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User-Centred Product Creation in Interactive Electronic Publishing

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The User-Centred Development Process

Define the vision

Taking an electronic publishing project from initial concept to successful product is not easy. Many projects fail to deliver a successful product, because their focus is misplaced from the outset. A clear user-centred vision is an essential foundation for success. It enables sponsors and development teams to achieve a shared understanding of project objectives and of how the product will meet the needs of its users. It enables the project to focus on delivering things that will succeed in the marketplace.

Key steps

Explicitly defining the vision includes:

1. Confirm the business objectives

  • what benefits does the project aim to deliver ?
  • what are the initial and continuing costs ?
  • if it is a commercial proposition, what is the business model ?
  • what are the critical success factors ?

2. Identify and involve stakeholders

There may be many different people or groups with a stake in the product design and use: sponsors, project management, marketing, technical managers, designers, content providers, content managers, consumer groups, customer organisations, end-users, support service providers, disability groups, usability professionals, etc. Identify them and gain appropriate involvement.

3. Develop the initial concept

  • understand the high level vision, product goals and rationale
  • develop scenarios of use
  • create some initial design representations.

4. Plan user validation

  • choose and scope out user-centred activities
  • outline validation scenario and focus of the assessment

5. Subsequently plan in detail

  • draw on analysis of user requirements, users, tasks and context of use
  • define quality factors, how to measure them, and quality criteria.