Supporting User-Centred Product Creation
VNET5 offers IST projects support in user-centred design and user validation.
This section gives a brief overview of the approach, and how the methods and tools fit
into product development. User-centred design is increasingly seen as essential for the
creation of successful products:
- understanding the needs of users early in the design
and development process
- shaping product design to user needs
- validating that the product will be acceptable to users.
Ideally, the approach is planned into product development from the outset.
Sometimes projects only recognise the need for a more user-centred approach once design
is in progress, and even then a lot can be achieved. The diagram below summarises the key
stages in the process of user-centred design
A key element of the user-centred design process is iteration, whereby a prototype design is evaluated and modified to incorporate user-derived feedback into the design.
On the VNET site you can find supporting material for each stage of the process, and links to further resources. The approach is open and not method-specific.
- Planning: guidance on ensuring your project is user-focused, who to involve, how to set up a user validation plan, budget implications
- Analysing user requirements: practical methods and tools for requirements capture, user profiling, task analysis and the use of scenarios, setting measurable usability goals
- Design and prototyping: methods and guidelines for user interface design, designing for the web and multimedia, visual design, techniques for rapid prototyping
- Evaluating: testing, usability and quality is key to user validation as design proceeds.
VNET5 provides a wealth of support, including essential methods and techniques:
- inspection methods for early judgements about design and content
- user testing of prototypes to establish how effectively and efficiently a design meets user needs
- measurement of user satisfaction and preferences
Post-implementation user testing and monitoring of product use.
The VNET site provides guidance on choosing appropriate methods and tools, and managing the user-centred design process.
Management of user-centred design can require some difficult decisions and trade-offs. It benefits from skills and experience in applying user-centred design, that projects may still be in the process of developing. VNET5 partners offer coaching to qualifying IST projects, to help them plan and achieve effective user-centred product creation within the timescales and constraints of the project.