User-Centered Interface Design. 2 What is user-centered design? First, let’s see some everyday examples of design that is NOT user-centered.

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  • User-Centered Interface Design

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    What is user-centered design?First, lets see some everyday examples of design that is NOT user-centered

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    Classic Stove Example

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    Classic Stove ExampleDo the controls work this way?

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    Classical Stove ExampleOr this way?

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    Infamous butterfly ballotTo vote for the democrats do I punch the second hole or the third hole?

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    Helpful color coding

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    Many more interesting exampleshttp://www.iarchitect.com/mshame.htmhttp://www.baddesigns.com

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    What is the problem with these designs?No designer purposes sets out to confuse or irritate() usersFallacy(): the most usable design is OBVIOUS by thinking through interior thinking about the problem

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    Reference Information for JavaWhat frame controls what window?

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    But the target audience loved this approachThe organization was highly meaningful and powerfulIt reflects how users think about the informationClassesPackages

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    The lessonRelying solely on interior thinking is a risky approach to designIt risks making incorrect assumptions about the people who will use a system!

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    User-Centered DesignFocuses on who will use a system from the very beginningChecks in with users each step along the wayUser ResearchAnalysisDesignPrototyping & TestingDevelopmentIterative DesignAB

  • User ResearchFocusing on users from the beginning

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    User ResearchUser ResearchAnalysisDesignPrototyping & TestingDevelopmentIterative Design

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    Discovering User Needs Through Direct Research

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    Observational StudiesObserving how people currently perform work within their live context

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    Observational StudiesPeople arent able to fully articulate what they do Behavior is often automaticImportant factors in the social and physical context are taken for granted

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    Example: Observational StudyKitchen entertainment/information centerPhysical context of use is very important

    Frequent interruptionsWork occurs in a variety of locationsCleanliness highly important

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    Example findings (user needs)Context of UseUser interface for system must be visible and controllable from a distanceTouch screen has limitations for useHands are frequently wet and/or dirtyStylus must be attached to unit

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    User InterviewsAsking users to describe how they perform work and what they think about it

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    User InterviewsLess open-ended than observational studiesQuestions usually focus on getting information about particular user goals and tasksBest conducted in the environment where users perform work

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    Example: User InterviewsWeb Site targeted at software developersHow can we improve the information we provide to developers?Questions about how they seek information

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    Example findings (user needs)Concentrate information on fewer pagesTo leverage using browser search function to find informationProvide fresh technology news dailyVery consistent pattern of proactive information seeking

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    User SurveysAsking people specific questions on use and satisfaction

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    User SurveysThe Internet makes these easy and inexpensive to deployGood for getting specific data on existing features

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    Example: User SurveyDeveloper Web siteUsed to get more data on specific issues identified in open-ended interviews

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    Example findings (user needs)Optimize PDFs for on-screen usePDF Printouts used less frequentlyReplacing search engine is not a high prioritySatisfaction level with current search technology is relatively high

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    User Research: Potential PitfallsMethods misapplied or executed poorlyResults may point the wrong direction

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    Potential Pitfall: Just Asking People What They WantHeres what Homer Simpson says he wants in a car:I want a horn here, here, and here. You can never find a horn when youre mad. And they should all play La Cucaracha.

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    Pitfall: Asking People What They WantThink of the doctor analogyPeople are expert in understanding what the symptoms are, but not the underlying disease or how to treat itThe user researcher must be skilled at diagnosis

  • Prototyping & TestingChecking in with users each step along the way

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    Prototyping & TestingUser ResearchAnalysisDesignPrototyping & TestingDevelopmentIterative Design

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    Early prototypes are low fidelityThey may be very exploratory designsMostly, paper prototypes are usedPages may be hand-drawn or computer-drawnGoal: Get user feedback early when changes are easy to make

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    Low Fidelity vs. Final Design

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    Usability Testing of PrototypesCreate task scenariosRecruit participants to perform the tasks using the prototypeUse the results of testing to fix any problemsRepeat Steps 2-3

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    Conducting test sessionsUsually involves the Think Aloud Protocol (TAP)User expresses thoughts out loud as they perform tasksClip shows testing a system in the final design stages

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    Usability Testing with Paper PrototypesParticipants click by pointingThey enter data by writing on the pagePicture-in-picture video captures peoples actions, what the they say, and their facial expressions

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    In the TAP the facilitator must remain neutralKey to the success of the methodParticipants will look to the facilitator for reassuranceMay feel like they are failing the testSome participants become highly stressedSessions can be long and unpredictable

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    How many users do you need to test?6-8 usersClients are initially skepticalBut after watching the first set of sessions they believeYou start seeing the same problems again & againConserve your participant budget for additional rounds of testing

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    How much of the system do you test?Some testing is always better than noneThere are always time and budget trade-offsPrioritize the most risky areas of a designOr focus on mission-critical areas such as the check-out flow for e-commerce sites

  • Discount Usability Methods

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    Reality BitesThe time and expertise for user-centered design may be absent on many projectsSmall projectsEngineering-driven company cultureFocus on internal thinking to solve design problemsWe know what users want already

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    OptionsConduct a heuristic evaluationHeuristics represent user interface design best practicesJakob Nielsen is a good starting pointwww.useit.com/papers/heuristic/

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    OptionsTest with even one or two usersNielsen: zero users yields zero insightshttp://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.html

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    OptionsTest with internal peopleThey should have no involvement with the designGet folks close to the target audience as possibleRisk of misleading information

  • Learning more about User-Centered Design and Usability

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    Some BooksThe Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the WebJames Jesse GarrettUser-Centered Design: An Integrated Approach Karel Vredenburg, et al

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    A Few Web ResourcesJakob Nielsenwww.useit.com/Usable Webwww.usableweb.com/IBM - Ease of Usewww-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/570