These are some of the basic techniques of a typical of a UCD process for designing Web applications.
1. Defining Project Vision:
This is where the company defines the product vision, target market, goals, inspirations, best practices, challenges, constrains etc. For example, Google as a company may have defined their vision as follows:
- Focus on people, their lives, work and dreams
- Every millisecond counts.
- Simplicity is powerful.
- Engage beginners and attract experts.
- Dare to innovate.
- Design for the world.
- Plan for today’s and tomorrow’s business.
- Delight the eye without distracting the mind.
- Be worthy of people’s trust.
- Add a human touch.
2. User analysis:
This is the step of information gathering and analysis.
Step 1 – Groups
Target users are divided into primary & secondary groups (aka Focus groups). Primary groups division parameters can be very basic, for example a social networking site can simply divide their users into primary groups:
- Group A – Users who already have an account on any other social networking sites.
- Group B – Users who have never used a social networking site before, but who access internet.
Now Group A can be further divided into various secondary groups depending on the product vision and business requirement. So for example, Group A can be further divided as follows:
- A1 – Gender Male
- A2 – Gender Female
- A3 – Career based (IT, teacher, engineer, BPO employee etc)
- A4 – Education based
- A5 – Business networking user
- A6 – Family networking user
- A7 – Friends networking user
Step 2 – Categories
This is the step where business defines the user categories. This can be as simple as techies and non techies. Categories can also be defined by the age groups division of the target group.
Step 3 – User matrix
The User Group Matrix table below includes colour coding that is with the text in order to simplify the analysis.
- Range – Usage patterns can be defined as Low, medium, high and everything in between like Low to High, Medium to High etc.
- Parameters for Analysis – These are factors defined by the business against which the analysis table is drawn.
Step 4 – Creating Personas
Personas are fictitious characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the target group.
Step 5 – Analysis & Implications
Methods of analysis like field study, contextual analysis etc. reveals various aspects that can heavily influence the product design. For example, if the finding is that many uses do not visit the site regularly, then the implications in design can be as follows:
1. In making specific design decisions, easy-to-use for first-time and infrequent users is higher priority than efficient-to-use for frequent users
2. Exploring the possible exception of areas targeted for working group members
3. News feed in the email/ on site can maximise usage