Wayfinding in the variety of methods for user centred design
“We are using user centred design methods in product development processes to create valuable, usable and successful products. We use many of these methods over and over again because we are familiar with them and can easily ‘tweak’ them a little to our situation. But what if there is a method that could be a better fit with the problem that you are facing? Or what if you are not that much experienced with methods and you do not have a clue which methods you could use?”
That were the questions that we discussed at the Chi Sparks conference on Thursday June 23 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In a 1.5 hour workshop with 20 HCI-professionals, we discussed a very first prototype of the method selection tool that I develop during my graduation project. The prototype was developed based on Microsoft Silverlight PivotViewer, a platform to visualize large amounts of data. The platform was found as an interesting candidate to develop the method selection tool in; it matched with about 90% of the initial requirements. However, we also discovered a number of issues in both the data handling and the interface (will be described in an upcoming post).
The workshop intended to find out whether 1) the selection procedure that was developed actually works and 2) to give an indication to what degree this selection procedure was supported by the PivotViewer platform. Resulting from this workshop were a lot of flip-over sheets with clear preferences and proposed changes to the current selection procedure and interface. From that, we made changes to the selection procedure and developed two final interface design proposals.
- Design ‘Pivot’ is directly related to the capabilities of the PivotViewer platform. The developed functions and style elements are seen as a necessary addition to the standard platform to make Pivot useful for the intended purpose.
- Design proposal ‘Tovip’ can be seen as the counterpart of Pivot (how creative); it holds the functions and interface design elements of which it was uncertain 1) whether this would be possible in Pivot and 2) which interface design element would be better in general use.
Although I am working on the project for about six months now, the workshop really gave a boost to the definition of the selection procedure and the interface. Within a week time I got a lot of user input and was able to translate that into improved designs. Both designs will be tested in July after which I will recommend a final design and technical development plan before graduation.
Note: Unfortunately we cannot give public access to the prototype at this time. The current state is not mature enough to go public; a lot of basic elements in the selection procedure still need attention. Please stay tuned via this website or our upcoming LinkedIn group for more news.