Proactive Field Study


Applicable stages: requirement, and design.
Personnel needed for the evaluation:
Usability experts: 1
Software developers: 0
Users: 2
Usability issues covered:
Can be conducted remotely: No Can obtain quantitative data: No


Before designing a system, in order to understand the the users, their tasks, and their working environment, human factors engineers go to representative users's workplace and talk to them, observe them work, and ask them questions, to understand the user characteristics, the work flow, the system features they need, etc. This technique should be used during the requirement or early design stage of software development. This should be the first step of usability work for a project.
Find a group of representative users who will be able to participate in the field study. Make appointments with them for usability engineers to visit them at their working environment and talk to them. The issues to be addressed for such a field study generally include:

  1. J. Nielsen "Usability Engineering" pp.73-79, Academic Press, 1993.