Usability consultants were approached with a question: what will students want from a single, unified student portal? There are any number of options, features, or ways to present all the information available to students. So, the usability consultants team got together and researched techniques to assess user satisfaction, and prioritize the options the team had in mind.
They used a survey technique developed by Dr. Noriaki Kano, asking participants not one but two questions: first, how delighted would users be with a certain feature? Then came the twist: if that feature was removed, what would they think? By asking two questions instead of one, they were able to plot trends on a two-dimensional chart, helping to spread out the options and show the differences from the students' perspective.
The team returned to their desks with a clear sense of how students perceive the features being considered for the portal, and a sense of what might pose a risk if a certain feature doesn't receive the attention students are expecting.
The survey technique is easy to incorporate into a team's development cycle, and can also be used to assess existing satisfaction with services that are already in everyday use. And most teams on campus can request these surveys without cost.