By: Geff Beck

My Analysis

In attempting to explore with WebGrid, I became very frustrated. I simply wanted to make a grid to show the standings of a few select teams in the NHL. The data I entered was as follows:
Enter the name of the person from whom the grid is to be elicited
Name: Geff Beck

Enter the domain about which the grid is to be elicited
Domain: NHL

Enter the context, or purpose, for elicting this grid
Context: standings

Singular and plural terms for elements and constructs, and rating scale range
Element: team Elements: Teams
Construct: point Constructs: Points
Rating Scale from 1 to 5

List on separate lines at least six elements relevant to your context
calgary, vancouver, toronto, edmonton, conference, points, games, win, lose, tie
{on separate lines, of course}

It then went on to ask me to differentiate between -edmonton -points -win
{I responded with edmonton ->team --- points, win->positive}

It then came back and asked me, "Now rate each of the teams on the point"
First of all, this question makes no sense. Please note that I had tried a number of things prior to this and that I could not make sense out of anything it was trying to ask me.

After making as much sense out of this as possible, I proceeded to rank these as best I saw fit.

Next, it continues to say,
  • "You are considering 10 teams and 1 point in the context standings."

  • "The teams toronto and edmonton are very similar - click here if you want to enter another point to distinguish them"

  • "You can elicit another point using a triad of teams"

  • Again these make no sense.

    At this point, again after trying many other things to start, I came to the conclusion the WebGrid is not nearly as useful or intelligent as I was led to believe.

    I feel that a real problem with WebGrid is the terminology used and lack of help available. No where on the WebGrid pages did it ever offer a help screen, nor did it elaborate on the terminology used. For example, how does the average user distinguish between element and construct in the context used here? Even at the start of a new grid it asks, "Enter the name of the person from whom the grid is to be elicited." Why is the wording trying to be more sophisticated than it needs to be? Asking for elements and constructs seems to be a little misleading, as well. I must obviously be confused on their meanings, due to WebGrid responses to my entries, and I had the advantage of some clarification in the project write-up. I feel sorry for the user that comes into this utility inexperienced with WebGrid and its terminology. It seems that somebody went through WebGrid with a thesaurus to make it seem more complex than it need be. I don't know why the creators of WebGrid cannot just ask simple questions the average user can understand.

    I realize this is not the intent of this project and at the risk of failing the assignment I needed to make clear my point of view on WebGrid. I feel WebGrid is in no way a 'user-friendly' utility. I came away from WebGrid literally feeling incompetent and confused. Human-Computer Interaction was one of the prerequisites to this course, there we were taught that the user should not be confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed by computers and their applications. I feel this was not considered during the development of WebGrid.

    I give WebGrid, two thumbs...DOWN!!!

    I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my TA, Danny. I'm sorry you had to sit and read this, I realize the format of this assignment write-up has not followed your recommendations. However, I had such a hard time following through WebGrid, that the structure of each section of the project would have been senseless and meaning lost, due to incomplete grids.

    Mail me here...
    Geff Beck beckg@cpsc.ucalgary.ca