ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

Developing a User-process Model for Designing Menu-based Interfaces: An Exploratory Study

Boryung Ju, Myke Gluck

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


The purpose of this study was to organize menu items based on a user-process model and implement a new version of current software for enhancing usability of interfaces. Dervin & Nilaní»s time-line method is used to develop a user-process model for user interface design. We developed a user-process model drawn from actual usersí» understanding of their goals and strategies to solve their information needs by using Derviní»s sense-making interviews. Six experienced subjects were recruited for the interviews. Each subject went through a learning/exploration session. They were asked to recall and describe specific information needs throughout the activity (situation), events, gaps, and uses. Subjectsí» step-by-step interaction with the software and their thought process were captured on tape and in memo notes. The data obtained from the interviews were then analyzed inductively based on Derviní»s Sense-Making theory (timeline). The events, gaps, and uses (help/hurt) elicited from each subject were chronologically ordered within each userí»s situation, and merged across all subjects to yield a master timeline matrix illustrating the use of the features of the software. The master timeline guided changes to the initial traditional menu for the product producing a reorganized, user-process driven interface. The new interface was implemented for usability testing.

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