Simulated Work Tasks: an online study of usability and contribution of a Social Commitments model

About to run a Simulated Work Tasks (SWTs) experiment using the online platform microworkers.com. The goal of this experiment is to assess the usability and domain contribution to the social commitments (SC) model that we created. Participants will perform 4 tasks each, and at the end of each task, they will try to solve the family-life domain problem through creating an agreement using a menu representation of the SC model. After that, they will have to rate how well did the options in the SC menu contribute towards the solving the problem in the scenario, using a slider.

You can try it out yourself as well, using this link. Make sure you see the explanation video first!

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Video to help explain to children how to answer questionnaire

Just created a new video (again, using iMovie and the GoAnimate website), to try and bridge the gap for children between the app they are going to be testing, and the futuristic questions they have to answer in the questionnaire. I have to admit it is difficult to imagine how a 7-10 year old child can answer a “fill in the blank” questionnaire with a continuous slider like this shown in the video. Hopefully this tutorial will ease the transition!

Focus groups in our target area

We have lately performed three focus group sessions with our target group members in South Holland, which was composed of two groups, the first group of six parents, and the second group of six of their children.

Through a small “snowball sample” we requested these groups to participate in the studies. Our snowball sample started with a contact who participates in the school board, a youth centre and in a website for the local community.

The first focus group session included the six parents only. We introduced them to our project, research, and explained the aim of our user studies. To stimulate discussion, we displayed a few usage scenarios and design claims (i.e. claims about a few positive and negative effects within our scenarios) then asked the participants to rate to what extent they agree with our claims. See slides at the end of this post. This was the session when we provided the parents with the cultural probes kits.

The second session (three weeks later) included the same group as the first session. The parents brought back the material they (along with their children) collected during that period using the cultural probes kit, and then proceeded (individually) to describe the data (e.g., pictures, map highlights, etc.) they collected with their kits. This process stimulated the discussion for a further 45 minutes in which many of the parents and their children’s life issues, values, and concerns were raised.

The third session included the six children only. The ages of the children ranged between six and eight years old. That session was led by an experienced elementary school teacher, and consisted of a discussion where the teacher asked the children a number of open ended questions related to their knowledge and usage of current technology, what activities they are allowed to do, how they connect with other children at school, sport clubs, and other places.

All sessions were audio-taped.