Planning User Research

Note: Complete the discussion in this unit before you begin this assignment.

It is tempting to start building an interface right away, but design needs to start with research. If you were building an actual online food ordering system for a restaurant, you would conduct a user research project to get the data you need. For this assignment, you will simply describe the restaurant and write a plan for user research. Then you will describe how this information and the human factors you explored in this unit should influence the design choices you make for the interface.

Assignment Preparation

Complete the following:

· Choose a restaurant as your hypothetical client for the project. The course project information describes the criteria to make this choice. Note that you need to keep the same client throughout all assignments in this project, and throughout the course.

· Complete your initial post for the unit discussion. This will help you prepare for the assignment.

Before you begin Part A (restaurant description) of this assignment, brainstorm about the restaurant itself. Take 15–30 minutes to note as many details as possible about who its main patron groups are and what makes the restaurant attractive to these people. You can do this by visiting the restaurant itself, visiting the Web site, and/or by recalling from memory. A few key questions include:

· What kind of restaurant is it? (Fast food? Ethnically-themed? Family-friendly? Casual or high-end?)

· What are some patron demographic groups who would be likely to order food here?

· When do they do most of their business? (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night?)

· Where would the patrons be and what would they be doing, if they decided to order online from this restaurant?

· When or how might the patrons be distracted or need to look away from the screen, if they are placing an online order? Do they need to confer with others?

Note: You do not need to submit these brainstorming notes; use them to write the paragraphs described in Part A.

Assignment Instructions

Part A: Restaurant Description

Identify characteristics of your chosen restaurant that should inform your design of this online food ordering system.

· State the name of the restaurant and the URL of its Web site. (If the restaurant has no Web site, provide the link to an official social media page or to the online menu.)

· Create a concise description of the restaurant, based on your brainstorming notes. Aim to write one or two paragraphs, choosing only the key details to provide a complete picture of the restaurant environment.

Part B: User Research Plan

If you were actually building this ordering system, you would spend a lot of time conducting this research. For the purposes of this assignment, develop a plan as though you were going to do that hypothetical research. You would want to learn which groups of people are likely to visit this ordering system, what is important to them, and what they need to accomplish. In Unit 2, you will be developing a single, brief persona based on some of the ideas you generate here.

Create a plan for how you would identify users, their roles and tasks, their motivations, and their expectations for the restaurant experience. Please be sure to read or review all resources in the unit studies before you begin. Using Sherwin’s 2013 article, “A 5 Step Process for Conducting User Research,” as a guide, write a plan that addresses all of the following:

· Explain what you think you already understand about your users.

. What are there gaps in your understanding that need to be filled so that you can design a user experience that will meet their needs?

· State your goals.

. What (hypothetically) would you hope to accomplish in your user research?

. How will you make this a vital part of the design process? Explain.

· Develop a set of research questions to find out what users would expect from your interface.

. Consider what you need to know about your users to build personas and design an engaging user experience, following the five-step process described in the Sherwin article.

. Formulate these priorities into questions that would be answered by representative patrons. Some sample questions are provided in steps 1–4 in Part 2 of Goltz’s 2014 article, “A Closer Look at Personas.” These may give you some ideas and you can modify them to meet your needs in addition to adding your own questions.

· Develop a user research method for learning what users will expect from your interface.

. How will you ask these questions—interview, surveys, or other methods?

. Are there other methods that you might use to get answers to your questions?

· Include representative users.

. Who are they, and how will you gain their cooperation?

· Include information capture.

. How will you compile the information—notes, online survey, or audio files?

Do not be deceived by this plan’s brevity. You will need to put some careful thought and into your questions and your research approach, based on the resources provided in the unit studies.

Part C: Design Strategies

Next, think forward to the interface you are about to build by employing the strategies you have explored in the unit readings. Use ideas, concepts, and quotes from the unit studies to describe the design strategies you plan to adopt in building your prototype food ordering system during one of the later assignments. Respond to some or all of the following questions:

· What implications do the past experience, current context, and future goals of your user groups have for the design of your online food ordering system? How would this change based on different groups of patrons?

· What are the implications that your own experiences and context might have on your design choices? What assumptions might you make about a good interface that might not be true for others?

· Are the Gestalt principles likely to play a role in your user interface design? If so, explain their relevance.

· How might visual structure enhance users’ interaction with the system?

· What useful and important roles might color play in the design of the interactive restaurant experience?

· Is users’ peripheral vision likely to be a main factor in your design decision? Why or why not?

Note: You will be gathering ideas and design strategies throughout the course. For this reason, it may be efficient to start a design journal document for yourself to keep track from week to week how you are planning to incorporate these design strategies into your prototype.

Refer to the Planning User Research Scoring Guide to ensure that you meet the grading criteria for this assignment.

When complete, compile all three parts in a single Microsoft Word document and submit it as an attachment in the assignment area.

Submission Requirements

Your assignment should meet the following requirements:

· Written communication: Communicate effectively. While content is the most important aspect of your assignment submission, organization, readability, grammar, and spelling are also important.

· APA format: Resources and citations must follow current APA guidelines.

· Document type: Submit the assignment as a Microsoft Word document.


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