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Upcoming Meeting

Friday, June 8 July 6 - 8am PDT / 10am MDT / 11am EDT / 4pm GMT



  • Name change to UX Walkthroughs
  • Updates
  • Feedback on the coordination and process documentation ("Working Group Coordination" and "Evaluation Process" sections below)
  • Discuss reporting format (please take a look at/comment on/edit example template)
  • Discuss prioritization scale for issues
  • Other?

Note taker rotation:

Previous meeting notes:   2007- May - 11 Meeting Agenda and Notes

User Experience Inspections of uPortal, Moodle, Sakai

(Usability and accessibility Heuristic Evaluations and Cognitive Walkthroughs)


The working list of heuristics and cognitive walk-through questions for the Fluid project is being compiled at the User Experience Inspection wiki page. We welcome your input, and would very much appreciate additional volunteers to help with the evaluation process.

User Experience Inspection Protocol / Checklist

The checklist is organic and will continue to be refined as we learn from doing the hybrid inspections/evaluations.

Working Groups

Please feel free to add, delete and/or more your name around this list.  This list of names came from volunteers at the May 11th meeting.


  • Mike (coordinator)
  • Rich
  • Colin
  • Julie

"To Do" list - User Experience Inspection Protocol

As a group: 

  1. In Progress - Create list of usabilty accessibility heuristics - use draft list to get started.  In the spirit of agile, we'll refactor the list as we learn from the experience of combining the usability and accesibiliy heuristics and the cognitive walkthrough methods
  2. Agree on evaluation reporting format


  1. Agree on user profiles
  2. Define scenarios for cognitive walkthroughs
  3. Define priority settings for reporting out (evaluators will go away do their evaluation and come back together to synthesize the results)

A Framework for the


Walkthrough Process

The process we're putting together has a lot of autonomy in it, and great potential for imaginative discovery.  But we also want to achieve as much cross-pollination as we can between the teams, both in setting up the inspection plans and publishing the results.  The intention is that each of teams makes its own plan, but with lots of open discussion so that everyone can see what everyone else is doing and borrow each other's best ideas. This should be easy if we all use the wiki as our common forum for planning and discussing.
Let's consider what is common to all the teams. We can start with a description of what a "protocol" means in this context. Roughly, a protocol is is a specification of the tests, processes, scenarios, and goals that determine the procedure for an inspection or walkthrough; and a description of what information is to be captured.


  1. A protocol that clearly specifies what we are going to do, and what information we are going to capture along the way.
  2. A predetermined clearly specified target that we are going to inspect: (product, version, instance, set of chunks) - the thing we're going to do it to.
  3. A report template specifying the format, style and content of the report of the information we capture.


It's worth mentioning here that the inspections are bound to produce interesting information about each product that may not fit the report template and it will be up to the teams to find a way to communicate it to the rest of us - probably by recording their observations in the wiki..

Working Group Coordination

There is one inspection team per project/application. Teams are expected to be self-organizing and to form their own plans on how to proceed, but to communicate actively with the other teams on their plans and decisions - primarily through the wiki. Much in our approach is experimental, and it will be valuable to record what works, and what does not.  Here is an outline for consideration by the team members and coordinators:

  1. The coordinator arranges an initial team meeting, using the Breeze meeting room or other convenient venue.
  2. The team members identify their areas of experience, expertise, and interest in:
    1. Accessibility - cognitive, visual, etc
    2. Usability
    3. Cognitive walkthroughs
  3. The team discusses the protocol (See Clayton's outline)
    1. What usability heuristics do the members find most suitable?
    2. What accessibility measures/tools are to be used?
    3. What user profiles are to be assumed?
    4. What cognitive walkthrough scenarios are to be attempted?
    5. What refinements are required in the protocol?
  4. The team assesses coverage. What areas are covered, and with how much (desirable) redundancy? What areas aren't covered?
  5. Team member partnerships are arranged where possible to address usability and accessibility synchronously. Team leads are assigned in areas of expertise.
  6. The team discusses the logistics of actual inspection activities:
    1. What are the problems with geographically distributed teams?
    2. Can the Breeze facility help to overcome the problems?
  7. The team discusses reporting:
    1. Does the proposed template meet the team's needs?
    2. Are refinements to the template required?
    3. What additional information will be reported?
    4. How can results be aggregated with those from other teams (consistency, style, references to heuristic principles, etc.)
  8. The team determines the test target and records a clear definition of it, sufficient to permit repeatability of the assessments. (See Defining Inspection Targets)
  9. The team creates a test plan covering:
    1. Activity assignments
    2. Schedule
    3. Selected heuristcs, and CW methods
    4. User profiles
    5. Deliverables (what is to be captured from the inspections)
    6. Reporting template
  10. The test plan is published in the wiki.
  11. The team commences the evaluation process.

Evaluation Process (details of #11 above)

Assumptions:  Protocol has been created

  1. Break application into "chunks" for evaluation (highest priority areas first)
  2. Create usage scenarios for cognitive walkthroughs
  3. Individual evaluation by 3 - 5 evaluators
  4. Synthesize and prioritize findings
  5. Brainstorm design session (identify conceptual solutions to high priority issues).  Are there good component candidates?
  6. Write and share out report
  7. Incorporate findings into community (some will drive component development - others can be used for general product development in the communities)
    1. Sakai - Integrate into requirements group.  Do we need to create jira tickets?  Are these really "design bugs" conceptually and thus have a different status than requirements?
    2. Moodle - how does this get fed back into the process?
    3. uPortal - how do we integrate into their requirements process?  Deliver findings to the community?
  8. Look for pain across applications? Are there issues a component(s) can address well?

Selecting a Target Instance of a Product for Inspection

With complex and flexible products such as uPortal, Sakai, and Moodle, which are highly configurable, customizable, extendable, and responsive to their local institutional environment, defining a test-bed environment for inspection presents some challenges. Some thoughts and suggestions are expressed in: Defining Inspection Targets.

Heuristic evaluation & Cognitive walkthrough reference material:

Jacob Nielsen'sdescription and overview