Seminar #8
Title: Experimental Design
Week of March 20th 2019


Evaluation of user interfaces is an integral part of the design process. New designs need to be thoroughly tested to ensure acceptance from the user and technical end of the spectrum. How one goes about the evaluation process determines the validity of the design. Poor evaluation techniques result in false information. Hence, we see designs implemented which do not meet the needs of the user or the system specification.


Several different keyboard layouts have been proposed. The conventional layout known as "QUERTY" is now used on 99.9% of all computers. The known problem is that the layout was designed to prevent mechanical jams on the original typewriters (remember those). One of the unpleasant side effects, was that this layout slowed down users. Electronic keyboards have overcome these limitations but the user population is still suffering with a 19th century solution to a now non-existent problem.

Other keyboard mappings have been proposed which increase the typing rate of the user by strategically placing the most frequently used keys and key combinations on the home row. One of these layout strategies is the DVORAK keyboard.


There are several studies which compare the typing speed users can achieve using each of these layouts. Design an experiment, which will measure the performance gain on the DVORAK board over the QUERTY board. Your experiment should take into account the evaluation methods and proper experimental design and data analysis which the readings cover.

The seminar will focus on analyzing the experimental design process relating to the keyboard layouts. Be sure to sketch out some of the key points in the design process, such as user population, domain expertise etc. State the hypothesis of the experiment and the goals, which your experiment is to attain. This chapter is fairly extensive when talking about user interface evaluation. Read before you jump in with both feet. It is also good preparation for the final project.



Marks will be awarded for presentation, preparation and participation in the discussion which exhibit emulsion into the subject matter. Students who do not come prepared can expect a low participation mark.