Authors: Preece, Rogers & Sharp
Case Studies
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2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Chapter Index
User-Centred Approaches to Interaction Design

Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment comments | Teaching Materials

Design is a practical and creative activity, the ultimate intent of which is to develop a product that helps its users achieve their goals. In previous chapters, we looked at different kinds of interactive products, issues that need to be taken into account when doing interaction design, some of the theoretical basis for the field, and techniques for gathering and analyzing data to understand users’ goals. In this chapter we start to explore how we can design and build interactive products.

Chapter 1 defined interaction design as being concerned with ‘‘designing interactive products to support the way people communicate and interact in their everyday and working lives.’’ But how do you go about doing this?

Developing a product must begin with gaining some understanding of what is required of it, but where do these requirements come from? Whom do you ask about them? Underlying good interaction design is the philosophy of user-centered design, i.e. involving users throughout development, but who are the users? Will they know what they want or need even if we can find them to ask? For an innovative product, users are unlikely to be able to envision what is possible, so where do these ideas come from?

In this chapter, we raise and answer these kinds of questions and discuss user-centered design and the four basic activities of the interaction design process that were introduced in Chapter 1. We also introduce a lifecycle model of interaction design that captures these activities.

The main aims of this chapter are to:

  • Explain some advantages of involving users in development.

  • Consider what ‘doing’ interaction design involves.

  • Explain some advantages of involving users in development.

  • Explain the main principles of a user-centered approach.

  • Ask and provide answers for some important questions about the interactiondesign process.

  • Introduce the idea of a lifecycle model to represent a set of activities and how
    they are related.

  • Describe some lifecycle models from software engineering and HCI and
    discuss how they relate to the process of interaction design.

  • Present a lifecycle model of interaction design.