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by Jared Spool

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 10 months ago


Putting Context into Context





  • What is the user trying to accomplish?
  • How will the user know when they are done? What will be different?
  • How does the user describe their goals?
  • How do the user's actions fit into the objectives of the organization?
  • Who established the goals for the user? Were they self anointed or were they assigned by someone else?
  • Are the user's immediate goals part of a larger scope? (For example, the new point-of-sale application is one piece of delivering an entire new line of business.)



  • What are the steps the user will follow?
  • Who defined the steps?
  • How prepared is the user for each step? (Do they have it all laid out or does it seem to be ad-hoc?)
  • How does information flow from one step to the next?
  • What are the various roles (such as creator, contributor, editor, or approver) that are involved?
  • How long does the process take?
  • What artifacts (such as design documents, emails, or whiteboard drawings)are used?
  • How do the various team members communicate with each other?
  • What other tools are used during the process?


Inputs & Outputs:

  • What materials and information will the user need to successfully use the interface?
  • Who will they get that information from?
  • What do they do when the information isn't complete?
  • What will they need from the interface to continue with their overarching goals?
  • Who do they give those results to?
  • What happens after they've turned them over? (Does the user move on to something else or do they have more interactions?)



  • What similar things has the user done in their past?
  • Is this something that repeats itself or is the use a first-time occasion?
  • What journals or magazines do they read?
  • What kind of "organizational memory" helps the user avoid mistakes of the past?
  • How has the organization survived without this design in the past?
  • What competitors systems have users taken advantage of?
  • How will the user learn how to use the tool?
  • What training has the user received?
  • What conferences has the user attended?



  • What physical, temporal, or financial constraints are likely to impose themselves on the user's work?
  • What ideals are subverted by reality as the work progresses?
  • What constraints can the user predict in advance? What can't be predicted?


Physical Environment:

  • How much room does the user have to work?
  • Do they have a place to store the documentation?
  • What materials on their desk?
  • What access do they have to necessary information (such as user manuals)?
  • What is taped to their monitor?


Tools In use:

  • What hardware and software does the user currently use?
  • Do they participate in online forums?



  • What are the interactions between the primary user and other people who are affected by the tool?
  • Does the user interact with other people who use the tool?

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