Understanding HCI

PACT Analysis Example 1

PACT analysis for a Tourism Website

An essential part of our approach to designing the Interactive E-Tourist website is to make it as user-centred as possible. Benyon et al (2005) acknowledge the PACT (People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies) as a useful framework for thinking about a design situation in relation to an interactive system. We felt that performing a PACT analysis would be useful for both our analysis and design activities; understanding the current situations, seeing where possible improvements can be made and envisioning future situations.

With the PACT analysis we were able to bring together all our research on our target users and scope out the variety of different people, activities, contexts and technologies possible. From the analysis we could develop clear and concrete scenarios of how our target users would be interacting with our E-Tourist website. The results of the PACT analysis are presented below:

People

There are many ways in which people differ from one another, from physical appearance to the attributes they have. People have different personalities and react to things in different ways. This depends largely on the five senses i.e. hear, sight, smell, taste, and touch, so it is important for my website to be friendly, usable, pleasurable for all kinds of people. An example of how this can be done, is by making sure that my website caters for people with disabilities such as visibility impairment (such as long/short sight, colour-blinded etc.).

The website should cater for this too. People also differ in psychological terms and so it is necessary for my website to be accessible to those people who are not so able. People differ in their desires and capabilities, so it is important that the website caters for all levels of cognitive ability. The website is a heterogeneous website as the users will be based all around the world. The users will most probably have different levels of computer literacy/knowledge, different language skills and different cognitive and physical abilities.

Computer Literacy/Knowledge

Users accessing our site may be beginners, intermediate or experts, it is therefore, essential for the website to cater for all its users. Because the site focuses on tourism in Edinburgh, our site will only be accessed when people are considering a trip to Edinburgh. So, it is most probable that even those users that are very computer/internet literate may still be beginners when they visit our website.

Cognitive Abilities

Because people are better at recognising things than remembering them, our site will be primarily 'see and click'. This is so that users will be able to easily interact with the website.

Physical Abilities

It is essential for our website to be accessible for those users that are physically challenged. With regards to our site, one of our goals is to cater for users with sight difficulties. There are different types of visual impairment. The first is the difficulty of seeing small things. We will need to make sure that the contents in our site can be magnified for such users. We will need to ensure that the quality of the site is undisturbed when the information is magnified as this may cause confusion for many users. The second difficulty is colour blindness. Colour blind people have great difficulty distinguishing between certain colours, such as, yellow and blue and red and green. We will need to make sure that colours that can affect colour-blindness are not mixed. The third difficulty is moderate to fully blind users. We will need to ask ourselves how to cater for blind users. We need to consider whether users can access the information in audio form. This is particularly important where images are used. We need to consider, describing the images in text form, in such a way that blind users can effectively understand the information about the images in the same way all other users can. Images include tables, pictures charts, etc. Web designers also need to consider whether or not information and/or the whole website can be converted into Braille. This is important for those users who prefer to use Braille over audio.

Activities

There are many characteristics of activities that designers need to consider. These can be both simple and complex. Before considering the characteristics need to be looked at it is essential that throughout the project, the overall objectives are kept in mind and not forgotten about. Below are the main characteristics of activities that need to be considered:

  • The regularity of activities- is the activity done everyday, monthly, or annually?
  • The response time from the system- how long does the website take to download?
  • The colours used in the website - they have to be deigned so that they are not an eye-sore
  • The textual information- what font, size is going to be used?

One of the main activities that users will have available to them is a navigation map of the royal mile. It will have hotspots which people can click on; this will lead to a page with information on that page. There will also be forums and blogs so that people can give their opinions etc. Users will also have the ability to upload pictures of the city. The site will also allow users to see what tours are available for them, for example family tours. There will also be a search facility for users to use if the need to. The search facility will allow easy access of information.

Context

Activities constantly occur in a context, this section looks at how to examine the two collectively. The context type that affects my website is the physical environment. Physical environment- this is important for me so because I can understand what the physical environment of the website will be. For example the website should cater for people who may be logging on to my web site in an area that has slow internet access; this will be a problem if they decide that the website is taking its time to upload. Users will access the website in different places such as the home, workplace, educational institutions or internet cafes; therefore it is vital that the site is accessible for those visitors that use different resolutions, operating systems, colour depths platforms and browsers. Please read the baseline specification for further information.

Technologies

Technologies can carry out a variety of operations and usually consist of a lot of data, or information. Interaction is required and so there is a need for a range of styles. There are many different technologies that users can use to access our site. they tend to use different operating systems (such as Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, Mac X etc), browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer 5 or 6, Netscape 7, Mozilla, Opera, JAWS (screen reader for blind user)) and platforms (Windows, Macintosh etc)