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Human Factors International

Trends in User-Centered Design
What you need to know in 2007 that can help your business

White paper

Susan Weinschenk, PhD, CUA Chief of Technical Staff Human Factors International, Inc. March 8, 2007

Human Factors International 410 West Lowe PO Box 2020 Fairfield, IA 52556 800–242–4480 hfi@humanfactors.com www.humanfactors.com
©2007 Human Factors International, Inc.

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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Table of Contents

About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Web 2.0 & User Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 User Interface (UI) Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Usability Scorecards and Metrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 PETscan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Contextual Innovation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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Susan Weinschenk, PhD, CUA Chief of Technical Staff Human Factors International About the Author Susan Weinschenk is Chief of Technical Staff at Human Factors International (HFI). Prior to working with HFI, Susan was the owner and principal consultant with Weinschenk Consulting Group. For 25 years she has used her expertise in psychology to design technology products, including Web sites and applications, for Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Weinschenk’s work spans legacy systems, graphical user interfaces, Internets, intranets, and Web applications. She has developed dozens of leading-edge seminars, and is a highly rated speaker at national conferences. Her consulting expertise includes work on speech applications, integrating software methodologies with user-centered design methodologies, and the design of interfaces for complicated Web applications. One of her specialties is mentoring executives and practitioners in the user-centered design process and helping organizations make the transition to a “user-centered” culture. Susan has three books published by John Wiley and Sons and was chosen one of the “Top 100 Women in Computing” by Open Computing magazine. She has a doctorate in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the following people from HFI for their contributions in developing this material: • Jerome Nadel and Jeff Horvath: Web 2.0 • Phil Goddard: Metrics and scorecards • Mona Patel: PETscan • Apala Lahiri Chavan: Contextual Innovation • Jay More for his business insights I also want to recognize Jesse Berkowitz for his extensive writing support in the creation of this paper.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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Introduction

Nearly every year we hear about a new “breakthrough” technology on the horizon. Pundits proclaim the dramatic impact it will have, and early adopters rush to be first in line. Yet despite the hype that often accompanies a new technology, the key to success remains simple: can people actually use the product or service to fulfill a need? In other words, is it usable and useful? With this in mind, we’ve outlined the top 5 trends for user experience design that will impact your business in 2007. These topics will also be addressed in greater detail on upcoming HFI webcasts throughout the year. 1) Web 2.0 – What it means for user experience, both on the Web and within companies’ enterprise portals and intranets. 2) User Interface Patterns – Can you realize savings by using user interface patterns? Why are they important, and what will they do for you? 3) Usability Scorecards and Metrics – How do you make sense of all the data available to analyze and improve your Web site’s usability? 4) PETscan – How to increase conversion by measuring and designing for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust. 5) Contextual Innovation – A new methodology to guide product or service development for new markets.

Web 2.0 & User Experience

What is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services on the Web that let people collaborate to create and share information. In contrast to the first generation of sites, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications, as opposed to traditional static Web pages. Some key components of Web 2.0 include: • Blogs, vlogs (video blogs), moblogs (mobile phone blogs), etc. • RSS feeds • Podcasts • Social networks • Wikis (users add/edit content collectively) • Mashups (a site/application combining content from multiple sources into an integrated experience) • Tag clouds (occurs when many people describe a blog, photo, or other online content with the same tags) • Application-like technologies (e.g., Flash, Ajax)

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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Web 2.0 examples YouTube Blogger.com

My Yahoo

Wikipedia

Web 2.0 Industry Trends • Ad spending on blogs, podcasts and RSS reached $49.8 million USD in 2006, nearly 150% higher than ad spending on these user-generated online media in 2005. (Source: PQ Media) • Over one million podcasts subscriptions occurred within the first two days they became available on iTunes. (Apple) • 6 million Americans already use RSS aggregators for online news. (Pew Internet & American Life Project) • The ‘blogosphere’ (number of blogs) doubles in size approximately every 6 months. (Technorati) See graph on next page.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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Web 2.0 & User Interface Design Several major aspects of user interface design are impacted by Web 2.0. This chart shows the resulting changes in best practices. Current Best Practice Navigation Organize large sets of information based on an information hierarchy that makes sense to users. Web 2.0 Users “navigate” through content based on other users’ recommendations and usage behavior.

Content

Content should be provided Users supply content by Web site “owner” and within the framework kept fresh and relevant provided by the business or site owner. The visual hierarchy of a page should matches users’ cognitive hierarchy (i.e. their mental model of how the information relates). Search is accomplished via complex technical algorithms. The Web is a separate channel with its own branding and communication strategy. Each content element may be viewed in isolation and must be able to stand on its own. Search is performed through social networks and shared interests. The Web is intimately integrated with offline channels (e.g., mobile/ handheld devices).

Page Design

Search

Brand Experience

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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What is Enterprise 2.0? Enterprise 2.0 is the use of Web 2.0 tools and social collaboration software within corporations. This allows for: • Rich, dynamic user interfaces powered by Flash and AJAX • Personalized RSS feeds delivered to desktops • User tagging of content • Blogging • Tools that allow employees to participate in content creation and distribution To appreciate the potential of an Enterprise 2.0 framework, let’s contrast it with the classic intranet structure/taxonomy found inside most organizations. Classic Intranet Taxonomy The diagram below illustrates a traditional, rigid site structure as provided by the site owner (typically HR, IT, internal communications, or knowledge-management). The structure and classification scheme is essentially fixed until an authorized person or group updates it. New categories are not easily accommodated. Thus, the major drawback is a lack of adaptability. Yet as we shall see, too much flexibility wouldn’t be a good thing either.

Web 2.0 ‘Folksonomy’ In stark contrast to the classic intranet taxonomy is the organic unfoldment found on sites such as digg.com, reddit.com, and del.icio.us. Here, users themselves dictate the connections between information, known as a Folksonomy.

However, this freeform classification system has major drawbacks in a business setting: • No incubation period: A Folksonomy would not have the time it needs to ‘evolve’ to the point of being useful

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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• Ambiguity: Folksonomies do not explicitly address the challenge of words which have ambiguous or have multiple meanings. • Lack of hierarchical information: Folksonomies do not address relationships between categories of data, like subsets. So how can businesses reconcile these two disparate frameworks—classic intranet taxonomy and Web 2.0 Folksonomy—to harness the benefits of “social computing”? Taxonomy + Folksonomy = Hybrid: Structured Social Classification The answer: blend the best of both structures! An effective Enterprise 2.0 deployment is simply a hybrid, which we call a structured social classification framework. It offers employees greater context, relevance, and efficiency for their work-related tasks. Think of it like a series of footpaths in the forest that develop spontaneously through people’s usage. A park ranger observes this behavior and either: (a) turns these paths into marked and maintained trails, or (b) closes them from further use. In the same way, an Enterprise 2.0 framework establishes natural patterns of use, yet is overseen by designated site owners to validate the continuously evolving structure. HFI finds that employees don’t normally want unlimited flexibility for personalization or customization (and often won’t make use of such features even if they exist). Rather, they prefer freedom within a structure—in other words, a well-regulated folksonomy.

This hybrid offers several advantages to an organization: • Broader information sources – Content is still accessed via search and browse mechanisms, but now also through content syndication tools and utilities such as internal RSS feeds. • Better communication – In a traditional intranet structure, communication tools are not tightly integrated alongside content. A hybrid structure facilitates communication via platforms such as blogs and discussion forums, right at the place in a site where people need them.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

9

• Content creation – Content creation was formerly restricted to a narrow set of users or publishers. Enterprise 2.0 allows all users to add and edit content collectively via collaboration platforms such as wikis. • Distribution – Social bookmarking allows all users to tag online resources, which leads to a dynamic, flexible, and automatically generated taxonomy. This shift is enabled by Enterprise 2.0 technology, yet can only be manifested through intelligent, user-centered interface design.

User Interface (UI) Patterns

What are patterns? User interface patterns are reusable templates that address visual design, information architecture, and/or interaction design. They are the foundation of a user interface design standard. Example: Amazon.com Patterns

Amazon.com Product Home Page

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

10

Why are patterns important? Patterns address a greater level of detail than style guides. This has many advantages: • Capture best practices – Patterns are analogous to jazz standards, which provide musicians with a melody and chords as a basis for improvisation. While the core structure is set, it takes an artist to bring it to life. Similarly, reusable patterns give interface designers a foundation from which to create usable designs—based on proven principles and research. • Solve routine design problems – Too often, design teams get bogged down solving the same challenges over and over again. How do we design a good wizard? What elements are critical for our search pages? What do we call this button? Patterns document these detailed design issues and free up your time for more creative, higher-value work efforts. • Encourage rapid design exploration and prototyping – Don’t wait until you’ve invested in building an interactive prototype or even a fully coded system to find out that users don’t understand it. With reusable patterns you can quickly mock-up page designs and conduct early rounds of “paper prototype” usability testing. This reveals whether your navigation and categorization schemes are intuitive and self-evident, before it’s too late or expensive to change them. • Retain a valuable knowledge base – Your pattern library will undoubtedly evolve over time to reflect changes in your business environment, different target audiences, and new conventions on the Web. Good patterns encapsulate the collective design wisdom of your organization and domain—even idiosyncrasies of your development environment. User Interface Pattern Library A mature pattern library includes: • Formalized pattern language • A comprehensive set of reusable patterns, sub-page patterns, and widgets • Descriptions of each pattern, including high- and low-level design elements • Design templates for each pattern (in Visio, PowerPoint, HTML, etc.) • Rules and guidelines for application of UI patterns

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

11

Pattern repository example

Usability Scorecards and Metrics

What are Usability Metrics? Usability metrics provide a framework to conduct ongoing design reviews and benchmark over time. These are metrics focused specifically on the usability of a site, application, or product—as opposed to the ROI that results from usability improvements. We recommend creating or customizing a usability “scorecard” to fit your specific business environment and having 2-3 usability experts rate your site or product. Ideally, incorporate the results into a broader expert review and/or validate the findings through usability testing. Metric-based scorecards offer a quantitative approach to evaluate usability at several different levels of design: Individual page level – Define a set of measurable criteria to rate the usability of a single page, based on the user’s task (e.g., browse/research/compare, search, buy/transact, get support, etc.).

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

12

Across a sequence of pages – Extra metrics may be used to evaluate the usability of tasks that span multiple pages. These page sequences are first identified and then given “sequence scores.” Sequence scores incorporate page level scores but offer additional insight into task flow issues. For example, what is the usability impact of adding a page or having too many overall steps to a task?

Site-wide – Site-wide metrics can be used to measure usability as an aggregate of pages and sequences. They should address:navigation, content, presentation, and interaction.

PETscan

What is a PETscan? P.E.T. stands for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust. The PETscan is a method for evaluating a site or product based on persuasion, emotion and trust. It provides a deep understanding of user needs and motivations, helping you: • improve customer experience • increase conversion • Boost bottom-line revenue

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

13

Why focus on P.E.T.? Advances in neuroscience show that emotion plays a critical role in decision-making and customer experience: “People opt for products that ‘work for me.’ As a result, words like ‘emotion’ and ‘personal meaning’ are finding their way into corporate strategic briefs, in places where words like gigabytes and baud rate used to reside.” —Business Week In the case of Web sites, there are many different types of conversion goals: complete a transaction, encourage people to read content, or inspire someone to make a donation. Yet nearly all conversion goals have more to do with people than with the product or technology. Human behavior is largely predictable: people are motivated to satisfy needs (survival, independence and autonomy, social acceptance, etc.) The intent of PETscan is to understand the dominant motivations of decision-making to help people make choices (for themselves, without deceit) that are in their best interest. With this knowledge, we can better design to capitalize on probable behavior. Elements of a PETscan analysis The main elements of a PETscan analysis include: Persuasion flow diagram – How well does a series of pages/screens persuade the user to take a specific action?

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

14

Eye tracking ‘heat maps’ and scan paths – Aggregate data shows where users looked most often and their common paths of navigating the site. Get hard data about exactly which areas of the screen attracted users’ attention, without having to rely on what people said they looked at.

Facial expression emotion map – During interviews, users are asked to circle icons of faces that correspond to how they feel. Then compile the findings and present the aggregate data to illustrate the “pervasive emotion” on each page.

Contextual Innovation

What is Contextual Innovation? New markets are not homogeneous, and designs of existing products/services cannot be force-fit to a new environment. Contextual Innovation is a systematic process of inquiry to gain practical knowledge about your target markets. This provides a structured framework for brainstorming sessions in order to develop novel, useful, and effective products and services. This new methodology positions all aspects of design—including R&D—within the social and cultural context of a product’s target consumers. Bringing together ethnographic, business, design and technical elements, it is truly a multidisciplinary process.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

15

Contextual Innovation is based on a simple premise: customers are often the best source of new ideas. However, traditional market research typically employs staged focus groups and superficial questionnaires as the main data gathering tools. By contrast, Contextual Innovation elicits “deep” responses by studying potential users’ behaviors, goals, intentions and thoughts in their everyday settings. It helps you gain a deep understanding of user needs and cultural context to drive design ideas, business models, and technological investigations. Contextual Innovation Methodology The Contextual Innovation method includes 4 main steps: 1) Research 2) Analysis 3) Synthesis 4) Implementation Together, these four steps allow you to: • Select domains that are the most culturally appropriate for your core competencies • Select and detail profiles of the selected user segments • Conduct ethnographic studies, given usual time and budget constraints • Quickly transform huge amounts of data into significant insights and and organize your observations into practical concepts • Generate several innovative concept ideas and then select the best Contextual Innovation case study To understand how Contextual Innovation is practically applied, let's look at a recent project. Focused on the Education segment in India, the goal was to assess the needs and opportunities for the creation of a new technology device for young students. This project included the following activities: • User research to understand the needs and attitudes of students, parents, and teachers • Exploration of opportunities within the area of Education • Concept development for a “New Category of Device” within the price range of $100 USD • Price elasticity and volume study for the new device

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

16

Research The initial research phase including data gathering "on location" with students, parents, and teachers.

Analysis Each insight from the research phase was written on a colorcoded “Post It” note.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

17

The situation being studied was then represented visually as an “ecosystem” diagram to connect the concepts. These charts give a snapshot of a system without having to sift through tons of ethnographic data. A diagram was created for each key user group (students, parents, teachers) to show the relationships and dependencies from each of their points of view. These ecosystems provide a framework for brainstorming sessions to identify opportunity spaces. For example, the student ecosystem illustrated that children have: • Tremendous pressure to perform • A day packed with study and little control over their own time • Low empowerment • Heavy school bags to carry

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

18

Synthesis and Innovation Based on the data gathered, HFI collaborated on the design of a brand new product idea, which evolved into a breakthrough new educational device. This low-cost tool was specifically designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for teachers and young students. It was positioned as the result of extensive ethnographic research in developing countries.

Conclusion

There you have it—5 usability trends that can impact your business in 2007...and beyond. To learn more about these exciting new developments, stay tuned for upcoming HFI webcasts that will explore these topics in greater depth. • Web 2.0’s impact on user experience design • User interface patterns (the theme of the 2007 Usability Professionals Association annual conference) • Usability scorecards and metrics • Designing for persuasion, emotion, and trust to maximize conversion through the PETscan approach • How to create breakthrough products and services for new markets through Contextual Innovation These webcasts will include case studies, examples, and practical takeaways that you can apply in your own work.

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

Trends in User-Centered Design 2007

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References

PQ Media Report, Alternative Media Research Series I: Blog, Podcast and RSS Advertising Outlook, April 2006. Lee Rainie, The state of blogging, The Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 2005. David Sifry, State of the Blogosphere, Sifry’s Alerts, August 2006. www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000436.html iTunes Podcast Subscriptions Top One Million in First Two Days, Apple Press Release, June, 2005. www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/30podcast.html Daniel Formosa, Mapping Emotions, Business Week, July 2005. www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jul2005/di20050727_882437. htm

Human Factors International

1–800–242–4480 US/Canada

1–641–472–4480

hfi@humanfactors.com

www.humanfactors.com

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