Prototyping tools are making it easier to generate and discuss many different design ideas. Unfortunately, evaluating those ideas to understand whether they are better, as opposed to just different, is still an intensely human task. User testing, parallel prototyping, concept validation, focus groups, design walkthroughs are all expensive in both people’s time and real dollars.
To save the day: cognitive crash-dummies. Just as crash dummies in the automotive industry save lives by testing the physical safety of automobiles before they are brought to market, cognitive crash-dummies save time, money, and potentially even lives, by allowing designers to automatically test their design ideas before implementing them. Cognitive crash-dummies are models of human performance that make quantitative predictions of human behavior on proposed systems without the expense of empirical studies on running prototypes. When cognitive crash-dummies are built into prototyping tools, design ideas can be rapidly expressed and easily evaluated.
This tutorial reviews the state of the art of predictive modeling and presents CogTool, a tool that integrates rapid prototyping with modeling. CogTool was developed at Carnegie Mellon and is free to use. Using CogTool, participants will learn to mock-up an interactive system and create a model of skilled performance on that mock-up. The webinar ends with a review of other tools and a look to the future of predictive modeling.
While developed in an academic setting, CogTool has been shown to be effective in industry. A usability analyst in Minneapolis, Samantha Levan, exclaims:
"CogTool predictions leave stakeholders speechless. What makes this a key tool for your user research arsenal is that you can compare expert use task time without recruiting participants for a think aloud study. This makes it an excellent choice for completely new systems that don't already have "experts." Run a couple of workflow paths through CogTool to determine which would be most efficient. I've done a few studies using both CogTool and think aloud testing, finding that the end result for both methods always results in the same design recommendation. Whenever appropriate, I like to run CogTool as an alternative to usability testing."
Audience: Designers, usability professionals and software developers who want to evaluate alternative designs. No prior knowledge of prototyping, psychology or predictive human performance modeling is required. Registration for this live webinar is available for current UXPA-MN members only. Others may join as members in order to register.
What to "bring": Please download the CogTool software to your computer prior to the webinar so you can follow along with the lesson. CogTool is freeware developed at Carnegie Mellon. You can download here.
Webinar Link: Registered participants will be emailed the link to the webinar by March 25th. Participating in the webinar will give you a chance to ask the instructor questions.
Instructor: Dr. Bonnie E. John has more than 25 years experience in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Now at IBM Research, Dr. John was head of Carnegie Mellon University's Masters Program in HCI for a dozen years, researching both human performance modeling and software engineering. She has consulted regularly in government and industry. This course is modeled on a course she taught at CHI (Computer-Human Interaction conference) in 2013.