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USER

THE CENTRAL PREMISE OF USER CENTRED


DESIGN IS THAT THE BEST DESIGNED
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES RESULT FROM
UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF THE

CENTRED
Find out what’s below the
surface of a cool design
PEOPLE WHO WILL USE THEM.— Design Council
Good design is more than meets the eye. practices that have the aim to provide a
The visual part of a design – the look good user experience. This includes web
and feel – is only the tip of the iceberg. design, interface design, product design,
Beneath the surface lies the foundation of editorial design, urban design, wayfinding,

DESIGN
a successful design: a user centred design service design and architecture.
process. It is a development cycle which
takes into consideration what users really There are a variety of tools, techniques
need and makes adjustments by exploring, and methods at each stage of the process
testing and tuning the design until these which are used to progress the design.
needs are satisfied. The result of this is a Some of them are explained here. The
high level of usability: the design is effective, product’s probability of success is greatly
efficient, engaging and easy to learn. increased by understanding and using
The process can be applied to all design these techniques.

COMPLETION
concrete
VISUAL DESIGN The visual treatment of graphic elements,
the look and feel of the product
typography, colour palette, alignment,
texture, tactile quality of materials

INFORMATION DESIGN Designing the presentation of information


to facilitate understanding
navigation, table of contents, indices,
visual hierarchy

STRUCTURE Structural design of the information space


to facilitate intuitive access to content
information architecture, interaction
design, wireframe, progressive disclosure

REQUIREMENTS Definition of scope, user needs, content


and information requirements, functional
personas, accessibility, feature set,
ethnographic research, differentiation,
specifications purpose

STRATEGY Planning out the objectives and goals


of the project, specifying organisational
project space, project schedule, selecting
methods and techniques, briefing
CONCEPTION
requirements
abstract
AN
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METHODS AND TECHNIQUES METHODS AND TECHNIQUES

STICKY NOTES USER REQUIREMENTS


Comparing notes is a useful tool to aid decision making. Ideas are
written down on individual sticky notes, weighed against one another
ION It is vital to use all available resources to gather information about
the users’ requirements. Successful projects use an average of
and organised according to priority or other criteria (speed, cost,
AT CO five different sources of information. These may be focus groups,

NT
quality, desirability etc). This technique can also be used with users contextual or individual interviews, observation, surveys, etc.
to get them to put their considerations in order of importance.
NC
E

PERSONAS AND SCENARIOS


M

PROJECT SPACE
EP
LE

ALUATION
A persona is an archetype comprised of habits and characteristics
V
T

A dedicated project area where research and visualisations can be


E
of the target audience. Scenarios are little stories describing how
IMP

organised spatially on walls provides a creative work environment typical user tasks are carried out. They help to anticipate and identify
where meetings can be held surrounded by stimuli. Constructing a the decisions a user will have to make at each step in their experience
The user centred design process
story about the project in the space providing roughs and unpolished and through each environment or system state they will encounter.
is an iterative cycle where every
design invites others to comment and contribute.
step is evaluated against the
initially identified requirements
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES of the users and iterated until PROGRESSIVE DISCLOSURE
these requirements are met. Managing the information complexity or cognitive load by displaying
It is important to consider good practice guidelines relevant to Evaluation methods include: only relevant information at any given time prevents information
the project in order to address broad user requirements and meet
overload. For example through effective signposting of destinations
accessibility standards. For example RNIB legibility guidelines, W3C PERSONAS & SCENARIOS
in a wayfinding system or using “read more” links on a website.
validation, ISO standards, British Standards or ergonomic principles. ROLE PLAY
USER TESTING

AESTHETICS
ACCESSIBILITY TESTING
FOCUS GROUP
USABILITY TESTING
Visual design impacts greatly on the usability of a product. Users OBSERVATION Evaluating a product by testing it with representative users helps
prefer a beautiful look & feel over an ugly or dull one. Aesthetic designs to identify usability problems by collecting quantitative data on
are perceived as easier to use, whether they are or not. Good designers the users’ performance (e.g. error rate) and establishing their
find a perfect combination of accessibility and aesthetics. satisfaction with the product.

PROTOTYPING RAPID VISUALISATION


Prototypes are simple, incomplete models that can be used to Visualising ideas and concepts rapidly using pen and paper is
evaluate responses to form (looks-like prototype) or aspects of build helpful to communicate them to the team and to test ideas quickly
and functionality (works-like prototype) of a product. They typically without investing time and resources into polished design. Rough
evolve from concept sketches or wireframes to low and high-fidelity and unpolished looking sketches, wireframes and storyboards
models as they progress through the development cycle. DESIGN encourage constructive feedback and stimulate discussion.

USER CAPABILITIES USER GOALS USER INVOLVEMENT


Users have different requirements depending on their situation and Users’ needs depend on what they are trying to achieve when they use The most successful results are achieved when the user is involved in every
capabilities. Catering for these needs and enabling access to the product the product. These user goals inform the information requirements that step of the design process either through direct feedback, user testing,
or system for as many people as possible is the aim of inclusive design. need to be addressed in order to achieve a high level of usability. observation or informed evaluation using previously gathered information.

tell me show me involve me


prototype

high stress levels varying abilities


short of time, eyesight, motor
responsibility abilities, hearing
for children impairment
ACCESSIBILITY DESIGNER USER

low confidence
unfamiliar with language barrier
system, first English not first
time user language, low
literacy, dyslexia
INSTRUCT AND DIRECT INFORM AND GUIDE REVEAL
low perception of safety
fear of discrimination,
compromised data feedback
security, injury
time poor time rich

Sources: The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett (2000, www.jjg.net/elements), Design Council (www.designcouncil.org.uk), W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (www.w3.org/WAI), Designed by Pascal Raabe (www.paznow.com) This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons
Universal Principles of Design by Lidwell et al (2003), Common User Access: Guide to User Peter Morville (www.semanticstudios.com), Magnus Revang (userexperienceproject.blogspot.com), in accordance with the RNIB Clear Print
Attribution-Noncommercial-
Interface Design by IBM (1991), ISO 13407 Human-centred design processes for interactive Leisa Reichelt (www.disambiguity.com), Michael Cummings (uxdesign.com), See it Right 2006 legibility guidelines and with the help and © Pascal Raabe 2010, Share Alike 2.0 UK: England
systems (1999, www.iso.org), UsabilityNet (www.usabilitynet.org), www.usability.gov, legibility guidelines by the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB, www.rnib.org.uk) friendly support of City ID (www.cityid.co.uk). some rights reserved. & Wales License.