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User-centered approaches to interaction design

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  1. User-centered approaches to interaction design

  2. Overview • Why involve users at all? • What is a user-centered approach? • Understanding users’ work • Coherence • Contextual Design • Involving users in design • PICTIVE • CARD

  3. Why involve users at all? • Expectation management • Realistic expectations • No surprises, no disappointments • Timely training • Communication, but no hype • Ownership • Make the users active stakeholders • More likely to forgive or accept problems • Can make a big difference to acceptance and success of product

  4. Degrees of user involvement • Member of the design team • Full time: constant input, but lose touch with users • Part time: patchy input, and very stressful • Short term: inconsistent across project life • Long term: consistent, but lose touch with users • Newsletters and other dissemination devices • Reach wider selection of users • Need communication both ways • Combination of these approaches

  5. How Microsoft involves users • Users are involved throughout development • ‘activity-based planning’: studying what users do to achieve a certain activity (task) • usability tests e.g. Office 4.0 over 8000 hours of usability testing. • internal use by Microsoft staff • customer support lines

  6. What is a user-centered approach? User-centered approach is based on: • Early focus on users and tasks: directly studying cognitive, behavioral, anthropomorphic & attitudinal characteristics • Empirical measurement: users’ reactions and performance to scenarios, manuals, simulations & prototypes are observed, recorded and analysed • Iterative design: when problems are found in user testing, fix them and carry out more tests

  7. Early focus on users and tasks • Users’ tasks and goals are the driving force behind the development • Users’ behavior and context of use are studied and the product is designed to support them • Users’ characteristics are captured & designed for • Users are consulted throughout development, from earliest phases to the latest, and their input is seriously taken into account • All design decisions are taken within the context of the user, their work and their environment

  8. Understanding users’ work • Understanding users’ work is significant • Ethnography: from anthropology • ‘writing the culture’ • participant observation • Difficult to use the output of ethnography in design

  9. Framework for using ethnography in design • Distributed co-ordination: distributed nature of the tasks & activities, and the means and mechanisms by which they are co-ordinated • Plans and procedures: organisational support for the work, such as workflow models and organisational charts, and how these are used to support the work • Awareness of work: how people keep themselves aware of others’ work

  10. Coherence • A method which offers appropriate questions to help address these key dimensions • For example: • Distributed Coordination:How is the division of labor manifest through the work of individuals and its co-ordination with others? • Plans and procedures:How do plans and procedures function in the workplace?

  11. Contextual Design • Developed to handle data collection and analysis from fieldwork for developing a software-based product • Used quite widely commercially • Contextual Design has seven parts: • Contextual inquiry, Work modelling, • Consolidation, Work redesign, • User environment design, • Mock-up and test with customers, • Putting it into Practice

  12. Contextual Inquiry • An approach to ethnographic study where user is expert, designer is apprentice • A form of interview, but • at users’ workplace (workstation) • 2 to 3 hours long • Four main principles: • Context: see workplace & what happens • Partnership: user and developer collaborate • Interpretation: observations interpreted by user and developer together • Focus: project focus to help understand what to look for

  13. Work Modeling • In interpretation session, models are drawn from the observations: • Work flow model: the people, communication and co-ordination • Sequence model: detailed work steps to achieve a goal • Artifact model: the physical ‘things’ created to do the work • Cultural model: constraints on the system from organizational culture • Physical model: physical structure of the work, e.g. office layout

  14. Consolidation • Each contextual inquiry (one for each user/developer pair) results in a set of models • These need to be consolidated into one view of ‘the work’ • Affinity diagram • Organizes interpretation session notes into common structures and themes • Categories arise from the data • Diagram is built through induction • Work models consolidated into one of each type

  15. Participatory Design • Scandinavian history • Emphasises social and organisational aspects • Based on study, model-building and analysis of new and potential future systems

  16. Participatory Design (contd) • Aspects to user involvement include • Who will represent the user community?Interaction may need to be assisted by a facilitator • Shared representations • Co-design using simple tools such as paper or video scenarios • Designers and users communicate about proposed designs • Cooperative evaluation such as assessment of prototypes

  17. Benefits of Participatory Design “Computer-based systems that are poorly suited to how people actually work impose cost not only on the organisation in terms of low productivity but also on the people who work with them. Studies of work in computer-intensive workplaces have pointed to a host of serious problems that can be caused by job design that is insensitive to the nature of the work being performed, or to the needs of human beings in an automated workplace.” [Kuhn, S. in Bringing Design to Software, 1996]

  18. PICTIVE • Plastic Interface for Collaborative Technology Initiatives through Video Exploration • Intended to empower users to act a full participants in design

  19. PICTIVE (contd) • Materials used are: • Low-fidelity office items such as pens, paper, sticky notes • Collection of (plastic) design objects for screen and window layouts • Equipment required: • Shared design surface, e.g. table • Video recording equipment

  20. PICTIVE (contd) • Before a PICTIVE session: • Users generate scenarios of use • Developers produce design elements for the design session • A PICTIVE session has four parts: • Stakeholders all introduce themselves • Brief tutorials about areas represented in the session (optional) • Brainstorming of ideas for the design • Walkthrough of the design and summary of decisions made

  21. CARD • Collaborative Analysis of Requirements & Design • Similar to PICTIVE but at a higher level of abstraction: explores work flow not detailed screen design • Uses playing cards with pictures of computers and screen dumps • Similar structure to the session as for PICTIVE • PICTIVE and CARD can be used together to give complementary views of a design

  22. Summary • User involvement helps manage users’ expectations & feelings of ownership • A user-centered approach has three main elements: early focus on users, empirical measurement and iterative design • Ethnography is useful for understanding work, but can be difficult to use in design • Coherence and Contextual Design support the use of ethnographic data in design • Participative design involves users taking an active part in design decisions • CARD and PICTIVE are example techniques

  23. Introducing evaluation

  24. The aims • Discuss how developers cope with real-world constraints. • Explain the concepts and terms used to discuss evaluation. • Examine how different techniques are used at different stages of development.

  25. Two main types of evaluation • Formative evaluation is done at different stages of development to check that the product meets users’ needs. • Summative evaluation assesses the quality of a finished product. Our focus is on formative evaluation

  26. What to evaluate Iterative design & evaluation is a continuous process that examines: • Early ideas for conceptual model • Early prototypes of the new system • Later, more complete prototypes Designers need to check that they understand users’ requirements.

  27. Bruce Tognazzini tells you why you need to evaluate “Iterative design, with its repeating cycle of design and testing, is the only validated methodology in existence that will consistently produce successful results. If you don’t have user-testing as an integral part of your design process you are going to throw buckets of money down the drain.” See for topical discussion about design and evaluation.

  28. When to evaluate • Throughout design • From the first descriptions, sketches etc. of users needs through to the final product • Design proceeds through iterative cycles of ‘design-test-redesign’ • Evaluation is a key ingredient for a successful design.

  29. Evaluating the 1984 OMS • Early tests of printed scenarios & user guides • Early simulations of telephone keypad • An Olympian joined team to provide feedback • Interviews & demos with Olympians outside US • Overseas interface tests with friends and family. • Free coffee and donut tests • Usability tests with 100 participants. • A ‘try to destroy it’ test • Pre-Olympic field-test at an international event • Reliability of the system with heavy traffic

  30. Development of HutchWorld • Many informal meetings with patients, carers & medical staff early in design • Early prototype was informally tested on site • Designers learned a lot e.g.- language of designers & users was different - asynchronous communication was also needed • Redesigned to produce the portal version

  31. Usability testing • User tasks investigated:- how users’ identify was represented- communication- information searching- entertainment • User satisfaction questionnaire • Triangulation to get different perspectives

  32. Findings from the usability test • The back button didn’t always work • Users didn’t pay attention to navigation buttons • Users expected all objects in the 3-D view to be clickable. • Users did not realize that there could be others in the 3-D world with whom to chat, • Users tried to chat to the participant list.

  33. Key points • Evaluation & design are closely integrated in user-centered design. • Some of the same techniques are used in evaluation & requirements but they are used differently (e.g., interviews & questionnaires) • Triangulation involves using a combination of techniques to gain different perspectives • Dealing with constraints is an important skill for evaluators to develop.