Tuesday, October 17, 2006

First tool trials and just in time

Yesterday we completed our first set of trials on the tools. This was not particularly easy to set up since:

i) there was only a short amount of time to set it up

ii) the site was not initially ready or in a 'just in time' state

iii) there were a lot more complex preparatory issues especially relating to equipment

iv) we have had about a day to feedback information from the trials to the team

v) I had underestimated the preparation involved.

These trials were more difficult to organise and complex than the first set by an order of magnitude. One of the problems related to getting hold of equipment. Some of the equipment is not necessarily readily available e.g. one cannot guarantee a digital video camera, there were not enough head sets in the IT resources department. It is my view that researchers should where possible be fully equipped with their own personal set of equipment including:

audio recorder
digital camera
digital video camera
microphones necessary for job
laptop computer
data collection and analysis software

Much equipment tends to be located in an IT central area....this is OK for general use but researchers need to have equipment readily available, when they want, and at short notice...therefore it is best to equip them individually. I am not complaining about our own IT section here but simply talking about the need for big projects to self-equip their researchers. I will bring this issue up in our section and am sure it will be sorted. I was asked before the project what equipment would be required but decided to wait and see.

In the end, despite the difficulties I felt the trials went really well and that we gained some good data. Our set of participants have really given us some good data.

By the way the tools we test were FlashMeeting and Compendium

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