Universiteit van Amsterdam

MSc. Software Engineering

November 2014

Requirements Engineering

Week 3 Interviews

After some experience was gained in the process of interviewing, and after some sessions of research on the general problem we are trying to solve, we had formed a vision about what should be the problems (or points to be improved) that we will analysing. Based on this vision, and with the objective of justify/refute and improving it, this week's interviews were mostly about this selected topics (our vision).

Interviews reviewed:

This week we as interviewers experienced some more trouble than previous weeks. One of the reasons is that we wanted to ask our interviewees about aiding people with dyslexia through eTextbooks and open-source eTextbooks, but did not automatically understand what these two concepts are. And without understanding the interviewees could not properly answer our questions. The formulation of our questions was also a problem, some were ambiguous and this resulted in reformulation during the interview.

We tried to give the interviewees some more open questions about our vision and what they thought negative side-effects of these could be. But apart from interviewee 2 all our interviewees got stuck on these kind of questions and did not give us any interesting answers (probably because these questions are to open ended).

We had one interviewee who suffered from dyslexia and she had experience using digital aids to help her with this, which helps us justify one of our visions. And our second interviewee had shed some interesting light on the open-source books problem. She would not trust these books without a peer review system (something some open-source book publishers already do).


In this weeks interviewing session we designed a questionnaire that takes special attention to the need for  validation of our vision.

In order to support the results obtained through the set of questions about our vision, we added questions about the reader about different aspects that help us place each interviewed reader in the spectrum of eTextbook users. In every interview, we asked about some details about their academic background (fields of study, academic experience), about their textbooks previous experiences (both with paper and digital textbooks) and about textbooks common usage (reading, taking notes, solving exercises, consult).

Standard questions:

- Personal information (study/courses, highest degree, age etc)

- Do you read textbooks

- Do you have experience with eTextbooks

- What are some of your major annoyances when reading (make it specific about last textbook)

Learning Disabilities:

- Do you have any learning disabilities like dyslexia (or know someone with these, if this is the case ask about this person)

- Do you have experience listening to audiobooks

  - And books that are read by synthesized computer voice

  - Does this improve your reading speed,

  - and is speed an important factor for you while reading

- Would you be interested to listen to your textbooks

- What kind of technological advances do you expect to give you higher grades

Open Source Books:

- What are average prices you pay for textbooks

- Did you ever have problems with the availability of textbooks (stores running out of copies)

- Do you have teachers who write there own textbooks or create readers from different sources for their course

  - How do you feel about these aggregated learning materials, does it improve or decrease your learning?

  - Should teachers adapt the reading material to fit their course better more often

- How would you feel about open source books and do you think it will happen more often in the future

  - Are there any negative side effect you can think of for open source books?

Test: if people with learning disabilities are interested to use eTextbook that help them overcome these disabilities and what kind of help they would like. And see if students like the idea of open source textbooks

Interview 1 (Matthisk):

- Is a Sciences student (Astronomy & Physics BSc.) on his 1st year;

- Has some experience with textbooks (paper);

- Has no experience with audiobooks, and thinks that a synthesised voice would be annoying;

- Uses textbooks mostly for reading and solving exercises. Thinks that the navigation can be improved (finds annoying the mechanism for validating answers in the paper textbooks);

- Prefers paper textbooks;

- Knows students with learning disabilities (namely dyslexia) and is aware about these disabilities impacts on reading;

- Finds textbooks expensive;

- Has readers (aggregation of different texts from different sources) given by his teachers;

- Believes he would use open source books even though we noticed that is knowledge about open source is not extensive;

Interview 2 (Daniel):

- Is a BSc. student in Sciences (1st year) and has previous academic experience (frequented other BSc.);

- Suffers from ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);

- Has experience with Etextbooks (mostly due to the cost, and the fact that eTextbooks can be downloaded from the Internet without effort);

- Identified some problems with the current system apart from the cost: the fact that a reader can buy only one edition of the book (it would be better if possible to have access to future editions) and new editions appear frequently;

- Says that there are some textbooks that are not available (she cannot find them) in digital formats;

-  Has readers (aggregation of different texts from different sources) given by his teachers;

-  Likes the idea of editable books, but raises the need of a quality control mechanism.

Interview 3 (Daniel):

- Is a BSc. student in Biology (1st year);

- Does not read lots of textbooks;

- Has dyslexia and identifies herself as a slow reader;

- Believes audiobooks are positive (they explore other possibilities for reading situations, like while riding a bike);

- Has used synthesized voice books (without improving reading speed);

- Despite not believing that audiobooks are more effective than traditional textbooks, acknowledges that they are indeed a way to learn (with clear advantages);

-  Has readers (aggregation of different texts from different sources) given by his teachers;

- Believes that eTextbooks can provide better user interactivity;

- Has no previous experiences with digital textbooks, and argues that reading at the computer does not "feel right";