Cognitive Audit / UX Project

Enabling Collaboration

The main focus of this project was to evaluate how an expert user's performance is affected by the different elements of music production. In order to enhance the understanding, a system approach was applied and various levels of the human-computer system have been analyzed. The analysis conducted was based on the result from a variety of methods, models, and theories within the subject of cognitive ergonomics.

This project was done together with Hanna Cervak and Alice Karlsson in 2020.

Enhancing the system understanding

To enhance the understanding of the music creation system interviews with expert users as well as observations through screen sharing was conducted. The system and its boundaries was defined and goals and tasks were described thorugh an HTA. User profiles as well as use cases were created and then used when evaluating the following aspects:

  • Perception, Attention and Awareness
  • Mental Resources and Mental Workload
  • Dirstributed Cognition and Mental Models
  • Emotions and performans
  • Interaction, Error and Risk
  • Decision Making
  • Use Cases

    The project focused on evaluating three use cases including set up the digital environment, scale sound, and feedback. Each expert user has their preferred way of setting up the digital environment, whereas a novice user often goes for the default. Scale sound is where soundtracks are modified and structured into a song. Feedback refers to the communication between expert users, their co-workers and clients.

    Evaluation from an expert perspective

    As seen, the interface of the system can be experienced as cluttered and complex with a great amount of information presented. Tasks that require large memory capacity and more complex decision-making, such as setting up a digital environment, are not performed often enough to affect the expert user’s performance.

    However, often reoccurring tasks, such as scaling the sound, are more cognitively demanding for the expert operator. When evaluating mental processes and resources needed, the group discovered that Studio One itself is rather well balanced. But simultaneously addressing feedback from several sources can create a mental overload for users.

    Feedback is the systems key driver

    The lack of support from Studio One when it comes to communication between clients, co-workers and expert users can have a negative effect on the expert’s performance. Feedback enables creativity as well as facilitates an iterative work manner and has been identified as the key driver of the system. Hence, the approvements target to bridge this gap from a low-level perspective, i.e. redesigning the interface of Studio One and adding functionality to support the communication challenge.

    Redesign to enable collaboration

    With the aim of enabling creativity for the expert users a conceptual redesign of the interface was made, including the added collaboration functionality. The redesign focuses on supporting feedback, without compromising the expert users control. Hence, it is suggested that experts user should be able to grant secondary users access with full or limited functionalities.