Exercise: Applying Task-Centered System Design

Your job is to perform a task-centered walkthrough of the prototype described below. Sample tasks are provided at the end of this page.

The Prototype

The system below is used by the Cheap Shop Department Store, a catalog-based store similar to Consumer's Distributors. Shoppers in the store decide on the item they want by browsing a paper catalog, and can then purchase items by entering the relevant information into the screens below.

Screen 1

Screen 2


Example Task Descriptions for "Cheap Shop"

Fred Johnson, who is caring for his demanding toddler son, wants a good quality umbrella stroller (red is preferred, but blue is acceptable). He browses the catalog and chooses the JPG stroller (cost $98. item code 323 066 697). He pays for it in cash, and uses it immediately. Fred is a first-time customer to this store, has little computer experience, and says he types very slowly with one finger. He lives nearby on Dear Bottom Avenue NW.

Mary Vornushia is price-comparing the costs of a child’s bedroom set, consisting of a wooden desk, a chair, a single bed, a mattress, a bedspread, and a pillow all made by Furnons Inc. She takes the description and total cost away with her to check against other stores. Three hours later, she returns and decides to buy everything but the chair. She pays by credit card, She asks for the items to be delivered to her daughter’s home at 31247 Lucinda Drive, in the basement suite at the back of the house. Mary is elderly and arthritic.

John Forham, the sole salesperson in the store, is given a list of 10 items by a customer who does not want to use the computer. The items are: 4 pine chairs, 1 pine table, 6 blue place mats, 6 “lor” forks, 6 “lor” table spoons, 6 “lor” teaspoons, 6 “lor” knives, 1 “tot” tricycle, 1 red ball, 1 “silva” croquet set After seeing the total, the customer tells John he will take all but the silverware The customer then decides to add 1 blue ball to the list. The customer starts paying by credit card, but then decides to pay cash. The customer tells John he wants the items delivered to his home the day after tomorrow. While this is occurring, 6 other customers are waiting for John.

John has been on staff for 1 week, and is only partway through his training program

The Walkthrough Process

Sample Walkthrough Template

Task number ____

Description of Step Does the user have the knowledge / training to do this step? Is it believable that they would do it? That is, are they motivated? Comments (including possible solutions)

Last updated December 2002