In light of the critique received in the formative feedback for our application we have implemented a number of design changes to improve the usability of our system.
The critique we received regarding the setup was that there were too many input fields that needed to be filled. Users with less experience with smartphones were discouraged from using the application. We have made changes to
This usability issue arises from the fact that the users are unable to determine the purpose of the application and various functions without prior guidance. As a result the users are unable to map their profile responses to their use in the functioning of the application.
There were two approaches that we were considering in light of this feedback. The first and trivial approach was to demonstrate a video of the application in use, to allow the users to understand the systems functionalities. This approach was discarded as it would undermine the need for our system to maximize intuition and would lead to users relying on recalling correct use of our application.
The second approach that we chose was to essentially remove the initial setup. We have replaced this with an optional set up at the end of the use of our application. This benefits the application in a variety of ways. Firstly it removes the hesitation of inexperienced users to use the application. As they are now directly entering the phone number there is minimal delay in the user in initiating their desired action i.e. place a phone call to an organization.
As the profile set up is now done at the end we the user will have a basic understanding of the system’s functionality after first use. There will be a strong correlation between users typed responses and the profile fields it will become clear to the user that they are able to save their typed responses for future use.
Placing a call:
The critique we received in this portion was regarding our use of our search functionality. The critic was of the view that while placing a call the user already has an idea of how to get the number. But increasingly users rely on this information becoming instantly available to them. We have tried to replicate the view of a standard mobile call interface.
Upon starting up the application the user is led straight to the dialer so it becomes obvious for them to dial a number if they know it. Similar to other interfaces, the user has a call log tab and a search tab available to them. Upon clicking the search tab they will directly be led to the search interface where they are able to begin typing using the keyboard.
The critique we received was that users were unable to understand the use for the greeting message.
Initially we had provided this as another step in the initial set up phase. This severely undermines the importance of this message as it is there to ensure that the operator at the other end knows to expect an automated voice and responds accordingly.
Now that we have removed the initial setup we still need to enter the initial greeting. As a result we have changed this to appear as a pop-up after the first time a call is placed. We have tried to ensure that the purpose is made evident by using as simple terms as possible. We have described the function of the greeting in clear words. As most users are satisfied with the standard greeting we list the standard greeting along with the option for users to enter their own personal greeting.
As we ask this question at the start of the phone call we expect that it will map to a natural conversation as it is starting out with the greeting. We only ask this question the first time the application is run.
Interactions during call:
The critique received in this section was that the keyboard was not showing up and the users were confused as to how they input their responses. This was an implementation error and now the functionality is working correctly.
Another issue was that the users wanted the ability to verbally communicate their responses instead of being limited to just text. This was always a functionality of the system and now we have included a notification that the user is able to verbally communicate when the type response is selected. This was an error with our transferring information to the users rather than a design issue. We believe that by notifying user of this option it would take care of the problem.
A critique of the design was the use of saved response functionality was not obvious to the users. Now as the option to save responses comes at the end of the first call. During the first call if someone clicks on the saved response option the only option available is the greeting message. This should relate to how the user is supposed to run the application.
Sending Response to operator:
For our computer prototype we had used a prototyping tool that allowed us to ensure our prototype was platform independent. Upon implementing this in the Android environment we have encountered a development restriction regarding sending generated sound over the microphone during a call. We have resolved this issue by including having headphones as a requirement for the functioning of the application. The user has to place the headphones next to his microphone in order to send the voice response over the phone call to the operator.
We have placed this option at the dialer screen so that users may input the industry before making a call. Initially this was being asked from users after they placed a call but that was considered as an extra step before connecting the call.
A recurring issue that the users faced was with the language used with our system prompts. They complained that the language used was either unclear or verbose. We have attempted to clarify the language we have used in order to take care of these issues. The system prompts have been made short and concise. We are not listing all the changes made as these are just superficial and do not affect our system design.
An updated and revised prototype is available from the link below:Alpha prototype
For instructions on how to install please refer to User Manual.
We were continuously testing the application on a phone with Android version 5.0.1. At the end we decided to test on version 6.0.1 and this brought up a list of bugs that we are currently still working through. A video of the application running on Android version 5.0.1 is included below:
User Manual and installation guide
Find the user manual attached below