- Realizing the UCD Method Exploration Tool (help needed)
- Here's to the crazy ones
- Design for Usability Symposium 2011 - Putting research into practice
- What it's like to really blindly use an ATM
- Boeing 737's radical innovation: new button to call flight attendant
- TEDxDelft; 'Creating History' on November 7
- CHI Sparks keynote online: User-Centered Design - A Reality Check
- '60% of time spent on paperwork' due to new ICT system at Dutch police
- My Blackberry is not working!
- Swiping or dipping? Which is more secure?
- Writing reports is user-centered design
- Apple's history in tablet computers
- Interaction Design Encyclopedia
- 'Useful information clutters my design'
- User Experience explanation/demarcation white paper
- Apple's Magic Mouse hasn't got a clue
- Tron concept designer doesn't like reality
- Recommendations for usability in practice card set (pdf or hardcopy)
- Thesis: Managing Product Usability
- Bill Murray's rant about high-tech
- Intuitive find and replace
- Product Impact Symposium on World Usability Day (Nov. 11)
- The fluorescent green toilet
- The impossible-to-turn-off faucet, by Philippe Starck
- "Don't pull the towel, just touch it"
WED LIKE TO ASK YOUR HELP TO MAKE THE UCD METHOD EXPLORATION TOOL A REALITY. THIS TOOL IS AN ONLINE PLATFORM WHERE USER-CENTERED DESIGN PROFESSIONALS CAN EXPLORE AND COMPARE UCD METHODS, DEVELOPED BY TRISTAN WEEVERS WITHIN THE DESIGN FOR USABILITY RESEARCH PROJECT. IT IS ONE OF THE 24 NOMINEES FOR TU DELFTS INNOVATION AWARD, AND TO GET TO INTO THE FINAL ROUND OF THIS COMPETITION IT NEEDS YOUR VOTE (NR. 21, BOTTOM OF PAGE). UPDATE: VOTING IS CLOSED The UCD Method Exploration Tool has been developed through a practitioner-centered approach: the selection procedure and the way information about methods is presented has been developed through involvement of practitioners. Currently the design is mature to the extent that we can actually start implementing, but we need funding for that. In TU Delfts Innovation Award two projects can win a budget for prototyping/development, and thats what were after. Out of the 24 nominated projects, 6 finalists will be selected, one of which by online audience vote. This is where you come in. If you are a UCD professional and would to help us in developing this project further, please vote. And spread the word! Twitter, blog, email (you can even use Google+ if you need to), but get as many UCD professionals as possible to help us! MORE INFORMATION If youre interested, below youll find some more information about the UCD Method Exploration Tool PROBLEM STATEMENT In user-centered design (UCD) a crucial challenge is to find and select the right method. UCD methods are intended to help designers in planning and executing their UCD projects. Product development practice is extremely hectic and messy, often leaving practitioners with very little time to explore and select methods for UCD; they need to quickly find the appropriate method, assess its qualities, and learn how to apply it. However, there are more than 200 UCD methods available. As a consequence, designers often stick to what they know, leaving many potentially beneficial methods unused, which is also a barrier for the dissemination into practice of new methods developed by fellow practitioners and through academic research. THE TOOL This is why we developed the UCD Method Exploration Tool; an online resource for exploring and selecting methods for user-centered design. It allows practitioners (as well as students) to quickly explore and select appropriate methods. The selection procedure underlying the tool is based on a set of criteria, categorized in a sequence that matches the practitioner’s knowledge about a project: * The product category that is being worked on. * Goal of applying the method: i) learning about users and their context, ii) synthesizing solutions, iii) simulating a solution iv) evaluating a solution. * Limiting factors and available resources (e.g., timespan and staff). * Optional criteria (e.g., desired study location and participant details See the short demo in the YouTube movie below. You can also try the experimental online prototype: http://bit.ly/DfUexplore2. Please note that this is an experiment, built in the Microsoft Silverlight PivotViewer platform. The final design will differ considerably in terms of UI design, and somewhat in therms of selection procedure. (See contact details below if you have feedback) BENEFITS The UCD Method Exploration Tool is innovative both in how it presents the methods as well as selection procedure. In existing method collections, descriptions of methods are often incomplete and at times considered ‘too academic’ by practitioners. But most importantly existing method collections provide little or ineffective guidance for selecting the appropriate method. Some do offer a categorization of methods, but user research among practitioners showed that the categorizations are not in line with the preferences, background knowledge and working environment of practitioners. Limitations that current method collections exhibit in terms of content, content presentation and guidance for method selection are a barrier for the uptake of these collections. In contrast to existing method collections, the selection procedure underlying the UCD Method Exploration Tool and the description of the methods it contains were developed in close cooperation with practitioner and takes into account their way of working and preferences. In addition to the design of the tool itself, we aim to pay attention to creating a community of practitioners and experts around it. Similar initiatives often ‘freeze’ after they have been implemented, thus only giving an overview of the methods available at the time the collection was created, and not reflecting any progress since then. We think it is important that such a tool receives backing from people and organizations in the field, which is why we intend to support the tool with a community of contributors and editors (to keep it up to date and ensure quality) and a foundation (to ensure continuity). DESIGN PROCESS The design for the UCD Method Exploration Tool was created through a practitioner-centered design approach: * Based on literature as well as on exploratory interviews with practitioners a design brief was created and product requirements were identified; * With these requirements as input five polarizing concepts (differing both in terms of selection procedure and user interface design) were created, which were then evaluated with practitioners; * The chosen selection procedure was implemented in a first prototype of the tool and evaluated by 20 practitioners and researchers during a workshop at a conference; * Based on input from that workshop the selection procedure was refined and two detailed designs were created, which were once more evaluated, this time with practitioners, researchers and students; * In a final iteration, improvements were made to both the selection procedure and the interface design. This resulted in the final recommended design for further development. CONTACT US Were on the lookout for experienced practitioners and academics who would like to get involved in this project, for example by reviewing prototypes or contributing and evaluating method descriptions. And - as is probably clear - please also contact us if you have advice on how we could fund our project. If youd like to know more or get involved, contact Tristan Weevers or Jasper van Kuijk. But most importantly... dont forget to vote.
On November 10, 2011 - World Usability Day - the third Design for Usability Symposium will take place at in Utrecht (The Netherlands). The symposium is organized by the Design for Usability Research project, within which I conduct my research. In this third edition tools and methods for usability developed by the project will be presented.
AUDIENCE AND REGISTRATION
The symposium is mostly targeted at product development and user-centered design professionals, and there are 200 seats available of which at the time of writing almost half were already taken. Register here.
The morning program consists of three presentations. Two product development practitioners will reflect on how user-centered design has evolved in practice over the last years, and will describe their cooperation with the DfU project. Next, DfU project leader Daan van Eijk will present an overview of the project results:
In the afternoon workshops will be held in which you can experience the new tools and methods for design for usability:
The day will be closed with the presentation of setup of the design for usability Methods and Tools book, which at a later date will be sent free of charge to all participants of the symposium.
"Find hole below? How far below? Is this a hole? No, thats not it. That doesnt feel like a hole at all! Ill just start sticking the plug anywhere..." In case youre wondering: it takes eleven minutes, and that includes one unintentional almost-withdrawal of 40.000 dollars. Unfortunately this man would be referred to by many interaction designers as a corner or edge case. via @ThijsNiks
reports that Boeing is moving away its call flight-attendant button from the reading light in the new version of its 737 passenger jet, because passengers kept - unintentionally and to their great embarrassment - calling flight attendants instead of switching on the reading light. Boeing calls this step _an innovation that is as radical as it is obvious_. Id say its indeed obvious, but instead of radical would rather call it long overdue fixing of a design that never should have existed to begin with. What I find interesting though with this example is the motivation Boeing provides for fixing this: * The countless pointless trips that flight attendants made to passengers. Time that they could have spent on providing services to other passengers. * The embarrassment that passengers feel when making the mistake of calling the flight attendant instead of switching on the reading light. So what it comes down to is that Boeing is trying to improve the user experience of flying. Better late than never. [Photo: Flickr/Therobbstory]
TEDxDelft event will take place in the Aula of Delft University of Technology. I have the honor of being the host and thus to introduce an exciting list of speakers such as the first Dutch-born astronaut (for the Dutch readers among you: not Wubbo Ockels for a change), Louis Vermeersch (former head of design at Pininfarina).
The keynote presentation I gave the CHI Sparks 2011 conference on June 23 in Arnhem (The Netherlands) is now available online through the conferences proceedings page. The presentation is entitled _User-Centered Design - A Reality Check_. In it I discuss the primary mechanisms of barriers and enablers for usability in practice, as identified through my PhD research. In case you want to cut to the chase, heres the buildup and corresponding time codes of the presentation (sorry, Vimeo doesnt allow linking to time markers): * Introduction * Interaction, experience and usability (3:05) * Effects of (a lack of) usability (6:40) * Setup and outcomes of my PhD research (11:20) * Primary mechanisms of barriers and enablers (15:50) * Functionality and usability (16:05) * Concept versus details, design versus development (20:30) * Generating shared knowledge on usability issues (23:30) * Design freedom (29:30) * Dont innovate (31:30) * Team organization (32:26) * Dont let designers do their thing (33:50) * Conclusion (35:30)
"If I want to report a shoplifting incident, I can only report suspects or witnesses. There is no option to list someone as, for example, involved. So if the suspect is a minor and I talked to his mother as well, I cannot enter her in the system. (....) It is not possible to report relations between incidents. If speeding is the start of a row between neighbors, I cant report that in one form."Overall The Netherlands employs about 55.000 police officers (source). Lets make some conservative estimates and assume that only half of them use the system on a daily basis. And that, based on the report of the interviewed officer, the amount of time spent on paperwork with the new system is 45% (instead of 60% as he reported). So, we have: * 27.500 police officers; * Spending 15% more time on paperwork; * Which means the Dutch police force just lost the equivalent of at least 4125 officers out in the street; * Whereas Dutch politicians are currently debating whether to hire 3000 more officers. All in all, Id say the Dutch police force and society did not really get a good deal, especially considering the fact that the knowledge on how to develop usable ICT systems is present in industry as well as in academia. _Source: __Article by Joost de Vries in De Volkskrant__ (paid access), June 21_ EARLIER USELOG POST: Unusable software slows down Dutch police
_"Ive got a problem with my Apple. Ive tried to put a dongle in it and it wont fit._" Fairly brilliant.
De Volkskrant / Photo: RTV West
This post does not contain useful information for those of you who only write and receive brilliant reports. For those of you who dont: continue reading. I recently enjoyed a presentation by my StudioLab colleague Prof. Pieter Jan Stappers on why writing reports and scientific articles is user-centred desig (pdf). Some of you may already know Stappers from his work on the contextmapping user research method. In the aforementioned presentation he argues why writing is user-centered design and how to apply UCD to writing. It may all seems very much common sense, and that is good: it shows that Stappers really applied his own principles. I especially enjoyed the distinction he makes between the document sequence, the reading sequence and the writing sequence.
launch of the iPad 2 it might be worthwhile to dwell a little on the iPads predecessors. How long can it take from first idea to successful mass market product? In the case of Apple and the tablet computer about 30 years, as the first ideas of tablet computers at Apple date back to 1979, according to this story at LiquidPubs (which draws from Paul Kunkels landmark book on the work of the Apple Industrial Design Group). 30 years. Hows that for time to market?
Interaction-design.org has launched a new encyclopedia on usability, interaction design and user experience. It takes a somewhat opposite approach to the currently popular web 2.0 or crowdsourcing-like solutions: all entries are written by leading figures who either invented or contributed significantly to each topic, such as Marc Hassenzahl and John M. Carroll. The chapter on user experience and experience design is written bij Marc Hassenzahl (see also the interview in the movie above), with commentaries by Don Norman, Eric Reiss, Mark Blythe, and Whitney Hess. You can sign up to be notified each time a new chapter is published.
As with the terms usability and interaction, there are quite a few perspectives on what user experience is. This is why in September 2010 a number of HCI, (user) experience, interaction and other experts - among which Nigel Bevan, Marc Hassenzahl, Kristina Höök, Kasper Hornbæk, Evangelos Karapanos, and Noam Tractinsky - convened in Schloss Dagstuhl in a seminar on demarcating user experience. The goal was to clarify the scope of the field of user experience, UX research, and practice. The result is a white paper on user experience, which can be downloaded at allaboutUX.org.
If you need to put labels on it or if people need to read the manual: your design is no good. Thats what were often told. And we believe Apple is one of the most user-centred companies on earth. In the picture above you see the instructions for use for the Magic Mouse. The downside of the Magic Mouses beautiful sleek monolithic styling is that it provides no clues (usecues, perceived affordances) as to what actions one can perform with it (pushing buttons, scrolling). In comparison with its predecessor, the Mighty Mouse, even the little scroll wheel has disappeared. However, the interaction, once you start using it, is fluent. So, which is more user-centred? A self-explanatory design, or a sleek design and novel interaction that requires some learning?
Lets also take a look at the packaging the Magic Mouse comes in. There is a little translucent plastic sticker on the container, ensuring it stays shut. And on the corner of that sticker is a little marker: peel here. And behind that marker there is no glue, allowing you to easily remove the sticker.
Why do I bring up these examples? Because I think it shows that the lack of use cues on the Mighty Mouse is neither accident nor ignorance. It seems to me a conscious choice has been made to prioritize a clean aesthetic and innovative interaction style over a self-explaining design. The little sticker on the Mighty Mouse packaging shows Apples obsession with usage, once they decide to put usage first. I prefer to have it all: a self-explanatory design thats beautiful as well. But I can live with this.
"You have no idea how many limitations there are in real world car production, things like safety and marketing," he says. "On screen, you can make some magic happen -- you dont have to think about Tron airbags."It made me smile. Heres one designer who really doesnt like the restrictions of designing for the real world, but wants to make dream designs. Id say in Hollywood hes in the right place.
MANAGING PRODUCT USABILITY; HOW COMPANIES DEAL WITH USABILITY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRONIC CONSUMER PRODUCTS WHY IS THE USABILITY OF MOBILE PHONES SO POOR? WHY AM I NOT ABLE TO DO SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS HOOKING UP MY DVD RECORDER? WHY DO THEY MAKE THESE PRODUCTS SO HARD TO USE? AND ARE THEY DOING IT ON PURPOSE? BASED ON THREE CASE STUDIES IT CAN BE CONCLUDED THAT THERE ARE MANY - STRONG - MECHANISMS IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE THAT PREVENT THE CREATION OF USABLE ELECTRONIC CONSUMER PRODUCTS. PROBLEM STATEMENT The usability of electronic consumer products - portable music players, washing machines, mobile phones - is under pressure. This is attributed to these products being equipped with more and more functions, becoming smaller, and being used in networks and in a large variety of usage contexts. To further complicate things development of these products takes place under enormous time pressure, at low budgets, and by globally distributed teams. THE GAP BETWEEN USABILITY IN THEORY AND IN PRACTICE In the past years many methodologies and methods for user-centred product development have been developed, but consumers are still confronted with scores of unusable electronic consumer products. So what is going on? The problem seems to lie in product development practice. However, current literature on usability in product development practice does not study the product development process as a whole, contains few case studies, and only limited research is available on the electronic consumer products sector specifically. THREE CASE STUDIES To increase the insight into usability in the development of electronic consumer products I conducted three case studies. In the first case study I explored how usability is dealt with in four sectors adjacent to electronic consumer products: automotive, professional coffee equipment, copiers and fast moving consumer goods. The second case study was performed among five major international developers of electronic consumer products (i.e., mp3-players, navigation devices, mobile phones). In the final study I investigated the development history of three electronic consumer products in order to trace the origins of usability issues. 25 recommendations for industry that describe how I would organize product development if the goal is to make usable electronic consumer products. The recommendations were user tested by product development researchers and practitioners by placing them on this weblog, and then improved based on their input. The recommendations are published as a card set alongside the thesis and shortly after the PhD defense a pdf-version of the card set will be published on uselog. THE PRODUCT USABILITY WEBLOG During my PhD project I wrote on ‘uselog.com | the product usability weblog’ (which you are now reading), where I published examples of products with good and poor usability, usability studies, research on user-centred design, and news and events relating to usability. By the end of my research this weblog had nearly 10.000 hits per month. It proved a valuable tool for disseminating research, dialogue with industry and reflection on his research.
WORLD USABILITY DAY - THE DESIGN FOR USABILITY RESEARCH PROJECT ORGANIZES A SYMPOSIUM ON PRODUCT IMPACT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE. LECTURES THE PRODUCT IMPACT SYMPOSIUM WILL FEATURE THE FOLLOWING SPEAKERS AND SUBJECTS: * Peter Paul Verbeek: Professor on philosophy of technology at the University of Twente and author of the book What Things Do. He will discuss mediation theory and libertarian paternalism. * Nynke Tromp: PhD candidate at IDE (TU Delft) on designing for social change. How can you increase the social cohesion in a (bad) neighborhood by means of design? She will discuss how designers can deal with the clash between individual and collective concerns in social design. * Dan Lockton: during his PhD studies Lockton investigated how you can design with intent; how you can guide, steer or force user behavior. He will present his design with intent toolkit. * Steven Dorrestijn: within the DfU project Dorrestijn focuses on how designers can anticipate how their products may change future usage situations. He will discuss product impact in the Dutch OV-chipkaart. See more on the speakers and their lectures here. WORKSHOP The afternoon program consists of a workshop in which you can learn about tools and participate in interactive sessions about guiding and changing user behaviour by design. SIGNING UP Entrance to the symposium is free of charge, but you have to register here. OTHER USELOG POSTS ON PRODUCT IMPACT: > Hooligans like a challenge: indestructible bus-stop destroyed > When simplicity wins over features: Philips DirectLife > Advertising through the UI: offering an inferior deal at a higher price > What the iPhone can do to dinner with friends > The buzzer: awaking a latent need > Flowie motivates seniors to move > Sales over usability in hotel remote control > Software that hacks your behavior
In the series horrible design choices for toilets and bathrooms I give you: "Lets paint the whole room fluorescent green." This was not a public toilet so the green was not meant to prevent intravenous drug use; it was actually backstage in a theater. A theater being a creative environment was probably an excuse to go completely nuts on the color palette. I propose to sneak up on the architect and paint his office the same color.
A friend of mine sent me this little gem: its an Axor Faucet from Hans Grohe, designed by Philippe Starck. Looks wonderful doesnt it? My friend reports the following:
"Scenario: turn on the faucet, wet your hands, turn off faucet, put soap on your hands... and thats where things go wrong: with soap or gel on your hands, or even with just wet hands, there is no way you can turn off the faucet. Its just too slippery."
I guess Mr. Starcks reply would be similar as the one he - reportedly - gave when people were complaining that his Juicy Salif lemon juicer was nearly impossible to use: "My juicer is not meant to squeeze lemons; it is meant to start conversations._"
Of course this water faucet never stood a chance, because Starck and water faucets are a dangerous combination to begin with. Faucets are products that - although thoroughly basic in their functionality - keep taking hits from enthusiastic designers and engineers trying out exciting new things. And Philippe Starck doing interaction design, well, thats just not a very good plan as was demonstrated by his designs for this radio and this radio.