ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

Not Available
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 47, NO. 1, MARCH 2004 75
Karel Vredenberg, Scott Isensee, and Carol Righi
User-Centered Design: An Integrated Approach
Book Review
—Reviewed by
T
IMOTHY
L. J. F
ERRIS,
SENIOR MEMBER, IEEE
Index Terms—Software design, software engineering, user-centered design.
This book results from a decade of presenting
the user-centered design (UCD) methodology for
hundreds of companies (p. xxiii) and appears to be
the book complement to the professional development
short course. Its purpose is to encourage software
developers to focus on the total user experience
of software products during the whole of the
development cycle. The notion of the “total user
experience” is valuable because it focuses attention on
the whole product-use cycle, from initial awareness
through productive use.
The book comprises five chapters. The first, “Taking
stock,” prompts the reader to review the current
situation in their company. The scenario painted is
of the stereotypical company with poor processes for
ensuring that product development methods produce
products satisfying the real needs of the customer
in a good whole-product experience. At the end of
the chapter, the argument that usable products are
expensive is answered in a series of bulleted points
asserting that usable products are easier to use and
understand—thus reducing training and support, as
well as user discomfort and stress—and that they
improve productivity, product quality, and aesthetics,
thus providing a competitive advantage.
The second chapter, “The Integrated Approach,”
describes the principles of the UCD approach.
The six principles are to: (1) set business goals;
(2) understand the customers; (3) design the total
customer experience from advertising to end-of-use;
(4) perform rigorous evaluation of designs; (5) assess
product competitiveness against all direct and
indirect competitors; and (6) manage the project for
a single coherent good for the user product. This
chapter suggests that the development team should
Manuscript received October 26, 2003; revised October 30,
2003. The reviewer is with Systems Engineering and Evaluation
Centre, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes 5095,
Australia (email: timferris@ieee.org).
IEEE DOI 10.1109/TPC.2004.824283
Book Publisher:
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002, 246 pp.
with index, plus CD.
be multidisciplinary and include industrial design
and human–computer interface specialists, and that
any project needs a good leader and clear allocation of
responsibilities to people with the appropriate skills.
The authors also state that product design needs to
consider the needs of users in non-US cultures and
those with physical disabilities, such as impaired
vision (p. 54).
The third chapter, “Introducing the Approach,”
presents the problem of introducing a UCD-based
development culture into the stereotypical software
development house described in chapter 1. The
major points are the suggestion that a UCD program
commence with an awareness campaign so that
staff members understand the importance of UCD.
The authors also state that a UCD program is
easier to effect with executive support, and that a
suitable champion should be appointed. The methods
for persuading workers to implement the UCD
methodologies described in this chapter conform to
standard organizational cultural change methods,
such as using frequent small communications rather
than a single set-piece event, and applying the
methodology gradually rather than in a single big
rollout.
The fourth chapter, “Deploying the Approach,”
opens by discussing the recruitment of subjects
to be used in UCD development. Processes for
recruitment, scheduling of sessions, legal issues, and
reimbursement of subjects are mentioned. However,
an absence visible to any university academic is
the issue of ethics in the use of human subjects in
projects performed for commercial gain. Whilst this
may be covered in local legislation, a total lack of
mention of the issue of ethics is a serious failing in
any work dealing with recruitment of human subjects
to participate in any kind of experimental work. In
addition, there is mention of “usability requirements”
(p. 112). What is unclear is whether the author uses
the word “requirement” in its common sense as a
common language statement of what is needed, or in
the rigorous sense of MIL-STD-490A Section 3, which
defines the form of “Requirement Statements” used
to definitively define the intended product or system
for both engineering and contractual purposes. This
0361-1434/04$20.00 © 2004 IEEE
76 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 47, NO. 1, MARCH 2004
ambiguity is nowhere clarified. A similar lack of
precision is found in the discussion of two methods
for working through what the product should do: the
task scenario and the object-oriented use case
method. The authors state that the use case method
describes the action from the product viewpoint,
whereas the need is for, and the task scenario
approach supports, analysis from the user viewpoint.
Unfortunately, both methods are described so briefly
that the reader cannot confidently proceed with the
use of either method. In the matter of usability testing,
the authors say that the tests must have a clearly
defined purpose and that, where the product design
includes internationalization of the product, there
must be a context-rich test environment. However,
these comments are not supported by deeper
discussions about how these ends can be fulfilled.
The fifth chapter, Optimizing Your Implementation of
the Approach, provides advice for improving certain
aspects of the UCD approach. The first major topic
revisits the recruitment of subjects and asserts the
benefit of ensuring subjects are not used too often, to
avoid study fatigue,and the need to respect privacy
laws and the practical experience of the subjects.
These are good points, but a very important issue
never discussed in the book is how to avoid bias
caused by the idiosyncrasies of particular subjects,
each of whom has particular opinions about what
is desirable in a user interface and the structure of
information implied by the user interface. Clearly,
usability reports or comments may be biased by
individual preferences, even among people who are
substantially representativeusers. There is a short
introduction of the idea of story-based design, in
which use, scenarios are described by means of
stories describing the sequence of use activities that
would be required for the product system to support
particular user-initiated transactions.
The book also includes a CD containing several very
short video clips which provide both motivational
content supporting the adoption of UCD and
introductory ideas concerning some of the techniques
mentioned in the book. The total duration of the
video content is 10 to 15 minutes. The brief clips
are provided to give readers ideas about how to
implement UCD in their own workplaces.
Both the book and the video are heavy on motivational
material, but light on the substance of the UCD
method or the analysis of process or procedure for
consistent and coherent development of UCD. Thus,
the book contrasts with works in systems engineering,
which often provide similar motivational content in
a brief introductory chapter, and follow that with a
methodology that has been demonstrated effective in
engaging a developer and customer in a relationship
that usually leads to the production of successful
innovative sociotechnical systems, normally orders of
magnitude more complex than the products envisaged
in this book. The systems engineering processes
used in the defense industry are often criticized as
overhead-intensive, and prompt a negative reaction
in those seeking to perform small-scale civilian
projects, claiming that the methods are massively too
expensive. Therefore, there is a place for a simplified
approach to product development that incorporates
awareness of all facets of the products life cycle,
including development, use, support, and the legacy
created by the product. This is the space claimed by
the authors as the domain of UCD, but what they have
presented as methodology is too fluid to be grasped.
The authors have correctly identified that the civilian
industry is concerned about the cost of any formal
process and have, therefore, stressed that the UCD
approach can be implemented in a scaled manner,
respecting the size and the issues involved in a
particular project. However, a more useful book would
be one that identifies a range of processes that can
be used, explaining the nature of those processes in
enough detail that a practitioner could confidently
implement each process, and providing guidelines
explaining when certain processes should be used
and when they should be laid aside. Such a work
would be a useful contribution to the field of product
development management, and would be useful to
both practicing professionals and in education. The
work I propose as more useful would make UCD
something that can be grasped and applied rather
than the chameleon it appears in the present work,
where it seems to be all things to all people, but
nothing in particular. The present book appears to
be targeted at jolting software developers from the
technocentrism common to many, to a user-centered
attitude shared by a part of the developer community.
The structure of the present book reminds me of
computer manuals postintroduction of the IBM
PC. The manuals are part of a flexible, multiply
configurable system, with the result that no manual
takes the novice user from the physical arrangement
of the product through to the details of use of the
applications software in a manual with a logical page
1. Rather, every manual pertains to a part of the
system and assumes the reader understands the
context of the whole system and seeks a reference
work for the part for which it purports to be a
manual. Such manuals contrast with manuals for
consumer machinery, such as washing machines.
Similarly, this book addresses part of the field, but
makes considerable assumptions about the readers
knowledge and access to other materials, which are
necessary to make the content of the book useful.
The existence of this book is a sad indictment of the
professional education process of software developers:
the functional cultural imperialism implied by the
take it or leave itattitude of many software vendors,
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 47, NO. 1, MARCH 2004 77
and the common vendor business model of shifting
a major part of the product validation process
to the customer, after shipping. By implication,
this book points to areas for improvement in the
education for and business practices in the software
development industry, which, if addressed, would
provide considerable improvements for all users of
software products.
... User-Centered Design (UCD) is defined as "a philosophy based on the needs and interests of the user, with an emphasis on making products usable and understandable" (Norman, 2013). UCD process has advocated the need to understand users before creating design solutions (Ferris, 2004). The need to understand users is argued to be the difference in mental model between a designer and a user (Wykes,1984). ...
... The need to understand users is argued to be the difference in mental model between a designer and a user (Wykes,1984). Therefore, a design solution produced without understanding users might not solve the actual problem or might be difficult to use (Norman, 2013); (Ferris, 2004); (Wykes,1984); (Corry, Frick and Hansen, 1997). It is due to UCD philosophy that many new design methods have been developed which try to involve users at almost every step of the design process, for example, participatory design, co design etc. HCI design is one the fields of industrial design which has a greater reliance on user information for taking design related decisions. ...
Conference Paper
This paper investigates the design thinking process of a designer while solving a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) design problem. HCI design requires a considerable amount of user information to take design-related decisions. HCI designers are often asked to think through the user's mental models and cognitively empathize with the users while designing. Due to this, designers collect and refer user data to develop more user-friendly products. But with increased use and reliance on user data to solve complex interaction design problems, it becomes important to investigate how the design thinking process of a designer is affected by the introduction of user information. The experimental study presented in this paper is aimed to understand the transformations in design thinking process with the introduction of user information.
... Usability testing is commonly used in software engineering and HCI research. It has been described as: "representative users attempting representative tasks in representative environments, on early prototypes or working versions of computer interfaces" [35]. The aim of usability testing is to find flaws in the interface that need improvement, and make products more sensitive to users' needs at an early stage of development [36]. ...
Article
Background Digital health research encompasses methods from human-computer interaction and health research. Objective This paper aims to describe how these methods were combined to develop HeLP-Diabetes: Starting Out, a web-based structured education program for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Methods The development process consisted of three phases: initial design for effectiveness, optimization for usability, and in the wild testing in the National Health Service with people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and further revisions. We adopted an iterative user-centered approach and followed steps from the human-computer interaction design life cycle and the Medical Research Council guidelines on developing and evaluating complex interventions. Results The initial design process resulted in an 8-session program containing information and behavior change techniques targeting weight loss, being more active, and taking medication. The usability testing was highlighted at an early stage, where changes needed to be made to the language and layout of the program. The in the wild testing provided data on uptake of and barriers to use. The study suggested low uptake and completion of the program, but those who used it seemed to benefit from it. The qualitative findings suggested that barriers to use included an expectation that the program would take too long. This informed refinements to the program. Conclusions The use of interdisciplinary methods resulted in an iterative development process and refinements to the program that were based on user needs and data on uptake. The final intervention was more suitable for a definitive evaluation than the initial version. The description of our approach informs other digital health researchers on how to make interventions more sensitive to user needs.
... We are of the opinion that these aspects can be quite easily integrated by adopting an allround stakeholder perspective, as this study illustrates. One could argue that our service model design process shares a resemblance with user-centred design (UCD) processes [50,51]. While this is to some extent true with regard to the steps (identify needs, understand context and requirements, produce design solutions and evaluate these solutions), service model design does not focus on designing a user-friendly eHealth technology. ...
Full-text available
Article
Background Service model design is slowly being recognized among eHealth developers as a valuable method for creating durable implementation strategies. Nonetheless, practical guidelines and case-studies that inform the community on how to design a service model for an eHealth innovation are lacking. This study describes the development of a service model for an eHealth service, titled ‘SALSA’, which intends to support older adults with a physically active and socially inclusive lifestyle. Methods The service model for the SALSA service was developed in eight consecutive rounds, using a mixed-methods approach. First, a stakeholder salience analysis was conducted to identify the most relevant stakeholders. In rounds 2–4, in-depth insights about implementation barriers, facilitators and workflow processes of these stakeholders were gathered. Rounds 5 and 6 were set up to optimize the service model and receive feedback from stakeholders. In rounds 7 and 8, we focused on future implementation and integrating the service model with the technical components of the eHealth service. Results While the initial goal was to create one digital platform for the eHealth service, the results of the service modelling showed how the needs of two important stakeholders, physiotherapists and sports trainers, were too different for integrating them in one platform. Therefore, the decision was made to create two platforms, one for preventive (senior sports activities) and one for curative (physical rehabilitation) purposes. Conclusions A service model shows the interplay between service model design, technical development and business modelling. The process of service modelling helps to align the interests of the different stakeholders to create support for future implementation of an eHealth service. This study provides clear documentation on how to conduct service model design processes which can enable future learning and kickstart new research. Our results show the potential that service model design has for service development and innovation in health care.
Chapter
Sustainability and sustainable development are extremely critical aspects in modern society. Sustainability is the term employed for the practice of ensuring that goods and services are produced in ways that do not use resources that cannot be replaced. This concept can be extended to any environmental, political, and socio-economical system, becoming a global concern that has been highlighted in several different re-search agendas. According to the general assembly of the United Nations defined in 2015 a universal call to action, defining 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed not only to governments but also to businesses and civil society. The agenda goes to the heart of tackling a number of interrelated global issues such as poverty, inequality, hunger, and environmental degradation. In this scenario, the research area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) plays a key role into the design and development of software applications and practices aimed to achieve the SDGs. This paper depicts a vision about how HCI could be integrated in a better way through the inclusion of human values aspects in the design of interactive applications) lines before and after the abstract.KeywordsHuman-computer interactionInteractive applications
Thesis
This research explores design issues for an IoT-based smart parking system and uses it as a case study for stakeholders. It also describes a proposed plan for the deployment and evaluation of this system’s effectiveness in facilitating an enhanced parking experience as a consequence. The methodology for accomplishing this has been to work in the context of applying User-Centred Design (UCD) to help us to understand and to examine how to support the development of IoT-based smart parking system prototypes. The thesis reports empirical work, applying a UCD approach with a diverse group of participants (e.g. staff members, visitors, students). In this thesis, 4 phases with 2 iterations of UCD were carried out. It began with identifying the requirements to understand the needs of drivers and then with applying the next phases, which are design, prototype and evaluation respectively. Involving users at the early stages of the development, applying UCD, helped to address issues that seem particularly problematic with a smart parking system. This process also showed the current limitations of traditional parking systems. In addition, it highlighted what kind of system might work better to meet the needs of all stakeholders and the issues experienced by users who commute daily using their private cars. Therefore, this supported the justification of users’ needs and perspectives allowing for the identification of an area of potential intervention. The work reported in this thesis is a proposition, design, prototype and implementation of an IoT-based smart parking system which facilitates finding parking spots for the user. This process included observations, diaries and in-depth interviews with stakeholders (ranging from the parking users to system operators). Based on empirical results, which focused on stakeholders and their role in designing an IoT parking system, the research contributes knowledge about how to address stakeholders’ needs, by including them and their preferences in the development of initial prototypes of a smart parking technology, onto the generation of ideas and to a final prototype.
Thesis
During the design process older and/or disabled adults are often left out of the needs elicitation process because many of the User Centered Needs Elicitation Methods (UCNEM) are not accessible to these individuals. This thesis explains the development of NICKEL, a decision support tool which allows users to determine UCNEMs that fit the human capability of the older and/or disabled adult participants in their study. Three levels of the cognitive, visual, hearing and physical human capabilities required for 19 UCNEMs are determined using a survey and focus group with expert designers/researchers. A user study is carried out to determine the usability and usefulness of NICKEL with novice and expert designers/researchers. Major findings indicated that NICKEL is an easy to use and useful tool for users when determining appropriate UCNEMs for older and disabled adults. Future work could include adding other capabilities such as interpersonal skills and adding new methods to NICKEL.
Full-text available
Article
User-centered design (UCD) is well recognized as an effective human factor engineering strategy for designing ease of use in the total customer experience with products and information technology that has been applied specifically to health care information technology systems. We conducted a literature review to analyze the current research regarding the use of UCD methods and principles to support the development or evaluation of diabetes-related consumer health informatics technology (CHIT) initiatives. Findings indicate that (1) UCD activities have been applied across the technology development life cycle stages, (2) there are benefits to incorporating UCD to better inform CHIT development in this area, and (3) the degree of adoption of the UCD process is quite uneven across diabetes CHIT studies. In addition, few to no studies report on methods used across all phases of the life cycle with process detail. To address that void, the Appendix provides an illustrative case study example of UCD techniques across development stages.
Article
Presently, making friends or finding mates on dating websites is becoming more and more popular. Friends-seeking products based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) offers a new thought of friends-seeking with the combination of on-line and off-line operation replying on the internet resources. Radio Frequency Friends-seeking products expand the space of making friends on-line and offer a true and special friends-seeking experience to the users registered on the same website. This paper mainly focused on the design concepts, combination relation, and overall design thoughts between marriage and friends-seeking websites and Radio Frequency Friends-seeking products. In the practice of design, this paper confronted the theme directly from industry design perspective, and gave a general layout to the function design, usage and status under use. Moreover, it designed and manufactured the prototype products to finish the principle test of the products before mass production. Finally, it attempted to discuss the marketing models preliminarily.
Full-text available
Conference Paper
The paper presents a synergy effect achieved through knowledge and experience exchange in the field of Graphical User Interface (GUI) usability and accessibility among Leonardo da Vinci Partnerships project partners. The main aim of the project is curricula and teaching materials development in the usability and accessibility of computer applications area. Partner universities join their potential in order to achieve the planned results.
Full-text available
Conference Paper
There is a wealth of theoretical knowledge about the developmental abilities and skills of children. However, this knowledge is not readily accessible to designers of interactive products. In this paper, we present the requirements, design and evaluation of developmentally situated design (DSD) cards. DSD cards are a design tool that makes age specific information about children's developing cognitive, physical, social, and emotional abilities readily accessible for designers. Initial requirements were elicited through interviews with design practitioners and students. The cards were evaluated through a design-in-use study in which design students used the cards to address three different design problems. Our analysis of observational notes and post-design interviews revealed how the cards' characteristics enabled different kinds of uses including framing, orienting, inspiring, informing, integrating and constraining. We conclude with a discussion of possible refinements and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our approach.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.