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Understanding Users Through Fieldwork: An In-depth Primer

Contextual field research is crucial in User Center Design. In this tutorial, you will learn how to plan for and carry out field studies. Rather than teaching one methodology, we help you think critically and make informed decisions about the many planning and methodological choices you will have to make.

Tutorial by Susan Dray (Dray & Associates, Inc.), David Siegel, Ph.D. (Dray & Associates, Inc.)
Usability Fundamentals (UF)
8:30am to 5:30pm on Tuesday, June 09, 2009

About the Tutorial

Understanding Users Through Field Work: An In-depth Primer

Susan M. Dray, Ph.D. David A. Siegel, Ph.D. Dray & Associates, Inc.

Benefits You will learn how to plan for and carry out studies of users in the field. Rather than teaching a single methodology to do field research, we provide you with the tools to think critically and make informed decisions about the many planning and methodological choices you will have to make. For each technique, we identify its key challenges, while helping you learn how to get its benefits. You will have the chance to practice skills for several fieldwork techniques.

Learning Objectives • How observational field research fits into design, and how fieldwork complements other User-Centered Design (UCD) methods • What it takes to make fieldwork more than just "anecdote collecting." • Why and how to use several field research techniques, including: o Naturalistic Observation o Contextual Inquiry o Artifact Walkthrough o Naturalistic Usability Evaluation
• How to make sure field research provides meaningful and influential input to design • Tips for addressing practical challenges and organizational obstacles to field work

Audience This hands-on session is aimed at practitioners planning, doing, and leading observational field research projects, including developers, designers, and managers who are responsible for user experience or user requirements identification. This is an introductory to intermediate level tutorial. It will be useful for beginners in fieldwork, as well as those with some experience who want to broaden their knowledge of a range of approaches.

Presentation Lecture, video demonstration, small group hands-on exercises, and discussion

Instructors’ Background Through their consulting firm, Dray & Associates, Inc., Susan and David have helped many clients plan and design products that meet user needs, using field research and other UCD approaches. They are well-known speakers, trainers, and authors on this and other UCD topics. They have taught this course many times previously at various professional conferences, and also teach a course on analyzing data from field studies. Susan is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and has recently been named a Distinguished Member of the ACM. Susan and David are past co-editors of the Business Column editor of < interactions> magazine.

Website Additional information about this course will be posted on www.dray.com