User-centered Design Methods

September 14, 2015
  • Field Studies: This method is known as the best tool for discovering user needs. There is no doubt that nothing can be more precious than the information about the users to any particular design team. Interfacing becomes really easier, intuitive and more powerful when the teams have right set of information. Field studies helps the users a perfect environment and also allow them to observe the details of the process easily.
  • Analysis of the requirements: It is one kind of tool that ensures that the designers have captured all the needs of the product. These are captured from all perspectives of the stakeholders. The designer gets a final document after the end of the process. There is a list of system requirements for a particular product design.
  • Iterative User Interface Design: Interfaces can be redesigned again and again basing upon the user tasting. It also helps to improve the stability. From a study it is seen that the average of improvement from the first to the final iteration is about 165%. On the contrary, the average of improvement per iteration was 38%. So it is important to carry out this process in some iterative fashions.
  • Usability Evaluation: For accomplishing the Human/User-centered evaluations, we need to identify the representative users at first. Then it is also important to learn about representative tasks and also develop of a suitable procedure so that the problems can be captured for a particular software product.
  • Task Analysis Method: This method analyses the actions of a user which he is assigned to do. It can be also termed as a set of cognitive processes which aims to achieve a particular task. A complete task analysis can be conducted which helps us to understand the present system and the flows of information within this system. These flows of information plays great role in the maintenance of the present existing system and also in the process of being substituted to any new system.
  • Using of Focus Groups in the Purpose of the Evaluation: Focus groups were known as “group death interviews” or “focused interviews”. This technique was developed for the purpose of the evaluation of the response of the audience to the radio programs after World War II. It has become very useful technique to understand how or why people can be able to hold such strong and certain beliefs on a particular topic of interest.
  • Heuristic Evaluation: It is an evaluation method where the reviewers normally compare a software or others hardware products with a list which consists of different design principles. This list is normally known as heuristics.
  • Interviews: It is a very common and popular method of discovering the facts and also the opinions those are held by the users who are designing the system. This interview is normally taken by one interviewer who speaks to an informant. Reports that are based on those interviews can be analyzed very carefully and the impact of such report can also make some great impact.
  • Use of Prototype: Prototypes can make some crucial role at any stage of the development process and also plays some major contributions in the field of evaluation of the design alternatives. There are mainly three approaches of prototypes including HTML prototyping, storyboards and paper prototyping. There is a list of pros and cons for all approaches of prototyping. This also helps to facilitate the best decision for the overall requirements.
  • User survey for design making: These are known to be as the means by which we can find out the web site or even the software which is normally being used by a set of particular users. These methods also include the selection of whose these users are going to be. The user surveys normally provide the answers which should be relevant to the important issues of the user designing team. Usually and also traditionally the user services are carried out by post. But at present internet is increasingly being use for this purpose.
  • Expert Reviews on Usability (Beyond Heuristic Evaluation): An evaluator normally uses a product for a particular purpose or a web site for some other different occasions and assesses the usability of this product and website against some sets of principles which are known as best practice guidelines. This whole process is known as expert usability review. These reviews are popular because they are known as much quicker methods and also relatively cheaper than the other methods to carry out.
  • Performance of Card Setting: Card sorting is known as a way which helps to involve the users in grouping of information for a website. Participants of a particular card sorting process are instructed to organize the different contents from the website in a particular way that makes some sense for them. Participants can also help the label different groups.
  • Participatory Design: This type of design method helps the developers and also the designers to learn about the needs of the users and also preferences in the process of design through an effective group of workshop. These types of design methods are the ideas that reflect the requirements of the users.