A Look at HCI Classes

In my Human-Computer Interaction class, we used contextual inquiry to find problems with peoples’ phones. I decided to look at the camera function.

In my first observation, I noticed that the user had a hard time taking pictures. Sometimes, she would try to zoom in closer on an object, and have to completely rotate her phone around in order to do so. Her on-screen button on the right did not rotate with the phone, and she had to press the button with her left hand. That ended up being a problem because she was not left-handed. When she was able to hit the button, the picture ended up being blurry due to her hand shaking.

In my second observation, the user attempted to take a picture, but it didn’t work for the first few attempts. It seemed as though her physical camera button no longer worked. In order to save any pictures she took, she had to select “Save” and then “Yes”. During the interview process, she explained that she liked that her camera didn’t save all her pictures and force her to delete the ones she didn’t like later, but she didn’t like that the save feature made it really hard to take multiple pictures in succession.
In my third observation, the user was frustrated by a lack of camera customization on the phone. He wanted to take a picture of something in black and white and far away, and could not locate the zoom feature or a black-and-white feature. The problem was resolved by having another person take a picture using their phone, then sending it to him via MMS.

In my last observation, the user took a picture of a friend. He was well versed in how to use the camera function on his phone, and even informed another person I had previously observed how to use the volume button as a camera button.

It was a really interesting experience, and I learned a lot. There were a lot of problems, but each user claimed to like their phone despite the frustrating aspects. I even learned a few things about my own phone through observing other people.