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IAT 432 :: Design Evaluation

Course Description: Examines evaluation concepts and methods for designers. Introduces a range of evaluation approaches including informal usability studies, lab experiments, field studies and analytically-based evaluations. Students will explore techniques for feedback including usability tests, observation, interviews, heuristic reviews and discursive evaluations. Underlying concepts of evaluation including scientific experimentation, ethnography, phenomenology, and aesthetics will be discussed. Students will learn how to design and implement appropriate evaluation studies for a range of design projects.

Topics: This course examines evaluation concepts and methods for interaction designers. Evaluation in Interaction Design is challenged by the breadth of issues to be evaluated. For this reason, evaluation spans a range of approaches including interpretive analysis, empirical studies, and scientific analysis. This course will enable students to design appropriate evaluation studies for a range of design situations and use experiences.

The course analyzes a range of evaluation approaches including informal evaluation, usability, field studies, heuristics, critique, and discursive evaluation. Students will explore techniques for feedback including observation, interviews, expert reviews, use experience, modeling and critical analysis. Underlying concepts of evaluation including scientific observation, ethnography, phenomenology and aesthetics will be discussed. Students will learn how to design and implement appropriate evaluation studies for a range of computing environments.

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • understand the underlying concepts of evaluation and the differences between design evaluation methods including scientific observation, ethnography, and phenomenology
  • apply and analyze aspects of evaluation within a design situation including the users, stakeholders, context and outcome
  • create and apply a range of evaluation techniques such as observation, interviews, expert reviews, use experience, modeling and critical analysis to a design situation
  • analyze the results from a range of design evaluation techniques
  • document the results of a design evaluation verbally and in written format

Evaluation: Your total course grade will consist of the following percentage breakdown.

  • 40% Individual Assignments (Heuristic Evaluation, Controlled Study)
  • 30% Group Assignments (Usability Study, Field Study)
  • 30% Exam

Students must get at least 50% in each of the above components of the course in order to pass.

All team/group assignments must be completed as a group with your respective team members or you will receive 0 marks for them. All individual components must be completed individually or you will receive 0 marks for them.

Your TA and Instructor will have final say over who are your group/team members.

You can earn up to 2% bonus by participating in designated research studies within SIAT as a learning experience to broaden your understanding of research in interactive arts and technology. This includes 1% per study that you participate in.

You will complete one or more team member evaluations during the term. If your evaluations illustrate you are not performing an adequate amount of work on team submissions, components of your grade may be adjusted to reflect the evaluation. Team members may also directly influence portions of your grade.

Texts, Resources, and Materials:

Required: 
“Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design & Conduct Effective Tests” (2008) by Jeffrey Rubin, Dana Chisnell, Jared Spool; 2nd Edition; Wiley; ISBN 9780470185483

Recommended: 
“Doing Psychology Experiments” (2007) by David Martin; 7th Edition; Nelson; ISBN 9780495115779

Grading Schema: I use the following grade schema by default. This is subject to change though during the semester depending on overall student performance.

  • 95% ≤ A+
  • 90% ≤ A < 95%
  • 85% ≤ A- < 90%
  • 80% ≤ B+ < 85%
  • 75% ≤ B < 80%
  • 70% ≤ B- < 75%
  • 65% ≤ C+ < 70%
  • 60% ≤ C < 65%
  • 55% ≤ C- < 60%
  • 50% ≤ D < 55%
  • F < 50%