Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Philadelphia Public Computer Centers Survey

I'm designing a survey to administer at recreation centers and libraries to get a sense of what people get out of the city's public computing infrastructure, what people seek to get that isn't available, and what they assume isn't available but would like to see. I would expect the survey to be filled out when a user is done with their session on the computer, so that they'll have a sense of whether they had achieved what they came to achieve on the computers.

I'd probably be violating all sorts of human subject research rules by just going in and asking people to take the survey, but if I can't get explicit permission, that's what'll happen.

The survey is at http://bit.ly/8XwlRn. It is still evolving at this point. Most importantly, I have to get people to look over it so that I can get it into some more normal language.

Update: So, I've gotten a couple of pretty good pieces of feedback since I posted this yesterday. First, from @digitallogic. Noting the fact that people are often unaware of the realities of various available technologies and so are unable to determine certian changes that would provide them with a meaningful impact, he says:
The ideal approach would be to follow someone through their whole usage and observe where improvements could be made, though this may be a better in a business environment due to the nature of tasks be performed and obvious privacy issues.

Barring that, hopefully these might go more in that direction:
  • Is there anything you would have liked to do on the computer today which you were unable to?
  • Other than your primary goal (check email, do homework, read websites etc), what did you spend most of your time on? (wording on this is weird, trying to see if there's some major hurdle that could be over come, ie - 5 mins to check email but 15 mins to log in)

The next bit is from @beingpurposeful. She recommends that I stay away from negative questions, as value biases are more easily built into these. To ask something and not its inverse paints that thing as notable (i.e., abnormal). Sure, I have my own value biases, but I'd do well to protect the survey from these as much as I can.

So, I have to build these suggestions into the survey. Thanks!

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