User and Task Analysis for Interface Design (Wiley computer publishing) Paperback – 9 Feb 1998
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From the Back Cover
"Hackos and Redish wisely offer us the three things we most need about user and task analysis: practical advice, practical advice, and practical advice." –Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland
"This book is well written, thorough, and loaded with techniques, examples, and resources that bring analysis to everyone." –Marcia L. Conner, Director of Usability & Learnability PeopleSoft, Inc.
User and Task Analysis for Interface Design helps you design a great user interface by focusing on the most important step in the process –the first one. You learn to go out and observe your users at work, whether they are employees of your company or people in customer organizations. You learn to find out what your users really need, not by asking them what they want, but by going through a process of understanding what they are trying to accomplish.
JoAnn Hackos and Janice (Ginny) Redish, internationally known experts in usable design, take you through a step–by–step process to conduct a user and task analysis. You learn:
∗ How interface designers use user and task analysis to build successful interfaces
∗ Why knowledge of users, their tasks, and their environments is critical to successful design
∗ How to prepare and set up your site visits
∗ How to select and train your user and task analysis team
∗ What observations to make, questions to ask, and questions to avoid
∗ How to record and report what you have learned to your development team members
∗ How to turn the information you′ve gathered into design ideas
∗ How to create paper prototypes of your interface design
∗ How to conduct usability tests with your prototypes to find out if you′re on the right track.
This book includes many examples of design successes and challenges for products of every kind.
About the Author
JoAnn T. Hackos is president of Comtech Services, a design consulting firm that specializes in assisting companies to understand their users, design their products and information, conduct usability tests, and manage development projects.
Janice (Ginny) C. Redish is president of Redish & Associates, Inc. Ginny helps companies with user and task analysis, usability assessments, interface and information design, and building usability into software and documentation processes.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A starting point for our dialog will be the classification of users into "novices, advanced beginners, competent performers, and experts," and their corresponding characteristics. The example showing that approximately 80% of users do not move beyond the "advanced beginner" stage on a tool that they use relatively infrequently. This matches our experiences. For our product to be successful, we need to focus on these users, who will be the majority of our population.
I also take to heart the reactions that can emerge from the shock of seeing real users working with the prototype or product for the first time: defensiveness, despair, rush to redesign, and the thought that it can all be solved by training or documentation. Been there, felt that.
Through reading this book, I have a new appreciation for the complexity of the task ahead of us, and the tremendous amount of time and attention it is going to take to get it right. Fortunately, we have a user community that is currently very eager to help us get it right -- this book is going to be a valuable tool to help us collect, structure and analyze their input and experiences.
I considered at a lot of other books before choosing this one -- it hit the mark for me as a manager-level view of user and task analysis, tool development and implementation. It's not a computer programming book (many user-interface books are focused on the specifics of GUI -- even including code), and it's not a book targeted at psychology majors (they hit the basics of cognitive psychology -- but from a "this is what users are like" perspective, not a theoretical standpoint.) It's an excellent starting point for the rest of us.
I was recommended this book by a colleague and since recommended it at least a dozen times myself to fellow human factors engineers and software/system designers. It had the answers to many of the practical questions I was asking and being asked.
This book gives practical advice on how to analyse a task based on the "things that need to be done" to the "people that need to do them". Based on the recommendations, these are not "pie in the sky" ideas but practical tips from the people that do this work day to day.
If you read through the table of contents that Amazon provides you will find most if not all of your questions on how to go about this type of work answered within the pages of this book.
Briefly the Chapters are broken up into main segments of this type of work:
1. Introducing User and Task Analysis for Interface Design
UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT OF USER AND TASK ANALYSIS
2. Thinking about Users
3. Thinking about Tasks
4. Thinking about the User's environment
5. Making the Business case for site visits
GETTING READY FOR SITE VISITS
6. Selecting techniques
7. Setting up site visits
8. Preparing for site visits
CONDUCTING THE SITE VISIT
9. Conducting the site visit-Honing your observational skills
10.Conducting the site visit-Honing your interview skills
MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM ANALYSIS TO DESIGN
11. Analysing and presenting the data you have collected
12. Working toward the interface design
13. Prototyping the interface design
14. User and task analysis for Documentation and training
Appendix A: Template for a site visit plan
Appendix B: Resources
Appendix C: Guidelines for User-Interface Design
The appendices are a collection of very useful information to jog your memory while doing a site visit as well as some general user interface guidelines. This makes for a nice checklist to check if you forgot anything.
Not only is this book chock full of good tips, advice and an idea of how to structure this type of work, but it was designed well visually. The fonts and typography are pleasant to look at and the examples, graphics and important points are well illustrated. I guess they did a good job of analyzing the task of the reader as well.
If you are considering any kind of site visit or field study in order to learn about the end users of your product (AND YOU SHOULD), you will find this book highly useful. Check with me later as to how well it helped me write up results...
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