Qualitative user research conducted for ACT.org to inform the design of a new college and career planning community situated at the intersections between teachers, students, and parents.
Research and Design Process
Potential users of the site are asked to undergo a series of semi-structured interviews
Recorded interviews are transcribed by hand and inputted as data into Dedoose
Textual data is combed through to form tentative labels for potential overarching groups
Identifying relationships are drawn between existing open codes, forming a set of higher-level parameters
Affinity notes derived from the axial codes are manipulated and organized within an affinity diagram to explore natural relationships
Evaluation of Existing UI
Select participants are invited back to take part in a participatory design activity derived from common themes discovered in the affinity notes
Participants are lightly guided through a usability test of the current beta site
Recordings of the participatory design activity and usability tests are transcribed
Affinity notes are created from the transcripts of the activities and tests and organized
Results are synthesized and submitted as a report to ACT.org
Participatory Design Activity
A participatory design activity was formulated and implemented for use in interviews with parents and teachers. The activity consisted of a community conference on educational technology, open for attendance to any stakeholders for a minimal cost. Interview participants were asked to walk through a day at the conference, speaking their thoughts out loud as they examined a copy of the conference booklet.
Planning a schedule by selecting events they would choose to attend within each hour-long time block
Selecting a seat for an open lunch after reading brief biographies of fellow attendees at each table
Proposing potential topics or workshops for future conference
Giving feedback on the fictional conference
Lastly, an evaluation of the beta site provided data on what is working, what could use improvements, and what is missing entirely. This step was intentionally conducted after the initial idea-generation and task analysis stage to provide an unfettered mental design space.
Users notes several issues through the usability testing in a lab situation.