In 2005, Stanton et al. identified more than 200 human factors tools and methods, and I am sure that a lot of (sub-)methods have been created since. Many of these mostly general methods are available through one of the 40 collections for User Centred Design (UCD) methods have been distinguished by Tidball et al. (awaiting publication), where sometimes over 88 methods are being outlined.
There is a wide variety between method collections in the mechanisms behind method selection and the ways methods are explained. Examples of selection mechanisms are on categories like project phase, alphabet and actions or on constraints such as budget, time, staffing and expertise. Examples of common explanations given by the various collections are a basic description, a how-to, considerations, (dis)advantages and references.
Although this shows that there is a lot of information available, one of my studies showed that that the uptake of method collections among industrial designers, interaction designers and usability specialists is very low. On average, 8% of the collections were known . And despite of being known by practitioners, known collections were used by no more than 10% of the questioned people .
All three points, number of collections, information in collections and uptake of collection, indicate that the need for information on UCD methods in my graduation project is more in quality of the information than on the offered quantity. Because it will take until the end of 2011 before the Design for Usability Method Selection Tool is available for use, I developed a set of cards about nine practical method collections and an additional card with several other useful sources for developing usable products. On each card, the quality and scope, categorization, selection, explanation detail and background information is shown together with an image of the website, poster, cardset or any other form the method collection is presented. You can use the collections in your own product development processes or professional education.
|Method collections in the cardset
(quality and scope, categorization, selection, explanation detail and background information is available on each card)
|Other useful resources for user centred design
(only name and link are provided on the card)
|Usability Body of Knowledge||Inclusive Design toolkit|
|UsabilityPlanner||Human Factors ROI Calculators|
|UsabilityNET||Ideo Human Centered design toolkit|
|Usability.gov||Human-Centered Design of Digital Interactions poster|
|Generic Work Process||Selecting a remote research method|
|The Methods Lab booklet||Global User Research book|
|UPA Designing the User Experience Poster||Recommendations for usability card set|
|Ideo method cards||Mental Notes card set|
|KAIST UCD methods||Design with Intent card set|
|Creative Whack Pack card set|
|Oblique Strategies card set|
|UX Trading Cards|
 The Ideo method cards were known best (75%), UsabilityNet, Usability.gov and the Ideo HCD book share a second place (known by 33%). The other eight collections were known by maximum 15% of the participants.
 Although the use of percentages seems that this was a large study, there were no more than 14 participants involved in a qualitative study with an additional questionnaire.
 This cardset was initially developed as a present for the participants of a study during my graduation project to increase awareness about the variety of method collections that they can use already. Also note that the cardset is a ‘snapshot’ and subject of developments in the field. Some cards state upcoming developments for the collections.
 Indeed, there is one cardset discussed in this cardset (Ideo method cards). Sounds weird? Not really, because this cardset is about current collections for UCD methods, so the shape in which it is delivered doesn’t really matter
Stanton, N. A., Salmon, P.m., Walker, G.H., Chris Baber, C., Jenkins D.P. (2005). Human Factors Methods: A Practical Guide for Engineering and Design. Burlington Ashgate Publishing Company.
Tidball, B., Stappers, P.J., Mulder, I. (awaiting publication). Models, Collections and Toolkits for Human Computer Interaction: What Can We Learn?