Activity Flow Design - or - Organizing the users’ Work - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Activity Flow Design - or - Organizing the users’ Work

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  1. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow Design - or -Organizing the users’ Work Lecture # 11 Types of activity flow

  2. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow • Activity flow deals with the dynamic aspects of the User Interface • When designing the activity flow we need to: • Describes the way in which a specific outcome will be achieved using our UI • Describes the rules and regulations that will govern the flow • Designing the Activity Flow is often referred to as interaction design

  3. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow or Interaction Design • Design of Activity Flow is based on our previously identified use stories or user tasks and the use map which we created and which describe how tasks are organized to support a given activity • During Activity Flow design we decompose the tasks into a set of actions and organize them in a way that is: • Logical – from a business perspective • Meaningful – from a user perspective • Integrated – from a work perspective • This organization will represent what we want the user to do in order to achieve a specific goal

  4. Gabriel Spitz Focus of Activity Flow • Activity Flow is concerned with whatwe want the user to do – the sequence of actions to be taken • It is separate and distinct from how we want the user to accomplish a given task • It is logical to assume that we: • First decide whatwe want the user to do • Then decide how it should be done • In reality the two design steps – UI design and Interaction design are performed in parallel and inform each other

  5. Gabriel Spitz Specifying the scope of a vacation What vs. How of an Activity Flow Select the desired services Specify departure city Specify departure date Specify desired departure time Specify destination city Specify Return date Specify return time Specify no. rooms Specify travelers categories Entering Data Selecting

  6. Gabriel Spitz What is Activity Flow Design • Activity flow design focuses on how a unit of flows and how user actions are controlled • The flow or structure of the unit of work is often unique to a given application and business domain • In controlling users actions we often adhere to more generalizable principles that include: • How actions are chucked – to support closure • E.g. Select  Ship  Pay • The flexibility we give users in adhering to a recommended sequence of actions • E.g., Cannot enter shipping address before selecting an item • The guidance we provide users the user through the interaction • E.g., user guide, bubble help, etc.

  7. Gabriel Spitz

  8. Gabriel Spitz 1 1 3 2 Poor Flow Good Flow

  9. Gabriel Spitz Objective of Activity Flow Design • Is to help user navigatethrough the interface effectively and efficiently • It includes: • The flowof users’action at the interface and the rules governing the flow • The supportthat the interface provides to guide and constrain users’ action

  10. Gabriel Spitz How Should Activity Flow – Some Determinants • Business factors • Sequence in which tasks have to be executed • Privileges & Roles • Users’ factors • Flexibility • Closure • Guidance

  11. Gabriel Spitz Business Factors and Activity Flow • Business factors are critical in determining the flow of action within a component or information space • Example: • Merchandise can be ordered for established customers only • Claims in access of $2500,00 must be handled by a senior consultant • Trip can not be saved without paying for it • But, always question the validity and criticality of business rules, particularly when they conflict with users needs

  12. Gabriel Spitz Business Driven Activity Flow

  13. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow – Different Perspectives Creating a claim folder • Developer’s flow • Open a folder • Name folder • Specify type of claim (car, home, etc.) • Enter identification info. • Insert supporting documents • Save • User’s preferred flow • Open a folder • Insert supporting documents • Enter identification info. • Specify type of claim • Name folder • Save

  14. Gabriel Spitz Issues in Designing Activity Flow - Behavior • Degree of flexibilityoffered in the order and manner in which tasks are executed • Number and nature of breakpointsoffered to users during the interaction • Nature and extent of guidanceoffered users during task execution

  15. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow – How Much Flexibility • Instinctive answer • Provide users with maximum freedom • Constraining the activity flow has several benefits • Eliminate path that have no closure due to business rules • My system enables me to download applications, but then prevents me from installing them • Increase consistency of usage • Always going through the same sequence of steps helps the user build a coherent conceptual model of the application • Reduce users’ mental workload • Eliminates the need to decide what should be the next task

  16. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow – Designing Flexibility • From an interface designer perspective we provide or limit activity flow flexibility through the type of flow we impose on user’s actions • Actions in an activity flow can be parallel or Independent • Actions in an activity flow can be sequential • Actions in an activity flow can and often areamixof both

  17. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow Options To Subject Attach Content MS outlook Parallel Wizard Sequential Excel Graph Sequential, but – user can select the path

  18. Gabriel Spitz Sequential Activity Flow

  19. Gabriel Spitz Adding an Image in PP- Mixed Activity Flow Instruct – to insert Sequential Select a shape Modify Shape Resize, Re-color, Add shape Parallel

  20. Gabriel Spitz Activity Flow - Limiting Flexibility • When confining the activity flow to a specific path • Make it visible • Avoid hiding dependency e.g., an account has to be established before an order can be placed • Adopt paths that are “natural” to users not to the computer • You first select a document to print and then print

  21. Gabriel Spitz Restricting Activity Flow • There are several ways to restrict or constraint the flow of users activity at the interface • Leading them down a path – Wizard • Blocking off certain paths – disabling commands • Aiding them – task list • Guiding then - Help

  22. Gabriel Spitz Constraining Activity flow – Users Needs • Users feel that they need maximum flexibility in the order in which they perform a unit of work • However, constraining the Activity flow has several benefits including: • Eliminate path that have no closuredue to business rules • Increase consistencyof usage • Reduce users’mental workload