Real Phone - analysis of one user

Task 1: Find the real phone application and phone my office

0:00 0:58 Instructions given for first scenario:
0:58 1:26 Discovers Real Phone on start menu and starts it


Minor problems with start menu entry:
  • first looks for it under Real Phone, not IBM Real Phone
  • hesitates with the pull right menu options of RealPhone entry
  • a bit disconcerted because the phone does not appear immediately after selection

Time: approx 30 secs for this task

1:26 2:09
  • Tries to look for Saul on speed dial, but its not there
  • Sees the question mark button and tries it to see if it will help her find it
  • system opens up word, and then she closes that instance of it (partly)

Task clarified: just dial the number, and things clarified

These choices seem more related to confusion about task vs. interface, and some problems when she switched the window to one not relevant to this task.


2:09 2:27 Enters phone number (no dash) through the dial pad No hesitation entering these numbers
2:27 3:39 Looks for a dial button
  • explores the labels on the buttons
  • unsure but tries out the middle button <mute>
  • no apparent feedback for this option, but phone is now in MUTE mode
  • keeps looking over the phone for some clue...
  • presses button to open speed dial drawer, examines it, and closes it again
  • stresses again that she is looking for a dial button
Major problems
  • does not know that she has to click the handle
  • assumes its one of the three buttons below the keypad
  • doesn't know what these buttons do on first glance, and has trouble reading one (small size? default rectangle interferes with legibility?)
  • has set the phone into MUTE mode without realizing it


3:39 4:46 Tries Help
  • asks if ? is a help, then clicks it
  • hesitates, but then realizes its an overview description
  • Reads the instructions only partway - enough for her to realize that she 'picks up the receiver', and what action she has to take "Press that know over there"


Medium problems
  • Word document is not immediately interpreted as a help system
  • Now has several instances of word running (NOTE: Windows95-specific), cluttering up the task bar


4:46 4:56 Presses the expand/shrink rocker button

Then finally clicks the receiver

Medium problem
  • in spite of the help, she does the wrong action

Time: approx 3.5 minutes to dial the number (extraneous times removed)

4:56 5:20 Instructor describes/simulates phone dialtone plus dialing sequence, plus person answering  
5:20 6:11
  • when the remote person hangs up, she presses the rocker switch again
  • not sure what to do, so clicks redial
  • after person answers, presses rocker switch yet again
Major to medium problems
  • does not know why the remote person cannot here them i.e. that the phone is still in mute mode
  • still believes the rocker switch has something to do with going on/off hook.
  • Does not know how to hang up.
6:11 7:02
  • now switches to  Microsoft Word (Phone hidden behind)
  • tries to figure out how to get at help from Microsoft word, but fails
  • raises phone
  • presses rocker switch again
  • is obviously exploring the visuals for some solution, but cannot find it
  • redials number
  • obviously getting very frustrated
  • manages to raise the help pate
Major problems
  • thinks she can get to help from MS Word itself.
  • still has wrong model of rocker switch after repeated uses
  • cannot figure out what the problem is
  • yet another instance of word is started

Time: approx 1.5 minutes, with no solution in site

7:02   Instructor jumps in to tell her to click on the handle/cradle to hangup, and that she had clicked the mute button before
  • "Is that what this is?" and "you couldn't read that!" enforces that she could not read the mute label


8:00   Instructor says 1st task completed, starts 2nd task  


Dialing a number is perhaps the most basic task that one can do with RealPhone. Yet the person was unable to complete this task without getting the phone into a problematic state.