Personal BackgroundPrior to entering this course, I had worked professionally as a software engineer for about eight years, and had returned to school to earn an MLIS degree through the Information School at the University of Washington. At the start, I was unclear about how I might use my degree and what sort of career to pursue. I had been introduced to user research through TC 517: Usability Testing in the autumn of 2007, as well as assorted academic courses at the Information School. In addition, the Information Architecture Institute in the summer of 2007 was a seminal experience and prompted me to attend the IA Summit in April of 2008 which further validated and strengthened my interest in IA/UX.
Course ContributionI registered for the TC 518 course with the intention of learning about user-centered design methodology, tools, techniques, and tricks. The web-based software redesign project I worked on with the other three members of my team (Khue Duong, Marisa Haberfelde, and Ann Swearingen) provided ample opportunity to get “hands-on” experience with many user-centered design activities. I performed preliminary user and task analysis, created a persona, conducted an interview, wrote a product walkthrough and created a use scenario. Together with my team we performed wants and needs analysis, wrote a redesign proposal, conducted another wants and needs analysis combined with a cognitive walkthrough, applied heuristic evaluation, conducted a usability evaluation, analyzed our findings, produced a final report and gave a presentation to our class. I expect I may be involved with many of these activities in the future, in my professional career. This course project has allowed me to familiarize myself with these techniques and learn how to use them more effectively. Our final report and presentation give more details about the lessons we learned as we went through the process.
More information about the project itself can be found here. We produced many artifacts and the menu on the left will allow you to jump to a specific item or activity.