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Update on work in hand

Whilst going over the decisions made at the previous meeting it was clear that many issues were arising and Yunji mentioned that it would be helpful to divide up the concerns under Look&Feel  and Functionality.   The resulting picture developed with the priority being set to find an easier way of uploading media.

aluiar plan

Synote - possible changes

This is to be followed by a way of making it easier to work within the Player, first as someone who is just viewing, listening, annotating and exporting media and then, as a separate process, as one who edits and analyses media.   This is where the colour coding, conventions and more detailed transcript editing takes place.

The look and feel changes include a step by step approach beginning with instructions appearing on the home page.  Better filters for search and more guidance on other pages as the user progresses.  Page name changes and other items are going to be added as we work through each section in a similar fashion to the way the interviews were carried out.

Changes will be shown at the design stage on the blog so they can be agreed by members of the team and others using Synote.

Agenda for the 2nd ALUIAR meeting

The second ALUIAR meeting will be held at 09.30 on July 11th and the Agenda is fairly brief.

  • Apologies
  • Review of work to date
  • Transcriptions – Conventions – Mary Gobbi
  • Persona
  • Storyboarding new ideas for Synote
  • AOB
  • Next Meeting.

So far the results from the System Usability Scale (SUS) – “the ten-item attitude Likert scale giving a global view of subjective assessments of usability” (wikipedia) have given Synote a score of 50 where 100 is best.  The interviewees have also provided scores for the usability of several of the web pages that make up the service.   Score were 1 for hard to use/ awful  and 6 for easy to use / excellent – the average was 2.5 in terms of usability but many commented on the clean looking design. There is a clear need to improve the usability for researchers and the learnability.

The challenge is to solve the issues around comments such as these…

“Definitely not learnable!”  every time you go to it you have to think about it all over again – you have to work out where you are going all over again!”

“It looks nice but not very helpful… I still do not know what I am meant to be searching…. Or what do I do with the advanced search…. Why search when I need to create a recording?”

“Goes to Show recording and it does not click – but I can replay and I have not even seen it for the first time?”

” There seems to be some unnecessary jargon – don’t know what private, read write, tags?  Language – what is an XML file?  Automatic transcription? Raised expectations – press converter and magically it will do it all with no work?”

“What does the ID mean? – this does not actually describe what the recording is about – just says a name… you do not know what it is – but we are not looking for any of this as we want to create a recording.”

“Some of it is there… but you do know you have three steps and these should be clearly visible as per the Olympics – or booking a airline ticket on line”.

Thoughts about initial system evaluations

PlanningInterviews to find out what stakeholders feel about Synote, as it is at the moment, are well underway.   Initially we were going to record all the sessions, but as these seem to be extending to around 2 hours at times, I have been using Microsoft OneNote and a scoring system for each web page encountered of 1-6 as to how easy it is to use.  I would like to ask everyone to send me a short audio file that sums up the main comments made during the interview so I can add them to Synote for future comparisons.

In the meantime we have also introduced the System Usability Scale as a ‘quick and dirty’ way of scoring feelings about Synote.  I have set up an iSurvey questionnaire so everyone can use the online version if I have not asked you to fill in a paper based version.

I would like to take this opportunity for thanking those who have already taken part in early interviews and look forward to the remaining few.   I will be back to constantly update all aspects of the development of Synote as a research tool so we can story board the next stage.

Meeting Minutes – 15/05/2011

Adaptable and learnable USer Interface for Analysing Recordings (ALUIAR)

synote guide1st meeting – 15/05/2011 Room 3073 Building 32 (Access Grid Room)


Mike Wald, Lisa Harris, Mary Gobbi, Gary Wills, Sebastian Skuse, Yunjia Li, Lisa Roberts and E.A. Draffan (Apologies received from Lester Gilbert for his absence).

Minutes from the meeting

Welcome and Introductions from members of the team

Work packages were discussed and Mike gave an overview of the project with the features that were mentioned in the project plan and others that might be included in the design.

It was decided that there would need to be some API changes and storyboarding of possible interfaces for various functions (Yuniji and Seb).

Mary Gobbi suggested the idea of a ‘Decision Tree’ and methodological framework for the types of interviews undertaken by researchers and the type of coding, annotations etc needed for different types of research. It was felt this would help many people and also act as a guide when deciding which features could be added to Synote and which were left to other types of software supporting research and speech transcription such as NVIVO and Transcriber.

Co-Design – taking the diagram below as a guide to the process being undertaken it was decided that short interviews with a series of stakeholders would be noted and some recorded and uploaded to Synote as part of the shared understanding and show and tell aspect of the process.  (action EA with team members plus other researchers)

co-design diagram

Millard, D., Faulds, S., Gilbert, L., Howard, Y., Sparks, D., Wills, G. and Zhang, P. (2008) Co-design for conceptual spaces: an agile design methodology for m-learning. In: IADIS International Conference Mobile Learning 2008.

Website and future communication choice – The results of this work will be visible on Synote and linked to a blog on the ALUIAR project website – the team will have a mailing list and drop box account.  (action EA and Seb)

The next team meeting will be 11th July, 09.30 – 10.30 Access Grid Room, Building 32 Level 3.

Project Aims and Objectives

ALUIAR interface for the researcherThis project aims to improve the usability and learnability of the user interface of Synote, the open source web based video and audio annotation tool. There is the need support those researchers, non-specialist and novice users who wish to transcribe audio and video recordings with synchronised text.

The key objective is to present users with an interface that is not only easy to use but is designed to suit the needs of researchers when uploading materials rather than the original users of Synote who tend to search and listen to lectures.

None of the main functionality of thee  tool will be changed, but the way in which it will be used will be enhanced, so that it is more intuitive and logical to use. Existing users have already commented on some of the issues that need to be re-examined, such as navigation flexibility, interface learnability and the organisation of recordings and search features etc.

An ethnographic approach will be taken to benchmark Synote’s current performance. A small group of users will be interviewed and ‘walked through’ the tool whilst having their opinions, concerns and behaviour (whilst using the tool) monitored. These results will then be ranked and implemented to help identify the changes that should be made to Synote. These changes will be discussed again with the stakeholders and implemented using an agile interactive approach involving end users in regular co-design, and review meetings.

The success of interventions will be measured by the participants completing a questionnaire based on John Brookes System Usability Scale (SUS) and by quantifying the qualitative results gathered in interviews from the participants.  It is felt that due to time constraints the number of interviews that take place before storyboarding interface designs will be minimal. Nielsen (2000) states that “the best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.”  The stated methods will provide quantitative and qualitative results that will inform the need to improve the adaptability, usability and learnability of Synote. Two other methods were considered but discarded due to the size of the project and time of year with many users going on holiday during July and August:

  1. Large Focus Groups – This would give a much richer pool of qualitative data, but as time is short this is an unrealistic data gathering method to undertake without going over schedule.
  2. Mass-questionnaire – These would give a greater pool of data, but work by  Nielsen (2000) also showed that “the ultimate user experience is improved much more by three tests with 5 users than by a single test with 15 users.”