This course called Interactive Systems Design, so keep it in mind when you write this paper. Please fallow the instructions carefully… no need to write Introduction nor conclusion. In order to write this paper you have to watch the video. This video examine three approaches to evaluating the interface when users are not present. There are two (2) discussion forums you must complete related to this lecture – Action Analysis and Hueristic Evaluation. First discussion: please explain (Cognitive Walk Through/Action Analysis discussion forum) in one and half page. In this discussion forum, pick a program that you use often, pick a representative task, and describe the steps needed to complete the task to achieve the desired result. When you are finished, you should be able to answer the questions: Was it easy to complete the task? Did you find areas of the interface that could be improved? If so, how? Here is an example for you: I have been in this mode latley of transferring my hardcopy family photos to electronic copies to be stored on CD. It is a pretty easy process NOW, but it wasn’t when I first started. In the beginning I needed a program that could manipulate graphics and allow me to save them in many different formats and styles. Some of my hardcopy photos are of poor quality so I wanted a program that would allow me to touch up photos as well. Enter Photoshop, as recommended by a friend, as my software package of choice. I went out and puchased the program “Photoshop 6.0.” I must admit for a first time graphic manipulator I was a little taken back by all the features, bells and whistles this program had to offer. All I wanted was to touch up photos and re-size them as necessary. Anyway, my program is Phtotoshop 6.0 and the task that I will discuss is my attempt to re-size my photographs into smaller files without sacrificing quality, color depth and resolution. I will take it from the top and start with getting the image to the photoshop software via the scanner. Step 1 is to place the image on the scanner, since it is USB there is no power button. Step 2 is to initiate the scan, my scanner has two buttons on the front that will start the scanner software. One is the scanner button (scanner image on it) and the other is the printer button (printer image on it). To start the scanner software I hit the scanner button. Wow, it powers up and the scanner software opens up to the main screen where I can select to start scanning and where to send the scan. Step 3, select which program the scanned image will go to. So, I click the drop down menu and select photoshop 6.0. Step 4, start the scan. I then click the button, start scan and it does. Step 5, wait and wait then wait some more for the scanner to do some movement checks and then acutally start scanning, it’s kind of slow since it is a scanner for under a 100 dollars. Step 6, verify scanned image goes to photoshop. By selecting photoshop in step 3, when the scanner finishes scanning the image it starts photoshop and then imports the image to the software. I now see the scanner software open in addition to photoshop with my scanned image opened up. Step 7, determine scanned image size. This is where photoshop is easy, it tells you the image size in the image box, all you have to do is look at it. My image that I just scanned comes up 1.4 Meg. This is too big and I want to re-size the image down to a smaller size. This is where things get sticky. Step 8, re-size the image by selecting the image category, then select image size. A dialog box opens up and I have to choose somethings that I have no clue about. All I want to do is make the image smaller. In this image box there are options for selecting the width and height of the image in pixels or percent, what the heck is a pixel? There is also a section to change the actual document size by width, height, and resolution, all by inches, percent, pixels, cm, pica or colums. In addition, there are two more selections in the bottom, constrain proportions or resample image by nearsest neighbor, bilinear or bicubic. Remeber all I wanted to do is make the image smaller, I am not a graphical specialist and I don’t know about all these selections and which ones to use. Step 9, after choosing the right selections in the box hit OK and the image re-sizes and displays the new document size of 644k. I cut the file in about half and I can continue to change the settings in the image size dialop box until I get my image size down to something I want, about 50-60k. Step 10, THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP, SAVE THE IMAGE TO THE HARD DRIVE FOR COPING TO THE CD AT A LATER TIME. Step 11, if done close the scanner and photoshop programs and return to the normal desktop of WIN XP. WAS IT EASY TO COMPLETE THE TASK? In the beginning, the first or second time, heck NO. Since I am not a professional graphical artist or anything it took me time to actually read the online help documents and figure out exactly how the pixel, percents, and other settings above would affect my image. This took a considerable amount of time. Remember, all I wanted to do was make my images smaller and still keep some quality in the image. After playing with the software for several hours and reading the help documents I finally figured out what I was supposed to do and how. I thought it took me, the novice graphical editor, to long to figure out something as simple as re-sizing an image. DID YOU FIND AREAS OF THE INTERFACE THAT COULD BE IMPOROVED? IF SO, HOW? YES, after taking the time to play with the program and reading some more of the documents I found some very useful re-sizing features that were not even talked about in the “adjusting image size” help section. I think that these two additional SIMPLE features should be added to the menu for image size, they are not now. One of them is WEB IMAGE, and this allows you to make changes to your image by modifing the image file type and adjusting the quality of the image. Boy, this is what I was looking for in the beginning. It throws your image into a dialog box with a couple of very simple to understand pull down menus. I was able to change my file type to jpeg medium and further tweak the quality slider to get my desired size of 38k. I did this in about 30 seconds, but I had already spend proabably 4 hours doing the above graphical artist procedure that the help documents called out. Adobe, put the WEB IMAGE option under the image size menu for us novice graphical types. There is yet another shortcut that I have found that is not listed in the image size help document. It is called the RESIZE IMAGE option. This brings up a re-size wizard that actually steps you through the procedures for re-sizing the image, while previewing your changes as you make them, in novice terms. Why isn’t this under the image size menu item either? Adobe, put the RESIZE IMAGE option under the image size menu item to further aid us novice graphical types. By the way, the WEB IMAGE option is acutally located under the FILE menu, go figure, and the RESIZE IMAGE option is located under the HELP menu, again go figure. Put both of them in the IMAGE SIZE menu. Makes sense to me…. James Sullivan Here is an additional example for you: The program I will be discussing is the freeware DVD Shrink, which is used for copying, compressing, and re-authoring a DVD. First let me start by saying that, NO, I don’t rape Netflix for a semi-free copyrighted DVD library (truth be known, I don’t even have a Netflix account). However, having suffered a loss of over 100+ DVD’s a little over a year ago after having been stolen I now make a back up copy of the DVD’s that I do own. Let’s be real…media gets lost, stolen, and destroyed quite easily, so being out $20 or more each time a piece of media disappears, or what have you, does not set well with me. If the FEDS want to take me down for that…I’ll resurrect Johnny Cochran and see ’em in court. 🙂 Also, some very good friends of mine are an upcoming “underground” band who are touring the country and making a name for themselves and I have been dabbling with some media coverage of them. The DVD Shrink comes in handy for certain applications with that as well. But for the sake of this discussion I will go through the steps of my backing up my favorite movies. Now, understand that I am fairly new to the DVDRW technologies and capabilities. I just got my first burner less than 6 months ago and am still learning. Since dual layer DVD’s are still rather costly and there are applications that can format a movie over 2 hours in length to fit on a 4 gig disc I opt to take that route. The first step I take once the drive has acknowledged the media is to sit back for a minute or two as DVD Shrink “analyzes” the media. Once that has completed I must decide how to re-author the disc to fit onto the 2 hour length DVDR. Once I have opened and imported the video and audio files from the drive into the program I have a list of options to choose from. An example of this is DVD Shrink will list all the menus, submenus, sub titles (if any are available), main data, and the different audio ratios. Each of these contents of the media are accessible by check boxes. Should I not want the sub menus, foreign languages, etc. on the copy I simply uncheck these boxes for the menus that are not desired. After this DVD Shrink gives you the option to set compression parameters. This option I leave on default. Several tragedies have recently taken place in my life which has left me no “free” time at all to play pc geek if I wanted to keep up with my school work, so I have not had the chance to install the DVD-ROM drive I acquired. This has reduced me to having to back up the actual data from the media onto my hard drive. I will explain this a little further later but for now just know that once I have re-authored my media I click on the “BACK UP” button on my toolbar which prompts a new window. This is where I decide which drive to pull the media from and the destination source (i.e. from my DVDRW to my hard drive). Once I choose my options from the drop down menus, the media, if need be, is “decrypted” then backed up to my hardrive. Now, there is an option in the preferences that can be set to determine what program to send the data to from the hard drive (or preferred source) to be “burnt” or copied onto the DVDR (the compression takes place during the “back up” phase). For this I use NERO, but I don’t have to do anything within this program throughout this process because DVD Shrink instructs NERO to automatically burn the the previously backed up data upon completion. This option can be turned off in the preferences in DVD Shrink, but I opt to have it set this way because I see no point in leaving a 4-6 gig video file cluttering up and wasting space on my hard drive. Once this is complete one would assume the task is finished. I have decrypted (if necessary),re-authored, compressed, and copied the desired media. However, since I am having to back these files up to my hard dive there are VOD files left over on my hard drive. I’m still rather new to all this so I am not quite certain exactly what all these files are and why they are left behind. Therefor, I must go into my hard drive and manually delete any VOD files left over after the process is complete. Maybe if I had a terrabyte this would not be an issue for quite sometime, but I’m not that fortunate…yet! 🙂 This program is rather user friendly but there are obscurities that I could see one having if they really had no idea about how to utilize a PC for anything further than surfing Internet, chat rooms, and email. I didn’t have to read through the HELP files, but I’m sure a beginner level PC user would have to spend hours doing so. Heck, even knowing what I know the first 2 attempts wound up drink coasters. 🙂 ———————————————————————————————————————- Using the same program you evaluated in the Cognitive Walkthrough discussion, apply the Heuristic Evaluation concepts to the interface. What are the outcomes? Did you discover flaws with the system? What were they and how were they discoverd? Second discussion: please explain (Heuristic Evaluation discussion forum) in one and half page. Here is an example for you: My Cognitive Walk-through was conducted on the task to scan in a picture and send it to Adobe Photoshop for graphical manipulation. I will apply the Heuristic Analysis characteristics to the same procedure. Step 1 is to ensure there is a simple/natural dialog within the task of scanning and editing the photo. Within my scanner software, HPSCANJET, I thought the software was very easy to use. All menus and task selections are identified in plain user language so that anyone can understand what their meanings are. There is no irrelevant information dispalyed, all data is relevant to the task of scanning. In addition, I thought the program did a very good job at leaving my selections and information on the screen as well as my scanned graphic so I could refer back to them if necessary. One more thing is that the sequence is very easy within this program, anyone can scan once and have the task memorized for easy functionality in future scans. Within my graphic software, ADOBE PHOTOSHOP, I thought the initial desktop button, menus and selections are identified very simply with natural and easy to understand labels. However, one thing to note here is that the next level down, like within a menu selection, there were more labels and selections that are designed for graphical artists and experienced users, more like engineering type selections. In addition, the defualt desktop layout within the program is cluttered with many dialog and selection boxes opened up automatically. If I wanted to have these open I could do so under the window menu item. I recommend changing the default desktop layout to one that is less cluttered and allow the users to open what they feel they need. One more thing is that I felt that the task sequences for functions were the same as most windows programs. This made getting around the program very easy because I already knew where to find common features and tasks. I also thought the menu and tool bars made it very easy to get around and to find the desired actions or tasks. Step 2 is to check for feedback to the users for the actions they are about to take. Within the HPSCANJET software, there are dialog and informational text features that explain, in normal language, what actions you are taking and how they will apply to the graphic you are working with. For example, in taking a scan from 256 color to 16 million colors I get a prompt box to say that my file size will increase from 60K to 283K and whether or not I wanted to do this. I feel that this is excellent feedback for the users. Within the ADOBE PHOTOSHOP sofware there are even better feedback prompts. You are constantly bombarded with prompts, alerts and text boxes to let you know the results of your actions and what they will have on the graphic. One other nice thing here is the ability to preview in real-time all your changes and modifications to the graphic as you select certain actions. Step 3 is to check for clearly provided exits and cancellations. Within my HPSCANJET software this is one area that needs work. There are clearly marked re-scan features and ways to change the type of scan, but there are no exit buttons. The only way to end the program and stop the scan is to select File, Stop Scan or File, Exit. The program could easily have buttons on the scan box to select these features. Within the ADOBE PHOTOSHOP software there are so many dialog and confirmation boxes that appear as you move through the program that you could easily screw up your graphic or get lost. ADOBE does a great job of putting an exit or cancellation button in EVERY selection box or modification confirmation prompt that pops up. This is a very nice feature as I know that if I screw the graphic up, I can cancel it or undo it immediately. Step 4 is to check for good, clear error messages. This is one area that I was not able to test very well. Within the HPSCANJET software I was not able to create any error messages, the program always let me know via text information prompts as to what I was doing. No matter what I did, I could not crash or get any error messages. This is a good thing as it tells me that any novice user can fat finger their way through the software and still get the end result very easily without a lot of errors. Within the ADOBE PHOTOSHOP software I did get some prompts and alerts. However, they were not error messages. They were prompts and dialog boxes to ask for my confirmation concerning the selection I just choose. This was a very nice thing, because I could just cancel out and get back to my original graphic. This again tells me that the software if very reliable with few errors and designed with the users in mind. James Sullivan Here is an additional example for you: My evaluation is on the previously discussed DVD Shrink decryption, compression, and re-authoring program. It is freeware that anyone can download and utilize which HAS NOT been banned by law, unlike many other similar applications in its class. The first thing to determine was the effectiveness of this program by picking apart the interface. For someone without an intermidiate skill level of PC programs and applications the HELP files are going to be a definite must the first time around. The menu is rather basic and does follow the accepted guidelines that most people are familiar and comfortable with. The toolbar buttons, in my opinion, are self explanatory once you have a general understanding of DVD applied concepts (i.e. re-authoring of menus, etc.). There are advanced features that give you more options and control over the re-authoring process, but these are not critical for simply copying and compressing the desired media. There are options to set the desired parameters for the data compression, but these would be for the more advanced user who knows and understands more about video editing. But for a general application, the default auto-compression works like a charm, not requiring the user to be a professional. The application windows and drop down menus are uniform and and easy to understand, which make it pretty easy to discern for even a beginner. There are HELP files that are available should a beginner have a little difficulty understanding the terminology and usability of the interface. The one thing that I did not find that I think would make the application more user friendly is the ability to remember setting prefrences for the re-authoring aspect. To give you a quick example of this let’s say you typically don’t care to have previews, sub menus, alternate languages or sub titles on your copied media. Well, each time you use this program you have to uncheck/deselect those options manually each and every time you begin a new project. To not have to do this each time and be able to just open the new file and click one button and “let her rip” would be sweet. Maybe I would just like to live in Utopia. 🙂 Over all, the program is pretty easy to navigate and get around in. The command confirmation follows a rather standard format. If there is a command that may take an action on the file there are prompts that asks the user to confirm that those are the actions the user is wanting to make. This safeguards one from making any unwanted actions or steps throughout the process of the project that is being worked on. The confirmation warnings/notifications are in plain English that even a beginner can understand. The use of technical jargon babbling is kept to a mild roar throughout the application. This makes DVD Shrink a feasible program for the beginner to the novice and onto the advanced user. Project hault, termination, and undo options are available, however, I have had issues with the program timing out and becoming non-respondant when haulting a project. I know this has nothing to do with the resources of my PC so I have chalked that up to it being freeware, which is never performance perfect…or else it wouldn’t be free, eh? And as with nearly every application on the market DVD Shrink can be easily exited (providing an “are you sure” prompt) at any time. I haven’t used this program very extensively to its fullest capability, but I have only gotten one error message which I didn’t understand. I can’t even tell you what the error was as it seemed like Greek to me. This has only occured once and I believe it may have had something to do with the type of media I was trying to copy. There are new decryption methods being incorporated that legacy type decryptors don’t have the technology to recognize. It would be more proficient if the error messages for the decryptions were plain English…heck I would settle for Bantu then use a translator, but these decryption errors were odd looking characters that I did not recognize at all so it actually left me ignorant of the error that took place. There are slight flaws and things that could be changed to make it more user friendly, but it is in my opinion that for general application and usage DVD Shrink is rather feasible…and did I mention its free? 🙂
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