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 3. Working with Users

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

I realize that involving users can be a scary thing. Let’s face it: users have a tendency to muddy up our development processes; they don’t understand what’s required to build an application; and most of the time they have no idea what they’re asking for. Sometimes, their requests are unrealistic and unhelpful. How could they possibly lead us to any sort of meaningful breakthrough on a software project?

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the job of a developer exceeds the realm of writing code. We have to be more attuned to our users’ needs, and the only way to do that is to spend time with them. We have to constructively guide our users so they provide us with (whether they realize it or not) the information we need to make a successful application.

This requires us to do more listening by remaining observant and inquisitive.

What If I Don’t Have Access to Users?

Many of you could be reading this and thinking to yourself, “I don’t have a group of users that I’m directly working with.” Maybe you’re building something for the mass market, like a smartphone application or website. If that’s the case, you may be confused when I start talking about engaging users and actively working with them.

Here’s my advice: if you’re not building an application for a specific client or group of users, then I’d encourage you to find some. Perhaps this seems obvious, ...

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