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Design & Development - Task & User Analysis: articles about the processes for analyzing tasks and documenting system requirements.

Simple question, simple answer?

According to this NUA Knowledge News editorial by Catherine McDonnell "Much frustrated head-banging on the part of the Internet user could be avoided if more websites knew just what it is their customers want. All the online company has to do is take the trouble to find out which problems their customers are trying to solve and what information is needed, simply by listening and observing rather than flashing and whining." (2000-08-13)

Conceptual Design: Cornerstone of Usability

This pdf file is an article by Jeff Rubin that appeared in, Technical Communication, 2Q1996, Volume 43, Number 2. " This article suggests why conceptual design is so often neglected by development teams and presents a five-step process for developing a sound conceptual model for a software application. The crux of the process is the development of multiple models and low-fidelity prototyping. (2000-08-06)

Narrative Scenarios as a Design Tool

According to this article by David Bliss "Scenarios are stories in which the product being designed is placed within the lives of its intended users. People, software, hardware and the interaction that binds them together constitute the typical cast of characters for scenarios." (2000-08-06)

13 common objections against user requirements analysis

In this InternetArchitect.com article, Simon D'Hertefelt recommends that  "...before designing an interactive solution, you have to understand the problem: who are the future users, what are their current practices and what are their needs? This article lists 13 common objections against user requirements analysis and why you should not believe them." (2000-07-30)

User-Centred Requirements Handbook

This handbook emphasises the importance of obtaining a complete understanding of user needs, and validating the emerging requirements against potential real world scenarios of usage. (2000-07-23)

Building Better Business Systems with Scenarios

According to this Software Development article by Dr. Carlos Jerome "If you eschew use cases because they are too onerous or boring to prepare, there is another way to probe problems and stress limits. Scenarios can simultaneously illustrate business rules and invigorate your team." (2000-07-09)

Why user experience disasters happen at the start of web projects

According to this InformationArchitect.com article by Sim D'Hertefelt, "Usability IS about choosing useful functionalities. If a website is not useful, making it easy to use or attractive is not going to make it more usable. Usable means useful AND easy to use AND appreciated by users." (2000-06-11)

13 common objections against user requirements analysis

In this related InformationArchitect.com article, Sim D'Hertefelt lists 13 common objections against user requirements analysis and why you should not believe them. (2000-06-11)

Composition and Usability

Technique: In this Digital Web article, Rick Cecil describes a process of asking questions to identify the required components of a web page and then ranking those in order of importance. (2000-06-04)

Needs Assessment

In this paper Dalton Cote provides an overview of the methods, reasons and benefits of conducting a needs assessment study. According to Cote "Needs assessment is a systematic study to accurately describe gaps or discrepancies in performance that exist between what people are capable of doing now, what they should be capable of doing, and what they will be required to do in the future." (2000-05-21)

Toward the Automatic Construction of Task Models from Object-Oriented Diagrams

Task models bridge the gap between HCI and Software Engineering.  They are useful both for interface design and for generating user interface code and user documentation. These benefits, however, are difficult to achieve because building task models from scratch is difficult. In this paper, we describe an approach for automatically constructing task models from object-oriented diagrams in a CASE tool. (2000-03-12)

Task-Centered Human Interface Design 

The central goal of this online shareware book is to teach the reader how to design user interfaces that will enable people to learn computer systems quickly and use them effectively, efficiently, and comfortably. The interface issues addressed are primarily cognitive, that is, having to do with mental activities such as perception, memory, learning, and problem solving. (2000-02-06)

Site Redesign

A article about the process used to redesign the uidesign.net website. This first article is about the process for gathering requirements.  (2000-02-06)

Cluster Analysis for Web Site Organization

"This paper outlines the premises of and describes a method for using card-sorting and cluster analysis to involve users in the organizational design of Web sites. Members of a site's target audience sort cards representing key pages of a proposed site into groups. Cluster analysis is then performed across all participants' card groupings to produce site diagrams. By revealing the perceived relatedness of the key pages, these diagrams can help guide the navigational design of the site to meet users' expectations, resulting in a more usable site." (via WebWord) (2000-01-16)

Use OO to build a better UI

Recently, a group of application architects at IBM developed a way to build object-oriented user interfaces (OOUIs), called the Object, View, and Interaction Design (OVID) methodology. This article is adapted from their book Designing for the User with OVID. (1999-12-05)

Apprenticing with the Customer: A Collaborative Approach to Requirements Definition

This online article describes a technique for gathering task and process information through an apprenticeship relationship with a user. The technique is called Contextual Inquiry. (Sep-05-97)

Design as Storytelling

This article describes how to use story telling in the early stages of the interaction design process. The author relates that:  "I almost always begin design by talking with users. Initially, my goal is simply to collect people's stories. I believe that the stories people tell about what they do and how they do it contain information vital to designing good interfaces. Stories reveal what people like about their work, what they hate about it, what works well, what sorts of things are real problems. But although stories can contain a lot of valuable information, I believe that it is the process of collecting stories, rather than the content they contain, that is their most valuable contribution to design."  (1999-10-10)

Helping and Hindering User Involvement - A Tale of Everday Design

This case study provides a detailed account of the obstacles and facilitators to user involvement that were identified during the design of a computer application. The factors that affected user involvement included contracting design services, selecting users, motivating users, facilitating and mediating meetings and offering points of focus for user contributions. (Sep-03-97)

Identifying User Requirements Through Prototyping and Usability Testing

In this article John Harris argues that we should not use paper prototyping or any other usability techniques to gather user requirements. He recommends that we should be using a statistically valid techniques to gather most types of user requirements. (May-16-99)  

Publications by InContext Enterprises

This page contains links to articles by H. Beyer and K. Holtzblatt about user-centered design and work analysis methods. The articles include "Making Customer-Centered Design Work for Teams"   and "Representing Work for the Purpose of Design". (Nov-02-97)

Requirements Engineering and Specification in Telematics

User requirements specification is a critical part of the system design process. This web site is intended to provide assistance with establishing accurate user requirements. (1999-10-03)

Walking with the User

According to this Computerworld article " Many companies make a point of putting information technology professionals to work on store floors, in route trucks and in purchasing offices � the front lines where the business lives or dies. Walking the walk helps IT folks learn the business and how their work affects it. They empathize with business customers and look for opportunities to improve work processes. They build closer relationships and feel a part of something bigger than their current project." (Feb-07-99)

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