Date of Original Version

1999

Type

Working Paper

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

Contextual Inquiry is a method developed by Beyer and Holtzblatt for grounding design in the context of the work being performed. In this paper, we describe how we adapted the method successfully to perform analyses of pre-existing videotaped presentations. Our goal was to find improvements for a slide presentation program currently in development, called ‘SlideShow Commander,’ which runs on hand-held "Personal Digital Assistants" (PDAs). Contextual Inquiry provided meaningful data on the structures and typical problems found in presentations, on which we based our design ideas. We then further analyzed the Contextual Inquiry data, beyond what Beyer and Holtzblatt suggest. This new step provided a means to prioritize the design suggestions, as well as a way to motivate the potential commercial usefulness of the software. Deciding upon the value and direction of further effort is essential for software development; by using our adapted form of Contextual Inquiry, we were able to make and defend these decisions.

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