve:
  1. context: clearly identifying the different contexts of use for such a document and identifying potential sources of further information on the structuring and selection of usability methods
  2. analysis: analyzing possible content that belongs in a document such as the intended ISO 9241-230
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: develop a clear approach for creating the intended guidance document, including a clear structure for the document along with a clear set of requirements for what each section of the document needs to contain
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create a prototype document with each different section containing at least one instance of the type of material that belongs in the document

Developing Ergonomic Guidance on Autonomous Systems

With the recent proliferation of  drones and (toy) robots, the number and variety of autonomous systems has considerably increased. Along with this has come considerable concern with the design of their autonomy, the need for making human intervention possible, and the possibilities for integrating these within larger systems of systems. ISO 9241-810 has started to identify ergonomic issues related to autonomous systems/A project of this type would build on this to identify principles and guidance focused on autonomous systems. A project of this type would involve:
  1. context: getting familiar with existing ISO guidance and identifying potential sources of further information on the usability of autonomous systems
  2. analysis: analyzing ergonomic / human factors issues with autonomous systems
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: develop a clear structure of guidance related to some or all of the areas for further work identified in ISO 9241-810
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create a prototype document with each different section containing instances of useful guidance

Developing Ergonomic Guidance on Wearable Devices

While wearable devices (and other highly specialized devices) are becoming common in gaming applications, they have yet to be accepted or understood by the wider computing market.
A project of this type would identify the unique ergonomic / human factors issues that wearable computing devices present and areas where guidance is desirable and possible. A project of this type would involve:
  1. context: clearly identifying the different contexts of use for wearable devices and different sources of potential guidance relating to the usability of wearable devices
  2. analysis: analyzing ergonomic / human factors issues with wearable devices
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: developing a clear structure of guidance related to the usability of wearable devices
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus create a prototype document with each different section containing instances of useful guidance

Developing General Ergonomic Guidance on Controls and Displays

ISO/IEC 9355-1 provides guidance on "Human interactions with displays and control actuators" which was developed in the context of the safety of machinery. It only considers traditional mechanical controls and displays and does not consider computerized controls or displays or the controls and displays that are typical in computer systems. However, it makes some use of the principles contained in ISO 9241-10 (which has been superseded by ISO 9241-110) which was focused on interactions with IT.

A project of this type would revise ISO/IEC 9355-1 to encompass all current types of controls and displays. A project of this type would involve:
  1. context:  getting familiar with existing ISO guidance and clearly identifying the different types of controls and displays & contexts of use of controls and displays
  2. analysis: analyzing ergonomic / human factors guidance regarding controls and displays
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: develop a clear structure and set of requirements for guidance within the structure to replace ISO/IEC 9355-1
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus develop a set of examples of how this guidance might be applied to different contexts

Developing Guidance Related to the Usability Principles from the text

I have a large amount of data (based on the Assignment 1 of over 65 students) of good and bad examples of the application of these principles.
A project of this type would analyze the data to find guidance that could be based on this data, including
  1. context: identifying who and how this guidance would be used and getting familiar with the ISO style of providing guidance (as found in ISO 9241-112)
  2. analysis: will focus primarily on the analysis of content
    1. analyzing the ease / frequency of use of different principles and possible reasons for this ease / frequency
    2. analyzing classes of examples of good an bad applications of each principle (and again considering the frequency of occurrence of these types of examples)
    3. identify and analyze any other issues that can relate to how these principles and associated guidance can be used to improve usability
  3. design: 
    1. For CMPT 479 students: create a set of guidelines (with generic examples) that deal with each type of the examples identified in 2, that could be used to help usability engineers better understand how to apply the principles
    2. For CMPT 817 students: CMPT 479 expectations plus develop a draft of a scholarly (conference or journal) paper based on the results of this project

Developing Guidance in some specific area of Usability Engineering or some specific type of system

This will depend on the topic chosen, but needs to include suitable context, analysis, and design components similar to the above described projects

Some sources of information

It is useful in your research (both for your context and for your analysis) to include a wide variety of both scholarly and other sources of information. Remember that scholarly stuff has not always been adopted in industry and that industry stuff has not always been scholarly researched.

Google provides a reasonable starting point.
The databases accessible through the UofS Library most likely to have material of interest to us are:
However, there may be other databases that provide more domain specific information that you should also consult. You may also use Google Scholar to try and find scholarly papers that relate to your project. In many cases you will then have to retrieve the papers they identify by going through the UofS Library's databases.