You are previewing User-Centered Design.

User-Centered Design

Cover of User-Centered Design by Travis Lowdermilk Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Dedication
  2. Special Upgrade Offer
  3. Preface
    1. Is This Book Right for Me?
    2. Conventions Used in This Book
    3. Using Code Examples
    4. Safari® Books Online
    5. How to Contact Us
    6. Acknowledgments
      1. People Who Helped Me Write This Book
      2. People Who Helped Me with Life
  4. 1. Our World Has Changed
  5. 2. What Is User-Centered Design?
    1. UCD Is Not Usability
    2. UCD Is Not Subjective
    3. UCD Is Not Just Design
    4. UCD Is Not a Waste of Time or Money
    5. UCD Is Not a Bug Report
    6. UCD Is Not a Distraction
  6. 3. Working with Users
    1. What If I Don’t Have Access to Users?
      1. Knowing When to Listen to Users and When to Not
    2. Dealing with Different Types of Users
      1. The Information Overloader
      2. The Control Freak
      3. The Devil’s Advocate
    3. Dealing with Negativity
  7. 4. Having a Plan
    1. How Do I Know Which Plan Is Right for Me?
    2. Creating a Team Mission Statement
    3. Defining Your Project
    4. Collecting User Requirements
    5. Creating Functional Requirements
    6. Documenting Data and Workflow Models
    7. Documenting Prototypes
    8. Reviewing Your Documentation
  8. 5. Creating a Personal Manifesto
    1. Exercising Restraint
    2. Building a Narrative
    3. Creating Personas
    4. Creating Scenarios
  9. 6. Creativity and User Experience
    1. Having User-Experience Goals
    2. Creativity Requires Courage and Hard Work
      1. Pick Up a Pencil
      2. Creative Freedom
      3. Understanding Your Goal
      4. Steal (I Mean Borrow) from Others
    3. Creativity Requires Questioning
  10. 7. Design Principles
    1. Principle of Proximity (Gestalt Principle)
    2. Visibility, Visual Feedback, and Visual Prominence
    3. Hierarchy
    4. Mental Models and Metaphors
      1. Progressive Disclosure
      2. Consistency
      3. Affordance and Constraints
      4. Confirmation
      5. Hick’s Law
      6. Fitt’s Law
  11. 8. Gathering Feedback
    1. How Many Users Will I Need?
    2. Surveys
    3. Conducting Interviews
    4. Task Analysis
    5. Heuristic Evaluation
    6. Storyboarding
    7. Using Prototypes
    8. A/B Testing
  12. 9. Usability Studies
    1. What Are Usability Studies?
    2. Creating a Testing Plan
      1. Introduction
      2. Reassurance
      3. Testing Guidelines
      4. Tasks
      5. Conclusion
      6. Thanks
    3. What You’ll Need
      1. Stopwatch
      2. Notepad
      3. Environment
      4. Spreadsheet or Database
      5. Cameras or Audio Recording
    4. Conducting the Study
    5. Don’t Hesitate to Practice
    6. Compiling Your Findings
  13. 10. You’re Never Finished
    1. It’s Impossible to Get It Right the First Time
    2. Be Prepared to Reboot
    3. Final Thoughts
  14. 11. Other Resources
    1. Twitter
    2. Tools for Prototyping
    3. Websites
  15. A. Sample Project Template
    1. Template
    2. Project Title
      1. Software Development Life Cycle Project Template
      2. Software Development Life Cycle Summary
      3. Project Details
      4. User Requirements
      5. Specifications Sheet (Functional Requirements)
      6. Data and Workflow Models
      7. Data Processes
      8. Prototypes
      9. Maintenance Notes
    3. Example Persona
      1. Dan Welks
    4. Sample Script for a Usability Study
      1. Introduction to Study
  16. B. References
  17. Index
  18. About the Author
  19. Colophon
  20. Special Upgrade Offer
  21. Copyright

Chapter 2. What Is User-Centered Design?

“Ease of use may be invisible, but its absence sure isn’t.”


The most common and misguided presumption I find, especially within the developer community, is that the practice of usability is just subjective. These developers believe that usability decisions are arbitrary and can be decided by simply applying their own personal preference. Additionally, many of these decisions are made for reasons that have nothing to do with users. You better believe the CEO’s current missive lands on the home page of the company portal. Who cares if it was written in lime green and has a dancing chili pepper on top? Therefore, if you’re developing an application with a team or within an enterprise environment, you might be challenged when trying to implement user-centered design.

Perhaps you feel like you’re the only member of your team who cares about the user’s experience. Your colleagues or peers might roll their eyes when you talk about the importance of good layout and design. I realize this can be a long and lonesome journey, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to spread sound, user-centered knowledge to disarm even your most vocal critics. One way to do this is by educating your team or organization about the value of user-centered design. To do that, we need to understand what user-centered design is; and most importantly, what it is not.

UCD Is Not Usability

I realize that my interchangeable use of user-centered design and usability might create ...

The best content for your career. Discover unlimited learning on demand for around $1/day.