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IS480 Team wiki: 2014T2 Try Hard Prototype

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Team Try Hard
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Personas

Primary Persona: Sophia Heng

Sophia Heng, 32 years old, is currently the administrative executive for School of Information Systems at Singapore Management University(SMU). As the administrative executive at the Dean’s office, Sophia is involved in most of the administrative matters within the faculty. Sophia was chosen for this role as she had displayed many qualities such as diligence, proactiveness, positivity and determination when faced with an obstacle.

She was recently assigned the daunting task to plan and schedule all the students’ admission interview for the school’s faculty every year. As there are no current systems or applications in place to assist her in her task of scheduling the interviews, Sophia resorts to using the Microsoft Excel File and Google Form which she has been using for the past few years to tackle this gruelling task. She is particularly annoyed at this current method as she feels that the two technologies that she is so reliant on do not adequately assist her in her scheduling task. While Sophia can reuse the same Google Form which she had used the previous year, she recalls the struggles she faced scheduling interviews due to the plethora of ways in which the interviewers input their preferences. Another frustration which she has is that the task of interpreting and translating all the availability & preference responses into the final schedule which is particularly tedious and painful. She hopes that there can be a more effective and convenient way to tackle this scheduling task. Preferably,one that will handle the other issues which she encounters, such as the swapping of sessions and notification of changes made, which the scheduling task entails. That way she will be able to dedicate more time to dealing with the other administrative problems that are more crucial.

Secondary Persona: Prof. Danil Ivanov

Professor Danil, 40 year old, is a full-time professor from the School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University. Prof. Danil has a very packed schedule, every week he has 5 classes, multiple consultation sessions with students, faculty meetings and research studying to do. Being an educator in the field of Information Systems, he is very particular about efficiency, and firmly believes that manual processes can be effectively replaced by the implementation of an IT solution.

He plays the role of the lead interviewer in the annual student admission interviews as he has many years of experience in being an interviewer for the faculty. His interview schedules are based on his response on his availability & preferences. In the past, he has been inconvenienced multiple times when he was plotted for an interview slot in which he has indicated that he was unavailable. After much pondering and prediction of how the current process is being done, he believes that the high amount of mistakes made in the schedule is due to the heavy reliance on human intervention during the scheduling of the interviewers. As a highly qualified IT professional, he hopes that the faculty he works in would embrace the use of technology to replace one of its most manual and tedious processes.

Scenarios

Scenario 1: Availability & Preference Notification and Schedule Generation Configuration

As the period for students admissions interviews draws closer, Sophia, the administrative executive has been tasked by the Dean’s Office to schedule the entire interview schedule for the upcoming intake year. However to do so, she requires information about the availability and preferences of all the interviewers.

As such, Sophia navigates to the ScheduleMyInterview application, which is a system that was made to assist her in the entire scheduling process. She enters her school email and password into the system. Once she has logged into the system, she selects the preparation phase of the interview scheduling which redirects her to the page where she can set the deadline for the interviewers to respond to the availability and preferences form. A notification which shows that she has set the interviewers response deadline is then displayed in the notification bar. Within the same page, Sophia is able to select the range of dates for interviews, to do this she selects the start and end date indicating the range of dates. This task is then followed by removing the dates where there are no interview sessions based on the dates that she has selected before. Once this is done, she then navigates to the next page where she is required to filter out the interviewers who are ineligible for scheduling, this is done by dragging and dropping the different icons with the interviewer’s names to the respective columns. After selecting the eligible interviewers, she is then required to add the necessary constraints for each interviewer. She clicks on the add constraint button which reveals to her 2 dropdown lists, one with the names of the lead interviewers for whom she can set a constraint, and another list of the non-lead interviewers that the lead interviewer cannot be scheduled with. When she is done, she selects save and next, and is then prompted by the application to notify all the eligible interviewers that the availability and preference gathering process has begun.

Scenario 2: Interviewer fill in availability & preference page and Sophia generate schedule

Prof. Danil, a lead interviewer, receives the notification email from the ScheduleMyInterview application. He follows the link and is brought to the ScheduleMyInterview application where the information of the current availability & preference phase is displayed. He logs into the system and is redirected to the availability and preference page, where he is able to indicate his availability & preferences and submit his response. He fills in his availability and preferences. He indicates his preference for each day of the week for the months selected, whether he prefers the morning or afternoon slot. Furthermore, he indicates the days that he is unavailable to conduct interviewes for the months indicated for interview.Once he is done, he confirms his response and returns back to his work.

In the Dean’s Office, Sophia is notified that Prof. Danil has updated his availability and preferences. She navigates to the view interviewer’s availability page where she is able to monitor and see the responses of the interviewers.

On the day of the deadline for responses, Sophia logs in to the ScheduleMyInterview application and checks the status of the responses. Upon seeing that all the interviewers have submitted their response, she then selects on the generation tab which leads her to the summary page where she’s shown the figures on the number of interview sessions she has arranged to have, interviewers she has chosen, the number of interviewer’s responses received and the number of constraints that she has set. After checking the numbers, she then selects on “Generate Schedule” to generate the admissions interview schedule. Sophia is then redirected to another page where she is presented with the generated schedule.

Scenario 3: Making Adjustments to the Generated Schedule

After Sophia has generated the schedule but has not disseminated it to the interviewers, Prof Danil reflected that he has made an error in his input during the availability and preference gathering process. As Sophia has already generated the schedule, she is required to just make changes only on Prof Danil’s interview timeslots and not regenerate the entire schedule. She navigates to ScheduleMyInterview and logs into the system, she selects on the adjustment phase which directs her to the generated schedule page. She selects on the filters where displays to her the criteria for filtering based on the following:

  • Name
  • Date Range
  • Type of Interviewer
  • Timing of Interview

She then enters Prof Danil’s name into the name field of the filter. It narrows down the scheduled interviews down to only the interviews which Prof Danil is assigned to. She checks to confirm that Prof Danil is scheduled for an interview session on the date that he has indicated his unavailability. Sophia then clears the filter and proceeds to swap Prof Danil’s session with another interviewer. She selects on the interview slot which Prof Danil is unavailable to attend and the system automatically shows her the other timeslots which are possible to make the required swap. She then select one of the other possible interview session and make the swap. The system then indicates to her that the swap has been made by showing the change she made in the notification bar.

Prototype

Paper Prototype

Download our paper prototype here!

Compiled Heuristic Problems

Heuristics and Severity Rating

Heuristics Severity Ratings

1. Visibility of system status

2. Match between system and the real world

3. User control and freedom

4. Consistency and standards

5. Error prevention

6. Recognition rather than recall

7. Flexibility and efficiency of use

8. Aesthetic and minimalist design

9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

10. Help and documentation

Not related to any heuristic

0 = I don't agree that this is a usability problem

1 = Cosmetic problem only

2 = Minor usability problem

3 = Major usability problem

4 = Usability catastrophe

Changes to be Implemented

Problem 1
Name Inefficiency of swapping method
Heuristic 5. Error Prevention, 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use Severity 3
Description:

In order to edit the schedule to change the time slot of one interviewer, the user needs to randomly select the dates and see if the swap is able to be done. This is not an efficient way of changing the dates for a particular interviewer as it might take a while for a valid swap to be possible.

Proposed Solution:

Only allow the admin to make valid changes by making the invalid choices unclickable. When we choose an interview to make a swap only the possible interviews that are possible to be swapped will be highlighted.

Problem 2
Name Removal of interviewers who are not eligible is not very clearly shown
Heuristic 3. User control and freedom, 4. Consistency and standards, 5. Error prevention Severity 3
Description:

After selecting the interviewers who are no longer eligible, the names of these professors are still reflected in the table for user’s selection. This does not clearly show that the interviewers have been removed from the list.

Proposed Solution:

Create 2 columns, one with the list of names of the faculty who are conducting the interviews and another column with a list of names of faculty who are not conducting interviews.

Problem 3
Name Interviewer’s Availability and Preference Response - Textbox (Unclear Format)
Heuristic 4. Consistency and standards, 5. Error prevention Severity 3
Description:

Under preferences, users are supposed to fill in textbox with unavailable dates. It is unclear how to format input for multiple dates.

Proposed Solution:

Change the textbox to a calendar view with checkboxes to select dates.

Problem 4
Name Unclear usage & definition of constraints
Heuristic 1. Visibility of system status, 10. Help and documentation Severity 3
Description:

User constraints are not properly defined to assist users in understanding constraints. Also there is no information shown on the status of the various constraints that has been added.

Proposed Solution:

Provide step by step instruction to guide the user through setting the constraints.

Problem 5
Name The system does not show the user when the date is for the deadline of the Availability & Preference Response
Heuristic 2. Match between system and real world Severity 3
Description:

The interviewer is not notified as to when the deadline for stating of preference is. As the faculty have other things at hand and are busy people, they might miss the deadline and not even submit their preferences.

Proposed Solution:

Provide a welcome page which show the user the deadline of the availability and preference response and other information. Add in a line that informs the interviewer should submit the Interviewers’ Availability and Preference Response.

Problem 6
Name Ambiguity in swaps made
Heuristic 4. Consistency and standards Severity 3
Description:

The screen for the changing of interviewers or the swapping of dates is not clearly defined. It does not show who the admin is making the change for. With a substantial number of interviewers to keep track of, this might pose a problem for the user eventually as she tries to change the schedule, should she need to do so. What is shown is only in the filter section, but after the filter section is closed, the user does not know whose timing has been swapped.

Proposed Solution:

Notifications of the swap made will be displayed within the notification bar and the name of the interviewer involved in the swap will be provided.

Problem 7
Name There is no "go live" button for the admin to publish the generated schedule to the rest
Heuristic 2. Match between system and the real world Severity 3
Description:

After generating the schedule and making all the necessary swaps, the admin has no way of releasing the schedule to the interviewers.

Proposed Solution:

Add in a "Go live" button at the bottom of the generated schedule which will send the generated schedule to all interviewers.

Problem 8
Name There is no page that shows user the availability of interviews
Heuristic 1. Visibility of system status Severity 2
Description:

Admin is unable to view interviewers’ response on their availability, there is no clear indication how the admin can check the response information received from interviewers.

Proposed Solution:

Add in a page to allow Sophia to view the individual responses of the interviewers. A drop down list will be included so that the admin is able to select a specific interviewer’s name and see his/her individual response.

Problem 9
Name Selecting the dates with no interviews after selecting interview dates does not seem intuitive to the user
Heuristic 4. Consistency & standards, 6.Recognition rather than recall Severity 2
Description:

Selecting the dates where there are no interview sessions immediately after selecting the date range for interviews might be misleading and confusing to the user. This could result in an error being made during the configuration.

Proposed Solution:

Add an instructions before the tab so that the user knows what to do next (ie. Selecting the days that does not have interviews).

Problem 10
Name Unintuitive naming such as “Select Feedback Date”
Heuristic 2. Match between system and the real world Severity 2
Description:

The naming of feedback date selection might not be intuitive enough for a user to know exactly what it is meant for.

Proposed Solution:

Change the naming to Set Interviewers' Availability and Preferences Response Dateline.

Problem 11
Name Unintuitive naming such as “Select Feedback Date”
Heuristic 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design Severity 2
Description:

After generating the schedule, the calendar page seems be too cluttered, this problem could be especially serious if there are a couple of interviews in a day.

Proposed Solution:

Rearrange the display of the interviewers' names within a calendar day to a less cluttered format.

Problem 12
Name The word "Next" button forces the admin to go through the process in one shot
Heuristic 3. User control and freedom, 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use Severity 1
Description:

The next button does not save the progress of the admin, so she is forced to complete all the stages all at one time. She is not able to continue her work in a separate session.

Proposed Solution:

Use a “Save and Next” button instead of a “Next” button.

Problem 13
Name Navigation of the pages
Heuristic 3. User control and freedom Severity 1
Description:

It will be good to show where the user is at every page, for instance, whether they are at preparation or other tabs.

Proposed Solution:

Add in headers in the top left corner of every page.

Changes Not Implemented

Problem 1
Name Seems to be a lot to click through in Interviewer preferences
Heuristic 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use Severity 2
Description:

Interviewer has a lot to click to select his preferences, might spend a lot of time, especially when checking against his own personal schedule

Proposed Solution:

The interviewer’s preferences part is modeled similar to the current Google doc form, the interviewers have no issue with this form style as it does its job and they do not that it is a hassle at all.

Problem 2
Name No confirmation of generated schedule
Heuristic 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use Severity 2
Description:

Generation of schedule should have a confirmation after it has been generated to avoid confusion.

Proposed Solution:

It is not necessary for a confirmation of the generated schedule as the user will be redirected to the generated schedule page. This is intuitive enough for the user to know that the schedule has been generated.

Problem 3
Name Too many screens for date selection
Heuristic 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design Severity 1
Description:

Too many screens on the pop-out window when selecting the dates for generating the different date criteria.

Proposed Solution:

There were no popups in our paper prototype, the selection of the dates was implemented in an accordion style and the user was free to go back and edit her response.

Problem 4
Name Selection of Interviewer page is quite messy
Heuristic 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design Severity 1
Description:

User list which Sophia is filtering participants from is not the best design and is messy and difficult to use

Proposed Solution:

We felt that it was the best way for the admin to only display information that she needs to see.

Problem 5
Name Summary page displayed before User can ‘Generate Schedule’ does not list names of interviewers
Heuristic 0. Not related to any heuristic Severity 1
Description:

User cannot view interviewer list, inability to double check names before moving on the the next step, that is, generating schedule.

Proposed Solution:

The addition of the names will cause the page to be very cluttered.

Problem 6
Name Excessive white space on the homepage
Heuristic 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design Severity 1
Description:

Too much white space on homepage with limited content.

Proposed Solution:

The white spaces on the paper prototype is due to smaller table/page that was snipped. The table/page will be stretched over based on the screen resolution.

Problem 7
Name Placement of buttons not intuitive
Heuristic 5. Error prevention Severity 0
Description:

Buttons are place in unconventional positions on the page.

Proposed Solution:

The reason why buttons might not be placed in conventional location is because we foresee that data will accumulate, taking up a full page causing the button to be hidden when the user enters the page. Though this might be unconventional but all buttons are clearly visible and are standardized throughout the application.

Problem 8
Name Admin is not alerted to changes/modification unless on Home page
Heuristic 1. Visibility of system status Severity 0
Description:

There is no other method alerting Sophia to any changes or modification unless she monitors the homepage of the system.

Proposed Solution:

The notification bar is located on the left sidebar in every page, not just the homepage. The admin will be able to see any updates no matter which page she is on.

Problem 9
Name Changes made by users should be confirmed by Admin
Heuristic 1. Visibility of system status Severity 0
Description:

When changes are made by users in the schedule, Sophia should be able to veto the changes if there are certain constraints.

Proposed Solution:

There is no need for the admin to approve of any swaps made, she only needs to be notified.

Problem 10
Name Inconsistent date picker
Heuristic 4. Consistency and standards Severity 0
Description:

Date picker for the first scenarios at different screens are different.

Proposed Solution:

This is probably due to our drawing, the date pickers were meant to be the same.

Problem 11
Name Interview dates cannot be edited
Heuristic 6. Recognition rather than recall Severity 0
Description:

User is unable to edit interview dates once it is chosen, only way to do so is to restart the whole process.

Proposed Solution:

She can just click on the link in the left navigation bar to go to the page and edit the dates.

Problem 12
Name Banners are not consistent
Heuristic 4. Consistency and Standards Severity 0
Description:

Different designs for different windows.

Proposed Solution:

The admin and interviewers have a slightly different view. However, all admin pages have a consistent view, and all interviewer’s pages have another view which is consistently implemented across all the pages that the interviewer will see.

Problem 13
Name Sidebar menu inconsistent with home page phases
Heuristic 4. Consistency and Standards Severity 0
Description:

Phases in homepage are circular whereas sidebar is in rectangles.

Proposed Solution:

Conventionally, phases are normally in a circular form to associate a more chronological format, whereas buttons are entirely up to the system. In this case, the homepage phase does not function as clickable buttons, whereas the sidebar menu is. Therefore, they serve two separate functions and does not need to be consistent with each other.

Problem 14
Name Size of date range not specified
Heuristic 3. User control and freedom Severity 0
Description:

User will be uncertain on what date range he/she is allowed to search. If user chooses too large a date range, system might not display based on screen size without scrolling.

Proposed Solution:

The calendar view is fixed to per month or per week, this will not affect the the range of date as it will only be fixed to that, so there will be no scrolling needed at all.