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Human Computer Interaction

Human Computer Interaction

User Profiling
Level 2

Prepared by: RHR First Prepared on: December, 2007 Last Modified on:
Quality checked by: MOH
Copyright 2004 Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology
Topic and Structure of the Lesson

• Reasons for User Profiling

• Data Gathering Techniques
• User Profiling activity

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Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module, YOU should be able to:

•Explain the reasons for doing User Profiling

•Describe the various data gathering techniques
•Identify problems with data gathering
•Perform user profiling activity

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Key Terms you must be able to use

If you have mastered this topic, you should be able to

use the following terms correctly in your assignments
and exams :

• User Profiling
• Questionnaires
• Interview
• Observation
• Requirement Analysis

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“One most unfortunate product is the

type of engineer who does not realize
that in order to apply the fruits of science
for the benefit of mankind, he must not
only grasp the principles of science, but
must also know the needs and
aspirations, the possibilities and the
frailties, of those whom he would serve.”
1890-1974, well known
American Electrical
-- Vannevar Bush Directed programs like the
first development of atomic
bombs , mass production of
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Usability Engineering
User Input via Original Product Concept
User Profiling Exploring other requirement
(task analysis, usability
goals & competitive
Parallel Design Sketches
Participitory Design
– more input from First Prototype

User Input via

Iterative Design Versions
Final Released Product
User Input via Evaluation (Summative)
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What is User Profiling?
The process of establishing knowledge about the users
Find out
• who users are
– Children, Elderly, Professional, Scientist, Male, Female, Tech Savvy, IT

• what is the goal in using the product

– Withdraw cash, pay bills, find out movie time, online chat, gaming,
research, cook, wash, treatment

• what are the tasks involved? (observe existing work practices)

– To apply for leave: check schedule, get leave application form from
admin, fill in the form, get supervisor to approve, get manager to
approve, inform scheduler, inform colleagues, go on leave.
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Why do User Profiling?

• Why do user profiling, why not define

“good” interfaces and just based your design
on them?
– infinite variety of tasks and users
– guidelines can be too vague to be generative
• e.g.,
“give adequate feedback”, “make the system enjoyable”
– how do you define the above guidelines and relate
to users?”

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User Requirement

• Captures the characteristics of the intended user

• Novice & Casual (clear step by step intro)
• Expert & Frequent (flexible interactions, wide range
of power/control, short cut keys)

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What do we want to know -
Who are the Users?
• Identify attributes of users
– Physical characteristics
• height; physical abilities or disabilities
– Background
• education; social; religious
– Skills
• task experience
– Preferences
• efficiency

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What do we want to know - Where
is the Task Performed?
• Office, laboratory, POS? (while standing, while sitting, in a
crowded place, effects of environment)

• Are users under stress? (in an operation theatre)

• Is confidentiality required? (information displayed)

• Do Users have wet hands? (at the butcher)

• Do Users consume drinks while doing tasks?

• What kind of lighting do they work under?

• Surrounding noise

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What do we want to know -
Relationship Between Users &
• Personal data
– always accessed at same machine?
– do users move between machines?
• Common data
– used concurrently?
– Passed sequentially between users?
• Access to data restricted?

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What do we want to know - How
Often are Tasks Performed?

• Frequent users remember more details

• Infrequent users may need more help
– even for simple operations
• Which function is performed
– most frequently?
– by which users?
– optimize system for these tasks will improve perception of good

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What do we want to know - What
are the Time Constraints?
• What functions will users be in a hurry for?

– Positioning of functions (in video games)

• Which can wait?

• Is there a timing relationship between tasks?

– Time out

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Data Gathering
How do we go about determining requirements
and concluding the results

An important part of the requirement activity

and also evaluation activity

Purpose is to collect sufficient, relevant and
appropriate data to produce a set of reliable
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Data Gathering

1. Questionnaires
• A series of questions designed to elicit specific
• Can give quantitative and qualitative data
• Administered at distance, no one to explain &
help in answering
• Advantages, disadvantages

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Data Gathering

2. Interviews
• Involves asking someone a set of questions (often
• Good for exploring issues, encourage people to
• Advantages, disadvantages

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Data Gathering

3. Workshops or focus groups

• Group interviews rather than one on one
• Gain a consensus view and/or highlighting
areas of conflicts
• Facilitator is required to keep conversation on
• Has to be carefully structured, participants
have to be carefully chosen
• Advantages, disadvantages

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Data Gathering
4. Naturalistic observation
• Spend time with stakeholders in their day to day
tasks, observing work as it happens
• Good for understanding the nature and context of
the tasks
• Take notes, ask question (not too many)

Variation of this - ‘Ethnography’

• Observing from the ‘inside’ as a participant, full

Advantages, disadvantages
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Data Gathering

5. Studying documentation
• Good for getting background information on
procedures and rules (manuals, job logs)
• Advantages, disadvantages

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Problems with Data
1. Identifying and involving stakeholders
2. Availability of key people
3. Communication between parties
• Within development team (more technical)
• With customer/user (less technical)
• Between users (different parts of an
organisation use different terminology)
4. Dominance of certain stakeholders
5. Balancing functional and usability demands

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Questionnaire Design

• Keep questions short

• Only ask a question if it contributes to
• Use closed questions for ease of analysis
• Interviews can explore responses to
questions or critical incidents
• Always pilot questionnaires/interview

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Questionnaire Samples

• Designing an interactive lavatory in a shopping


(It is important to ensure that that the results

analysed will mean something to the design,
hence special consideration on the queries
should be put into data gathering activity)

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Questionnaire Samples

Characteristic Age
Question Please specify your age range
Result Work out the maths, find average, find
E.g. Range between 7 to 75
Impact on Design Particular consideration to the general
age group between 7 and 75 years old.
No very young toddlers.
Any special consideration to the young?

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Questionnaire Samples

Characteristic Language for the population

Question Preferred language
Result Number of people in your group speaking
English, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, Tamil,
others (based on the location)
Work out the maths, demonstrate the result in a
chart form.
E.g. Out of 20 users interviewed/approached, 3
preferred Mandarin, 11 preferred English, 3
preferred Bahasa Melayu and 3 preferred Tamil.
All participants understand English.

Impact on .Simple English will be used on the control

Design panel (or other, decide and justify)

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Questionnaire Samples
Characteristic Lavatory type (preferences)
Question Which type of lavatory do you prefer to use.
Include pictures to give clear illustration

Result Work out the maths, demonstrate the result in a

chart form.
E.g. From the result, majority of the respondents
prefer the sitting type of lavatory.

Impact on Design The design will be done on a sitting type.

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Questionnaire Samples

Characteristic Frequency of use

Question How often do need to use lavatory when
visiting a shopping complex?
Result Work out the maths, demonstrate the
result in a chart form.
E.g. Everytime, Sometime, Never?

Impact on Design Since it is used very often, the toilet

will be designed with durability and
comfort in mind.

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Questionnaire Samples
Characteristic Types of problem people usually faced when using
Question What are the common problems you often faced while
using lavatories?
- no tissue paper
- no water
- not sure how the flusher works
- mechanism failure
Result Work out the maths, demonstrate the result in a chart
E.g. All of the above, analysis shows that user would like
to be informed the status of the toilet before using it (than
getting surprised after!)
Impact Design lavatory to inform user of the status beforehand

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Questionnaire Samples

Characteristic Frequency of cleaning

Question How often is the lavatory in your
house/residence cleaned?
Result Work out the maths, demonstrate the result
in a chart form.
E.g. Once a week
Impact on Design Since it is cleaned very often, the lavatory will
be designed with automatic cleaning as part of
the features.

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Data Gathering Activity
Consider what kind(s) of data gathering would
be appropriate for the following, explain and justify the
reasons for your choice(s):

1. You are developing a leave application system for an

educational institution. Currently there is no automated
system for this process.

2. You are developing a Malaysia tourism website

3. The FYP project you are currently working on

4. You are developing an information kiosk for a shopping mall

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Question and Answer Session


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Next Session

Topic and Structure of next session

Task Analysis

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