I wanted to find some interesting analog data which could be collected and analyzed quickly, and for this analysis to produce reasonably useful real-world output. Well, I didn’t have to look much further than the humble computer input device, the mouse (or in this case, a trackpad. All recordable by-products like IOGraph). The goal of this analysis is to suggest improvements in the application design, screen layout, workflow, and of course the habits of the end user themselves. This is done by studying how the user interacts with the computer while performing ordinary, everyday tasks.
Here are the broad constraints of the data gathering exercise.
- Approx 9 days of casual activity, from a volunteer using an Apple 13 inch laptop, using the inbuilt “trackpad” device
- The user is experienced with computers
- The computer was left on, never rebooted
- The majority of usage is Internet browsing/twitter etc
- A small amount of document creation, email, word documents, spreadsheets
- A small amount of photo browsing
- Main apps are a Web browser, email client, Twitter client, and an IRC chat client
- iTunes running