User Centered Design

user-centered design (UCD) is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants and limitations of the end user of an interface or document are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use an interface, but to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behaviour in real world tests with actual users. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of an interface to understand intuitively what a firsttime user of their design experiences, and what each user's learning curve may look like.The chief difference from

other interface design philosophies is that usercentered design tries to bend and structure the functioning of a user interface around how people can, want or need to work, rather than the opposite way around.

The basic function of the interfaces in computer-integrated

Design Principles

systems is to facilitate information transfer between the ‘integrating’ computers and the participating humans (the latter being normally simple information sources and sinks, and not being supervisors of the integrated system functions). Thus, quite evidently, human factors are in most cases almost out of consideration during the traditional design process of interfaces (and similarly, of the whole CIS). This is because, with the advent of computer integration of the complex system functions (first in sophisticated manufacturing and production systems), the belief in the overall ‘miracle’ stemming from introducing computer integration overshadowed the key role of the humans, and there was little care taken in human factors, apart from consideration of some comfort and ergonomic aspects. (Balint, 1995)

Design Principles
• Adopt the Users Perspective User centred interface design takes into account the needs, experience and capabilities of the system user. Potential users should be involved in the design process since it is impossible to judge user interfaces from an abstract description. Two ways could be used: prototyping and participatory design. The prototype of the interface should be made available to the users and the resulting feedback used to improve the user interface design.  It is necessary for designers to take into account the physical and mental limitations of the humans who use computer systems. Therefore there is a need to recognise the limitations on the size of short-term memory to avoid overloading the user with information.

Design Principles
People do many regular tasks without thinking about them thus user interface consistency reduces the probability of error in these tasks, (Somerville, 1996b) it has been noted that systems developers who apply human-factors principles and processes are producing exciting interactive systems. • Use Real World Metaphors. Our everyday language and understanding of the world is closely linked to a set of basic metaphors that derive from our bodily embedding in the physical world. Thus users should not be forced to adopt an interface just because it is convenient to implement. The designer should use terms familiar to the user and the objects manipulated by the system should have direct relationships to the user's environment. For example, if a system is designed for use by teachers

Design Principles
the objects manipulated should be books, diaries, letters, students and so on. Too often users must cope with frustration, fear and failure when they encounter excessive complexity, incomprehensible terminology or chaotic layouts. Give the user control A good system is one that should never surprise the user by its behaviour. It is irritating to the user when a system behaves in a way, which is unexpected. Commands must function as specified otherwise experience of misleading and unexpected results will undermine for along time a person's willingness to use a system.

Design Principles
Keep User-Interfaces Simple While systems with inadequate functionality frustrate the user and are often rejected or under-utilised, excessive functionality in a system is also a danger, (probably the more common mistakes of designers) because the clutter and complexity makes implementation, maintenance, learning and usage more difficult. Simplicity is the most important quality of a good user interfaces design. This is because much of the user interface development process involves simplifying and refining the interface in some way. Refinement when it comes to systems development is the process of obtaining simplicity which include eliminating unnecessary windows, dialog boxes or message boxes and simplifying how the users interacts with the program. A system designer and developer should also remember that no bad user interface has ever been made into a good interface by adding stuff

Design Principles
The User-Interface should be Consistent For an interface to be consistent it means that comparable operations should be activated in the same way. This may imply that the system commands and menus should have the same format, parameters should be passed to all commands in the same way not forgetting that command punctuation should also be similar. For example a windows layout should be consistent with itself, the program and windows standard. While an individual dialog box might look simple, it might get complicated if its style

Design Principles
is significantly different from other dialog boxes in the program. Therefore as a designer, when a number of dialog boxes share the same control, do try and give the controls/commands the same name, size, location and meaning. When you apply controls with different meanings try and make it clear so that they aren't easily confused. It could be dangerous for a system to have a command such as control 'D' meaning duplicate in one subsystem and delete in another one.

Recoverability and Reliability It is human to err but an interface design can minimize the rate of making mistakes, by containing facilities that allow users to recover from their mistake. The facilities are normally of two kinds: • 1.      Confirmation of destructive actions: this asks a user who specifies an action that is potentially destructive, to confirm that is really what is intended before the command is obeyed.

Design Principles
An undo facility: this is provided to restore the system to a state before the action occurred. Many levels of undo are useful as users don't always recognise immediately that a mistake has been made (Somerville, 1996c) this is because it is expensive to implement and therefore most systems only allow the last command to be undone The chief difference from other interface design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to bend and structure the functioning of a user interface around how people can, want or need to work, rather than the opposite way around.

other design philosophies
UCD approaches Cooperative design: involving designers and users on an equal footing. This is the Scandinavian tradition towards design of IT artefacts and it has been evolving since 1970. (reference: Greenbaum&Kyng (eds): Design At Work - Cooperative design of Computer Systems, Lawrence Erlbaum 1991) Participatory design (PD), North American term for about the same, inspired in Cooperative Design, focusing on the participation of the users. Since 1990, there is a Participatory Design Conference, bi-annually. (reference: Schuler&Namioka: Participatory Design, Lawrence Erlbaum 1993 and chapter 11 in Helander&al’s Handbook of HCI, Elsevier 1997)

UCD approaches
Contextual design, “customer centred design” in the actual context, some ideas from PD (reference: Beyer&Holzblatt, Contextual Design, Kaufmann 1998 Participatory design Participatory design is an approach to design that attempts to actively involve the end users in the design process to help ensure that the product designed meets their needs and is usable Rapid prototyping Rapid prototyping also describes a software engineering methodology. Rapid prototyping, also known as solid freeform fabrication, is the automatic construction of physical objects with 3D printers

Participatory Design
Introduction Participatory design and its related methodologies are best understood as a model for involving users, designers and the technology itself in a process of technological development. Definition of participatory design The involvement of end users is a critical requirement of the process of design and implementation of information systems in organisations, this is because as computer systems become more complex business emphasise more on quality productivity and the traditional water flow life cycle methodologies can no longer satisfy this trends.

Participatory Design
Joint application Development (JAD) and participatory Design (PD) are methods that were proposed in order to address the problem. While the traditional approach limits user participation to a consultative role where the bulk of the design decisions are made by the systems analysts and developers JAD and PD expand on the scope of user's participation to a representative role, where users collectively articulate, negotiate, and develop systems specifications. 'Through participation, users of an information system (IS) can interact with system designers in the stages of planning, analysis, design, testing, and implementation and hence, aid in many aspects of the system development process (Winston and Shao, 2000).   According (Reich et al, 1996) the terms 'design' and 'participation' are broadly interpreted as: Design as any purposeful activity aimed at creating a product or process that changes an environment or organization and participation as a prim facio right of all people potentially affected by a design.

A few tenets shared by most PD practitioners and advocates have been formulated. Respect for users of system, regardless of theirjob status, knowledge level, or access to their organisation's purse strings. There- fore everyparticipant in a PD project should be viewed as an expert in what they do and as stakeholders whose voice needs to be heard. 2.  Recognize workers as a prime source of innovation and design ideas.  The system should be viewed as more than a collection of software encased in hardware boxes but as networks of people, practices and technology embedded in particular organizational contexts.  It It is better to spend time with potential users in their workplaces rather than elsewhere. This enables the systems designer to understand the organization and the relevant work on its own terms, in its own settings

• Participatory Design practitioners should address problems that exist and arise in the workplace, artiallated by or in collaboration with the affected parties, rather than attributed from the outside. • Concrete ways to improve working lives of coparticipants should be established. This could be by reducing the tedium associated with work tasks; codesigning new opportunities for exercising creativity; increasing worker control over work content; measurement and reporting; and lastly helping workers communicate and organise across hierarchical lines within the organisation and with peers elsewhere. • Be a reflective practitioner.

Principles of Participatory Design
System design should be done with users and not for users nor by them. Both parties should learn from each other. Users should be allowed to articulate their demands and wishes in a concrete way by actually doing simulated system design and development. Techniques used must be designed with the end user in mind; they should attempt to involve or consult with the employees who will be using them. 2. Based on the above, Participatory design embodies two principles (Miller, 1993) 3. Workers and customers are intelligent, creative, and productive contributors to organisations if they are empowered to express their insights, apply their expertise, exercise their decision making capabilities, and given responsibility for the impact of their actions.

• Participatory design holds that good ideas are likely to come from the bottom up as from the top down. • There are mainly five types of user participation: • Users in project group: users are normally members of the project group. Grouping depends on the size and type of the project but usually representatives of the users are included. • Seminars/meetings: This refers to information meetings where systems developers meet all or some of the intended users. Seminars are designed to function as information channels where a forum for developers and users can be created. • Reference group: it involves forming a group of user representatives, who can deal with suggestions and contribute important viewpoints concerning the system that is to be developed. The organisation of the group depends on the kind of project at hand.

• User testing:This is an invaluable source of information about the needs and wishes of users. It may vary in techniques, which range from judging screen images on paper to testing advanced prototypes of the system. Current technology makes it easy for a system developer to create screen images without having to complete the underlying software (prototyping). Testing can also be conducted by questionnaires, interviews or by observing users working with the system. The project type determines the kind of user testing chosen. Question box:This is done on paper or via electronic mail. It provides the user with an opportunity to forward questions to those responsible for the system development. It is easy to conduct and provides an easily accessible source of information concerning the users' viewpoints.

Techniques Used in Participatory Design
Participatory design is a complex process involving technology and multiple levels of organisation. According to (Carmel, Whitaker, and George, 1993) there are three techniques used in participatory design which include: • Visualising the current workplace: immersion of designers and facilitators in the target workplace (hands-on apprenticeships), games (structured activities and interactions). Visualising the possible workplace: future workshops metaphor based design on site visits, storyboard, video productions, brainstorming, improvisational theatre and role playing, and various types of graphic illustration. Prototyping: presentation and evaluation of

Concrete options: co-operative prototyping, props and mock-ups of available materials (cardboard). The users actually work with a prototype and experience it.

MERITS OF PARTCIPATORY DESIGN • User participation enhances system quality through a more accurate and complete identification of user information requirements knowledge and expertise about the organisation.   User participation is also believed to increase user acceptance of the system and decreases user resistance to possible changes caused by the system. Any uncertainty or fear they have about the system is alleviated through participative design. Designers should bear in mind that people don't resist change they resist having change imposed upon them.

• User participation also makes the users have more realistic expectation about the system capabilities, which also gives an opportunity for users and designers to resolve conflicts about the design issues. • Users who are actively involved in the system development process establish a positive feeling about the system as they become acquainted with the new system. Support for this argument can be drawn from relevant research in other disciplines, which have observed that persons who are highly involved with an issue have been found to possess more favorable attitudes about the issue eg. In marketing those customers who are

involved in the production of a product generally develop a more favorable attitude toward it while organizational behavior research show that employees who are highly involved in their jobs are found to really appreciate their jobs. DEMERITS OF PARTICIPAROTY DESIGN • In participatory design it is assumed that people at the bottom have a lot to say about work processes and have good ideas that can be used to improve the systems being developed unfortunately, this is not always the case as users may hold out information as they believe any work improvements may rid them of their own jobs, or tasks becoming monotonous after a change has taken place or even the job becoming too complicated after computerization or about not getting as much time at a

• terminal as they need to complete their work. Research shows that the willingness of the users to participate actively in system development is influenced by their attitudes towards existing information system and to some extent, by their attitude towards the computer experts of the company (Lamoako - Gyampan,1997)

• Working with users is also time consuming. This is brought about by differences in user perceptions and expectations that often promote conflict and politics during the design process. "Potential for conflict is high in information systems that cut across departmental boundaries, especially when there exist tensions across departments in the form of relatively incompatible goals and differing criteria for success"

• (Purvis and Sambamurthy, 1997) to add to this users and designers often work together on projects that are under resource pressure and time constraints. This leads to conflicts over priorities about the systems specifications and deliverables. If these conflicts are ignored in the rush toward an immediately workable solution, the system may be dramatically less useful and lead to additional problems, including user rejection, or attempts at subversion (Festinger, 1957) • Sometimes it is also difficult to contact the users who are sometimes to busy to be found or are not committed to the project.  • Lack of appreciation by end users for their own knowledge of what they do. (Clement & Van den Beese Kiar, 1993) comment that.

It is widespread opinion among workers that they themselves know nothing about technology, and that the necessary information must be obtained from management. This paralyses the workers as far as actions are concerned. • Technical experts are also reluctant to give project control to end users as this they feel threatens their technical authority. In fact end users involved in participatory design complain that the experts do not listen to them and only do what they think is right for them (end users) and the project. • As there is no agreement as to the best forms of user participation in system development, a problem that

• arises is that people chosen to represent the users have neither the same job description nor the same work tasks as the staff they are to represent. • Where many end user are involved, it is difficult to give a voice to every single concerned user especially those who are not actively engaged in the system development process. They may feel that their views are neglected and this leads to less user participation and acceptance of the new system. Participatory Design Advice • Since its main aim is to attract the interest of users, it is important that the focus be on addressing their immediate needs.

• Arrange for workers to be away from daily duties since the project group is likely to function better in an environment away from everyday pressures, so the participants will have more time to learn from each other, practice skills acquired and develop the system. • Have the management support. • Give employees time off to work on the project. This can be done by specifying in a contract how much time the users can/shall spend on the project. The participants should have a steering group in which conflicts can be discussed.

• The required equipment (hardware, software, etc.) should be made available for system experts and users. • Listen to the users view, but do not do all they propose. Inform them of the systems progress and negotiate with them, especially when they feel they do not want something, which you as a systems expert think it, is. This is because users are not always aware of the consequences of their proposals or at times become conservative in that they do not utilize the possibilities given by computer technologies

Rapid Prototyping
3D printers, stereolithography machines or selective laser sintering systems. Rapid prototyping is a type of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and is one of the components of rapid manufacturing. The first techniques for rapid prototyping became available in the 1980s; traditionally they have been to produce models (prototypes). Nowadays, they are increasingly employed to produce tools or even to manufacture production quality parts in small numbers. There are two main methods of rapid prototyping, which are derived from similar approaches in sculpture.

Rapid Prototyping
In additive prototyping, the machine reads in data from a CAD drawing, and lays down successive millimeterthick layers of liquid plastic, powdered plastic or some other engineering material, and in this way builds up the model from a long series of cross sections. These layers are glued together or fused (often using a laser ) to create the cross section described in the CAD drawing. The subtractive method is earlier and less efficient. In this technique the machine starts out with a block of plastic and uses a delicate cutting tool to carve away material, layer by

layer to match the digital object. This is similar to a computer controlled lathe or mill and is not usually considered a rapid prototyping machine any more. The standard interface between CAD software and rapid prototyping machines is the STL format. The word "rapid" is relative: construction of a model with contemporary machines typically takes 3-72 hours, depending on machine type and model size. Advances in technology allow the machine to use multiple materials in the construction of objects. This is important because it can use one material with a high melting point for the finished product, and another material with a low melting point as filler, to separate individual moving parts within the model. After the model is completed, it is heated to the point where the undesired material melts away, and what is left is a

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping
functional plastic machine. Although traditional injection molding

is still cheaper for manufacturing plastic products, soon rapid prototyping may be used to produce finished goods in a single step. Lab tests have shown that prototyping machines can also use conductive metals as a building material, and conceivably in the future could assemble small electronics like mobile phones in a single process.

Due to the high degree of flexibility and adaptability required by many rapid prototyping techniques, these applications typically require the use of robots or similar mechanisms. As of 2005, the cheapest rapid prototyping machines cost about US$ 25 000 and are therefore still beyond the reach of most consumers.

Rapid Prototyping
However, there are currently several schemes to improve rapid prototyper technology to the stage where a prototyper can manufacture its own component parts (see RepRap). The idea behind this is that a new machine could be assembled relatively cheaply from raw materials by the owner of an existing one. Such crude 'self-replication' techniques could considerably reduce the cost of prototyping machines in the future, and hence any objects they are capable of manufacturing.

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