September 12, 2012 class plan

The class is divided into 3 main parts:

  1. Mental models – discuss applications of concepts and wrap-up the Cognition topic.
  2. Usability inspection and heuristic evaluation
  3. Preparation for presentations for the next 2 weeks

Please read below for instructions for class activities for each:

1. Mental models

The purpose of this activity is to gain a better understanding of mental models and to see how the concept can be applied to improve interface design.


  1. Create groups of 3-4 people.
  2. Work with your group to identify and explain examples of user’s mental model, represented model, and system model for 2 different products. These products can be a vacuum cleaner, a feature on some software, a car GPS, text messaging, a phone app, the A/C, water heater – anything with controls (that is, with an interface). For both products, once you explicate the 3 types of models, critique the represented model. Figure out what is appropriate about it and what, if anything, can be improved.
  3. Present your insights in a few slides. Use this file on Google Docs to create your slides. All teams use one file. Make sure you create a title slide with student names for each team.
  4. Each team has 3 minutes to present their favorite example.
  5. Ask questions, discuss. If Dr. V is not in class, postpone this step until you’re finished with the usability heuristics presentations.

2. Usability heuristics

The purpose of this activity is to better understand Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics by providing examples of each.


  1. Create 10 groups (2 people per group). Pair with someone you have never worked with before.
  2. Look at Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics from one of the readings for today.
  3. Each group picks one heuristic – go around the room clockwise and count from 1 to 10 to assign one heuristic to each group.
  4. Each group has to find 3 very clear examples that illustrate the heuristic they were assigned.
  5. Each group posts the heuristic name, description, and 3 examples on this Google Doc file. All 20 students use the same file. Make sure the heuristics are presented in Nielsen’s original order.
  6. Review slides as a class, discuss questions and clarifications.

3. Usability principles and IxD elements presentations

See information about the presentations for the following two weeks and sign up for a topic for each week.


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Write comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: