ACT Profile (beta)

Qualitative user research conducted for to inform the design of a new college and career planning community situated at the intersections between teachers, students, and parents.


  • Interviews
  • Axial Coding
  • Affinity Notes
  • Usability Testing


  • Dedoose
  • Audio Recorder
  • Sticky Notes

Research and Design Process

Inital Research

Participant Interviews

Potential users of the site are asked to undergo a series of semi-structured interviews

Interview Trancription

Recorded interviews are transcribed by hand and inputted as data into Dedoose

Open Coding

Textual data is combed through to form tentative labels for potential overarching groups

Axial Coding

Identifying relationships are drawn between existing open codes, forming a set of higher-level parameters

Affinity Diagram

Affinity notes derived from the axial codes are manipulated and organized within an affinity diagram to explore natural relationships

Evaluation of Existing UI

Participatory Design

Select participants are invited back to take part in a participatory design activity derived from common themes discovered in the affinity notes

Usability Test

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 Diagram

Affinity notes are created from the transcripts of the activities and tests and organized


Results are synthesized and submitted as a report to

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.

Activities Included:

  • 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

Interface Evaluation

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.

  • Unclear navigation
  • Lack of visual feedback
  • Lack of progress indicators
  • Unwelcome features
  • Unclear purpose and scope

© 2019 Beth Godfrey