Exploring Users' Values, Motivations and Emotions


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Requirements Elicitation is a technical and analytical process, but it is also a highly social and potentially emotive activity. All but the smallest software developments can have a wider organisational impact and the potential to change people’s working lives in positive and negative ways. Users’ reactions to such changes are shaped by their own personal values, motivations and emotions. Exploring and understanding such information can help requirements analysts in:

■Developing a deep understanding of users’ long term goals, working practices, preferences and problems
■Making design decisions
■Building a rapport with users
■Anticipating user wants and needs
Sarah Thew has been exploring these ideas during her PhD, carrying out a series of interviews with novice and experienced analysts investigating if and how they consider users’ values, motivations and emotions. These interviews contributed to the development of a method to support analysts in considering and exploring values, motivations and emotions during the requirements elicitation process, which she is currently evaluating.

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Exploring Users' Values, Motivations and Emotions

  1. 1. Exploring Users’ Values, Motivations and Emotions Sarah Thew University of Manchester [email_address]
  2. 2. Why worry about users’ values, motivations and emotions?
  3. 3. <ul><li>The introduction of new technology often changes peoples’ jobs, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Division of work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understanding values, motivations and emotions can help: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing an understanding of users’ long term goals, working practice and concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making design & process decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipating wants and needs </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What are values, motivations and emotions?
  5. 5. Personal Values <ul><li>A long-term, widely applicable attitude </li></ul><ul><li>One value label – means different things to different people </li></ul>Political Charitable Preservation of landscape Ecology Low carbon energy Wind farms Nuclear power
  6. 6. Motivations <ul><li>Long-lasting goals, high-level drives which shape our behavior and attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual and group motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding how committed people may be to a particular solution or project (i.e. how can it help them) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Emotions <ul><li>Reactive </li></ul><ul><li>A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes </li></ul><ul><li>Emotions generated by experiences with technology generally not extreme </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences with software development – potentially more emotional </li></ul>
  8. 8. What do analysts currently do? Interviews with 10 analysts: <ul><ul><li>Lots of examples of values, motivations and emotions in action: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Social workers I worked with had perceptions around doing secretarial work – they were going to have to start using computer based forms, they felt threatened because they might not do it right, and because secretarial work is perceived by them as less important – “it’s not part of my day job” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But not comfortable directly questioning users: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ You can't directly ask someone how they feel, the secretaries were very anxious about their jobs, but it was apparent from their body language and our conversations. I think they would have been very defensive if I'd asked them directly. “ </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Analyst Interviews <ul><ul><li>More experienced analysts have developed their own techniques - tacit expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less experienced analysts complained of a gap in their training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I have one colleague who is particularly good at this kind of thing, picking up on what's going on. I don't know exactly what she does; she just knows the right thing to do” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The training courses I've been on have always been about tools and management, change control and so on, which is important, but there isn't enough emphasis on understanding your users.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. How can we help novice analysts develop these expert skills? <ul><li>Questionnaires – often used to investigate values, motivations and emotions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too intrusive? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require expert interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restrictive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alternative approach – qualitative analysis </li></ul>
  11. 11. VBRE Method <ul><li>Structured reflection about interviews, meetings, observations, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by the ways experienced analysts naturally work </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by a website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists of values, motivations and emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interview ideas </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The VBRE Website
  13. 13. Overview of the VBRE process Interviews, observations, meetings etc. Project kick off: - Creation of your hunch list Website – values, motivations and emotions Refined understanding of values, emotions, motivations Review interviews Revised hunches, new questions Non functional and functional requirements Process Implications
  14. 14. VBRE – An Example My Hunch List Logical, ordered working Security and control – but also want freedom to share when appropriate Being methodical and precise Creativity Accomplishment and Achievement -External profile raising of the group? Collaborations – external vs. internal? <ul><li>Modifying requirements to account for different users’ values </li></ul><ul><li>Finding non-functional requirements </li></ul>User 1 User 2   Initiates discussion about MRI for neonatal research (shows a magazine article). Research group in Hammersmith – interesting as not aware of another group doing neonatal imaging research (not sure if this is a good or a bad thing?), who else is doing MRI in babies? Interesting as in a good position to do this kind of work – and I’d like to develop links with Experimental Medicine given the upcoming rearrangement of schools.     What data is routinely collected in babies? [X] next door does intensive care monitor research, [K] does normal neonates, gestation and diabetes, early CV disease signs and metabolic disease in babies. If anyone knows how to get measurements it will be [K].  
  15. 15. Website evaluation   RE Practioners (n=7) Computer Science Students (n=12_ Content of the website 6.44 5.5 Did you find the content used within the site clear? 5.66 6.45 Did you find the system easy to understand? 4.5 6.08 Did you find the scenarios useful? 6.17 6.17 How useful did you find the design and process advice associated with each term? 4.83 5.75 Do you think the system would be useful to requirements analysts? 6 6.33
  16. 16. Next steps <ul><li>Real World Evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Method and Website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I’m looking for volunteers! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Review the website, and tell me about your projects and experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make use of the website during your own work </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Thanks for listening <ul><li>Thanks to my supervisors, Alistair Sutcliffe and Rob Procter </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you to all the analysts who volunteered to be interviewed </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks to Rich Higgins for lots of help with the website </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>