Task Analysis Exercises for Groups

4 Aug 2005 - 3:30pm
9 years ago
1 reply
893 reads
David Robertson
2005

Hi Folks

A colleague and I am going to be doing some field research in the near
future, and we are looking for specific activities or exercises that can
be used to elicit information from users regarding their job and work
culture. Ideally, we would be using some of the ideas introduced in
Contextual Design, but we have some constraints on time.

Here are some criteria:

* The exercises should be practical to do with a group of 3 - 5 people (I
know what you're thinking - we're constrained to doing groups rather than
observation)
* It should be fun.
* It should take no more than one hour to complete.
* It should require minimal pre-work on the part of the participants.
* It should elicit information regarding the job and work culture.
* It should work well with a technically oriented group of people.

As an example, the exercise might be something along the line of "Thinking
of sports, what type of sport would best describe your job and why?"

A similar exercise my colleague participated in, I think at UPA, was
something like "Decide between a Circus and a Train - which best fits your
work and why?"

Any ideas would be greatly welcomed.

Thanks

Dave

Dave Robertson
Principal Usability Engineer
Enterprise UCD
Symantec Corporation
www.symantec.com
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Office: 403.261.5473
Interoffice: 6 [403] 5473
Fax: 403.261.5485
Email: david_robertson at symantec.com
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Comments

5 Aug 2005 - 1:21pm
John Schrag
2005

At 04:30 PM 8/4/2005, David Robertson wrote:
>A colleague and I am going to be doing some field research in the near
>future, and we are looking for specific activities or exercises that can
>be used to elicit information from users regarding their job and work
>culture.

Hi, Dave.

I can think of a number of different things that you might do. (My colleagues
and I used to teach a full-day course on elicitation techniques, including
stuff
like this.)

However, before I suggest anything, perhaps you could clarify these two points:

1. What sort of information are you gathering? 'Information regarding the
job and
work culture' is sort of vague. Are you looking for factual information,
such as their
workflows, and data flow between people? Are you looking for opinions, such as
how they regard their work and fit into their corporate culture? Are you
looking for
values, such as how they know when their work is done well? Or something else?
There are different techniques for collecting different kinds of data, and
they're not
very interchangeable.

If you're not sure what you need, I suggest you take a look at the
decisions you need
to make (i.e., why are you gathering this information in the first place?)
and from there
figure out what information you need to make those decisions. If you only
have an hour
to work with a group, you really want to make sure you get the critical
information first.

2. Are the groups homogeneous (I never could spell that word) or do they
contain a
mix of people at different levels? This also constains the choice of
activities. If you
have a group of co-workers who all do the same job, you can deal with them
differently
than a group containing the boss and his employees.

-john

----------------------------------------------------
John Schrag Alias
Interaction Designer 210 King Street East
jschrag at alias.com Toronto, Canada M5A 1J7

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