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Re: UCD Description for SWUIWiki "How To" section

From: Hyowon Lee <hlee@computing.dcu.ie>
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 16:06:56 +0100
Message-ID: <03d801c7a527$ac925fd0$c6fdce88@Hyowonlaptop>
To: <public-semweb-ui@w3.org>, "Eric Miller" <eric@squishymedia.com>

Hi all,

I'm a UI researcher for newly-emerging multimedia techniques... this makes my job a little different from conventional HCI approach that emphasises UCD.  

For example, I start with plenty of brainstorming and focused (but un-precedented) interface sketches, mostly only with the promises of the technologies that my group offers me.

I try to involve users, but mostly ONLY after the initial prototype is done and working - so that I can bring in people and get them use the system, collect opinions, etc.

Eric mentioned examples of Apple's successful designs, where it's not the result of UCD but the creative or novel thinking of the designer or visionary.  I guess for a completely new technology where there is no conventional practice or user base, it works fine when somebody (who knows technology) can come up with some new design and then follows that up with exposing it to people in near-by domain or approximate discipline, in order to get their feedback and refine afterwards - combine Eric's 'X factor' with UCD follow-up.

I guess now that Apple's new products are used by large number of people, Apple can get user feedback and survey etc. to refine it to make it better.  I'm sure there were many small and large elements that the initial design didn't get right, even if the overall UI was a great invention.

Anyway on the outset, I agree with the importance of designer's novel and creative approach (especially at the initial stage of development).  Let me think about how I can relate this to SWUI.


Dr Hyowon Lee
Post-doctoral researcher
Centre for Digital Video Processing
Dublin City University
Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland
Tel: +353 -1 -7005829
Email: hlee@computing.dcu.ie

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eric Miller" <eric@squishymedia.com>
To: "Roberto Garc í a" <rogargon@gmail.com>; <public-semweb-ui@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:54 PM
Subject: Re: UCD Description for SWUIWiki "How To" section

> Hi all,
> Just a quick observation here.  I'm a practitioner, not a researcher, so I
> can't really speak to the lit, but I use UCD on a daily basis.  And speaking
> as a designer I've found that user involvement provides an invaluable
> starting point for the design process but shouldn't solely govern evaluation
> processes.  Users can be good at articulating their needs, but aren't as
> good at articulating specific solutions to their needs; often because their
> viewpoint is reflexively restricted to their personal contexts and past
> experiences.  Their involvement isn't as useful to the practicing designer
> when the users don't have experience with that specific class of application
> or task.  Like, say, the Semantic Web.
> I saw that this issue was noted under "Methodology Issues" on the SWUIWiki,
> incidentally.  And the "Pathetic Fallacy of RDF" piece touches on this too.
> So I'd suggest that processes like UCD (as formally articulated and
> implemented, and driven by actual people and/or personas) are well-suited
> for evolutionary refinement of existing classes of applications with a
> pre-existing critical mass of user awareness and understanding.  But to
> create effective user interfaces for new classes might require a less
> structured and more creative approach.  (My example here would be Apple's
> successful new product design process that is decidedly not UCD-driven in
> the traditional end-user sense; it's driven by Steve Jobs' benevolent
> dictatorship of design.)  Another interesting thread along these lines would
> be the "genius design" v. UCD discussion a few months back on IxDA.
> Additionally, there might be a case made for adapting SW technologies to fit
> a more coherent interaction metaphor, rather than struggling to bolt a UI
> onto a fully-baked technical implementation.
> Again, this audience would certainly know more about the HCI lit than I
> would, but I'd simply offer this thought.  To paraphrase a great one-liner,
> "Writing about design is like dancing about architecture."  There's a
> subjective X factor in design that defies quantitative processes and
> analysis.  And I'm willing to speculate that breakthroughs in SWUI design
> would be most likely to spring from creative processes unencumbered by
> constraining mechanisms such as formal UCD processes and methodologies.
> There will be more failures; but there's the chance for something truly
> innovative and successful to emerge.
> Eric
> On 5/31/07 1:26 PM, "Roberto García" <rogargon@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear all,
> Before adding the following text to the "How To" section of
>> the
> SWUIWiki, I would appreciate your comments about the following
> description
>> of User Centred Design (UCD). Do you think it
>> is
> appropriate?
> --
>>  User-Centred Design
> The methodology for developing
>> usable and accessible applications is
> called User-Centred Design (UCD). It is
>> based on an iterative
> development process based on a detailed study of the
>> users' needs, the
> tasks they carry on in order to meet them and the context in
>> which
> they are performed (Norman 1986). There are many UCD
>> development
> processes proposals, but all of them provide a mix of
>> software
> engineering plus usability and accessibility engineering tasks.
>> One
> particular proposal, which combines both disciplines in a neat way
> thus
>> facilitating its adoption, is the usability and accessibility
Received on Saturday, 2 June 2007 15:04:31 UTC

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