TwinTide Newsletter N.4, May 2013
The Number 4 of the TWINTIDE Newsletter is available for download at here. The current issue is dedicated to the TwinTide Training School TUTOREM which was organized in Autumn 2012, in Bled, Slovenia.
WG 2: Transferability of D&E Methods across IT-enhanced Sectors

Coordinator: Christian Stary, University of Linz (Austria)

Overview:

The primary objective of this activity is to identify and analyse sector-unique design and evaluation methodologies in terms of their underlying conceptual models, practical protocols, and transferability to other sectors.

Basic Concepts:

The Action makes use of user and task knowledge as focal points for transferring D&E methods. For the structured representation of methods, concept analysis will be used. It allows describing a method according to its key concepts, and has been successfully in cross-disciplinary analyses in knowledge management. ‘Concept Analysis is an established technique used in the social sciences, such as philosophy and education, on order to derive a ‘formula' that in turn can be used to generate definitions and descriptive phrases for highly complex systems.'

The concept analysis approach rests on obtaining consensus on three major dimensions of a given concept (Table 1):

  1. A list of key attributes that must be present in the definition, vision, or mission statement.
  2. A list of illustrative examples.
  3. A list of illustrative non-examples.

This approach is particularly useful in tackling multidisciplinary domains such as HCI, for clear criteria can be developed to enable sorting into categories such as design versus evaluation, tasks versus goals, and usability versus user experience. In addition, valuable contributions to the project can be derived through production of ontologies (semantic maps of key concepts), identification of core features of methods, and identification of know-how, and know-why.

Concept analysis can be used to visually map out conceptual information in the process of defining a term. This technique is derived from the fields of philosophy and science education and can be used in clearly defining complex, value-laden terms such as refinement, tuning or abstraction. It is an approach to help develop a rich, in-depth understanding of a concept. Table 1 outlines the major components of this approach.

Table 1: Major components of concept analysis approach
CONCEPT NAME (e.g., Task conformance)
Key Attribute Example Non-example
  1. task-related functionality
  2. minimal cognitive workload to identify features
  3. ...
  1. typesetting adapted to work document, e.g, stylesheets
  2. workflow support for completing a task
  3. ...
  1. typesetting without style sheets
  2. arrangement of features according to names
  3. ...

Such an open but elaborative structure is useful for the context-sensitive representation of methods, as they vary in level of detail, background, and focus.

Implementation Plan:

Three major tasks will be tackled:

WG2a: To identify criteria for assessing method transferability;

WG2b: To collect cases of successful and non-successful attempts to transfer D&E methods across sectors and analyse the associated contributing factors;

WG2c: To analyse D&E methods commonly applied across a range of sectors (cf. variations in actual implementations) and those uniquely in one sector (cf. mapping tasks to methods/tools);

To fill gaps in existing members' knowledge, the Action’s partners will interview some development team on method knowledge and then collaboratively analyse transferability in terms of concept maps, which have been used in HCI for task-based design, but can also be used to represent knowledge in different domains. In general, concept mapping is a technique for eliciting and representing knowledge in network structures. They contain mutually related concepts, i.e. mental constructs. Concepts are termed nodes and relationships are termed links. Concepts and links can be labelled. Links can be non-, uni- or bi-directional. Concepts and links may belong to categories, or be simply associative. The Action will build on existing research here.

By communicating information represented in such maps understanding and misunderstanding can be avoided. The Action’s partners intend to use concept maps for the three WG2 tasks, because constructs are arranged according to an arbitrary issue of interest. While constructs are named and structured by associating them, a contextual representation is established.

Expected outcomes

Transferability criteria will be identified and validated by applying them to appropriate cases. Facilitating and hindering factors for the cross-sector transfer of D&E methods will be identified. Results of concept analysis will be published as a WG2 deliverable and fed forward to WG4.