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Signature tasks and paradigm tasks: New wrinkles on the scenarios methodology.
Young, R.M. & Barnard, P.J.
In D. Diaper & N. Hammond (Eds.), People and Computers VI: Proceedings of the HCI '91 Conference (pp. 91-101). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Scenarios are increasingly being used in HCI to explore alternative designs or assess user models. We seek to strengthen the use of scenarios within modelling methodologies by clarifying what scenarios are good for and what makes a good scenario. The first clarification concerns scenarios that are "privileged" in certain ways with respect to the modelling technique used to analyse them. A signature task is one deliberately chosen to match the capabilities of the technique. A paradigm task is one which has been thoroughly analysed and understood in terms of the technique. Perhaps surprisingly, signature tasks and paradigm tasks are often not the same. The second clarification is that although scenarios represent a particular concrete instance of human-computer interaction, some form of contrast is generally involved - whether explicitly stated or merely implied. Good scenarios are characterised by the presence of a meaningful contrast that captures an issue and focuses the analysis.