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Mark Pearl


Aims of this chapter

  • Illustrate how observation, interviews, and questionnaires that you encountered and are used in evaluation
  • Explain the key concepts and terms used in evaluation
  • Introduce three main evaluation approached and key evaluation methods within the context of real evaluation studies
  • Examine how the approaches and methods are used for different purposes at different stages of the design process
  • Discuss some of the practical challenges that evaluators have to consider when doing evaluation


The why, what, where, and when of evaluation

The basics…

  • Why evaluate? Duh if you don’t how will you know it is working for the users.
  • What to evaluate – Depends on the product, but generally usability, aesthetics, emotional, engaging and motivating qualities.
  • Where to evaluate – Depends on the products, could be in the laboratory or in the field

When to evaluate…

  • Early design of an artefact to clarify design  ideas
  • Evaluation of a working prototype
  • Refining or maintaining a product
  • Exploration of a new design concept

Evaluation approaches and methods

3 main approaches, and can use a combination of any of the three

  1. Usability testing – important, especially in the later stages of the product lifecycle. Analyses how a user interacts with a product, uses questionnaires, observation, etc.
  2. Field studies – done in natural settings with the aim of understanding what people do in their natural environment
  3. Analytical evaluation – Two categories of evaluation methods are considered, inspection and theoretically based models. A key feature of is that users need no be present.

Main methods used in evaluation are…

  • Observing users
  • asking users their opinions
  • asking experts their opinions
  • testing users performance
  • modelling users

NB – 12.4 has a number of case studies that may be asked in the exam – please read the

Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 8:42 PM | Back to top

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