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Design Tools 2. Carla B. Zoltowski July 15, 2009. User-centered Design: Basic Principles. Early focus on users Designing for and with users Empirical measurement and evaluation Iteration. 7-level Design Approach, Keates and Clarkson. UCD: Process and Products.

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design tools 2

Design Tools 2

Carla B. Zoltowski

July 15, 2009

user centered design basic principles
User-centered Design: Basic Principles

Early focus on users

Designing for and with users

Empirical measurement and evaluation


ucd process and products
UCD: Process and Products

1. Plan UCD: Decisions about

which methods to use

2. Specify context of use:

Description of users,

tasks, context, problems

5. Evaluate against rqmts:

Data on how well system

meets expectations

3. Specify user/org rqmts:

Statements about what

the design should fulfill

4. Produce Design Solutions:

System specifications

Slide by Dennis Wixon; adapted from Maguire 2001, p. 589 & ISO 13407

user knowledge in design
User knowledge in design
  • Needs vs. wants
  • Intended use vs. actual use
    • “Slanty” design
  • Activity-centered
what is already out there
What is already out there?
  • Literature Review
  • Benchmarks
    • What is available
    • Why did they use their approach
    • Patent searches
      • avoid infringement
      • Protect IP
  • Reverse engineering or dissection
gathering information from users
Gathering information from users
  • User surveys and questionnaires
  • Interviews (formal and informal)
  • Focus groups– interviews with multiple people
  • Semantic differentials

Simple Complicated

gathering information about users
Gathering information about users
  • Observation: Observe the users, preferable engaging in the target activity of the design
  • Ethnography: Deeper immersion; understanding the culture in which the product exists
  • Role-playing: put yourself in the user’s shoes, chair, and/or space
    • Empathic modeling: Simulating the sensory/motor/cognitive constraints
gathering information about users cont
Gathering information about users, cont.
  • Brainstorming: brainstorms potential features, constraints
  • Synectic activities to develop analogies: what similar activities can be used to understand the context of the current design
    • What is wrong with it? What is similar?
    • Why is it necessary? What can be eliminated?
    • Are there any other applications? What is it not? Can it be misused?
creating tools to understand
Creating tools to understand


Prototypical user, described in detail (age, gender, background, family association, hobbies, professional life; may include picture)


“before and after” stories of your persona using your product

Focus on the user’s need and how their life might be improved


  • Get into groups of 2
    • One person is “designer” and the other is the “user”
    • Activity: Designer will interview user to get specifications for ATM
  • Now, develop a scenario of a person withdrawing money from the ATM
  • Share
example scenario using atm nielson 1993
Example scenario using ATM (Nielson 1993)
  • “The user approaches the machine and inserts a bank card. No matter what side is up, the machine reads the card correctly.”
  • “The machine asks the user to input a four-digit personal identification number, and the user does so using the numeric keypad.”
  • “The machine presents the user with a menu of four options, “withdraw $100,” “withdraw other amounts,” “make a deposit,” and “other transactions.” There is a button next to each of the menu options.”
example scenario cont
Example scenario, cont.
  • “The user presses the button for “withdraw $100,” and the machine pays out that amount, deducting it from the user’s account. If the user had more than one account tied to the back card, the amount is deducted from the account with the largest balance.”
  • “The machine returns the bank card to the user.”
  • “It’s a lesson that too few companies have learned even today. ‘If a picture paints a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand pictures,’ says Eisermann,” director of strategic design agency Prospect.
five basic rules about prototyping from design director richard eisermann
Five basic rules about prototyping from design director Richard Eisermann
  • Begin early. The sooner you materialise ideas and get them in front of people, the richer your final design will be.
  • Beat it up. Make a modifiable prototype so you can easily adapt it, even on the spot. 
  • Don’t bother with perfection. The prototype exists to get information, not to show how brilliant the design is.
  • Do just enough. A little data goes a long way. Figure what you need to test and focus on getting those answers.
  • Record the test. If you don’t have a record, it didn’t happen.

  • Finally, create a prototype of the ATM to present to your user for feedback
  • Share
inclusive design
Inclusive Design
  • Motivated by many factors, including business reasons
  • Design should not be more exclusive than basic task requires
  • Moving beyond accessibility for people with disabilities to designing products that are usable by people of all ages and abilities

Source: Keates and Clarkson, 2003

inclusive design scales
Inclusive Design: Scales
  • Motion
  • Dexterity
  • Reach and stretch
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Communication
  • Intellectual functioning

Source: Keates and Clarkson, 2003

locomotion capability scale
Locomotion capability scale

Consists of walking, stair climbing, bending and balance capabilities.

Source: Keates and Clarkson, 2003

dexterity capability scale
Dexterity capability scale

Considers picking up, carrying, holding and twisting capabilities.

Source: Keates and Clarkson, 2003

universal design 7 principles mace in inclusive design
Universal Design: 7 Principles(Mace, in Inclusive Design)
  • Equitable use – the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • Flexibility in use – the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  • Simple and intuitive to use – use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of user’s experience, knowledge, language, skill or current concentration level.
universal design 7 principles cont
Universal Design: 7 Principles, cont.
  • Perceptible information – the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  • Tolerance for error – the design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
universal design 7 principles cont1
Universal Design: 7 Principles, cont.
  • Low physical effort – the design can be used efficiently and effectively with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Size and space for approach and use – appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.
  • Distinguishing FeatureUniversal Design - A philosophy of making products that are easy to use for the widest possible spectrum of users.