User Data Collection: Physical Traces

Description For Part III of your programming research project, you will be engaging in what Zeisel calls physical traces research. For this assignment, go to your site and catalog all of the physical traces left by the users of the site. This can be as comprehensive as your site requires. Look for all sorts of things used, damaged, personalized, adapted, and left by the users of the site. Use the charts in Zeisel 170 (Zeisel chapter on Physical Traces, the What to Look For section) for a guide on what to look for. Document your findings. While engaging in your physical traces research, it is critical that you remain as unobtrusive as possible. Examining your site is best done when there are no or very few users present. While you might not be able to examine your site in the full absence of any users, this is the ideal to which you should aspire. In any case, go about your research with a minimal amount of disruption of those around you. This is where your relationship with your informant will play a key role. In this sense, your informant’s support of your research gives you license to act in otherwise unusual ways. Things to look for and include: by-products of use adaptations for use displays of self public messages It is possible that your site might have more or less of each of these, so do not take this list as a requirement; rather, consider it a jumping-off point. The specifics of each site will mean that the presence and significance of different physical traces will vary. The deliverable for this assignment is a five- or six-page summary of your findings with pertinent images added. You should keep all of your own data and use it to build an analytical summary that explains the presence of these physical traces. Conjecture is welcome here! You may speculate as to the causes of these physical traces and what their presence might indicate. Add sketches and plans (where necessary) to support your claims. Consider this as drawing conclusions from the clues left behind..

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