Designing for Dynamic Usability: Development of a Design Method that Supports Designing Products for Dynamic Use Situations

By Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer and Mascha C. van der Voort.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ease of use or usability is gaining ground as a selling argument. However, designing usable consumer products still remains a complicated activity, particularly when products will be used in changing circumstances. The usability of a product is defined by ISO 9241 as the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. From this definition can be concluded that a product’s usability depends on the situation in which it is used and that this situation should be specified. However, more and more products are used by varying users, for varying purposes and/ or in varying contexts of use, for instance a vending machine or a mobile phone. These types of products therefore have a varying or dynamic usability. This variation can take place on different levels: within a use session, between use sessions or between products. The means by which a product can be adjusted to this variation or ‘dynamic use situation’ depends on the variation level. Products with dynamic use situations are difficult to design with regard to usability because it is difficult - if not impossible - to predict all situations a product will meet. Moreover, requirements from different use situations can conflict. In this paper we will elaborate on the principle of dynamic use situations by means of an example. Furthermore we will discuss the need for the development of a design method that supports designers in dealing with dynamic use situations. For that purpose we propose criteria the method should meet. Besides aiming at creating solutions these criteria include the analysis and prioritizing of use situation aspects as well as an evaluation in which these aspects are integrated. We believe scenarios can be a valuable tool in this process.

Keywords: Usability, User Characteristics, Context of Use, Industrial Design, Scenario Based Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.149-158. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.495MB).

Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer

Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Design, Production and Management, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands

Mieke Brouwer (1975) graduated in industrial design engineering at Delft University of Technology in 2001 with a specialisation in user interface design. From 2002 she has been teaching user interface related topics such as cognitive ergonomics and scenario based design at the industrial design engineering education program of the University of Twente. She combines this work with a PhD. research on design for dynamic use situations.

Dr. Mascha C. van der Voort

Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Design, Production and Management, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands

Mascha van der Voort (1974) obtained her PhD regarding the design and evaluation of a new fuel-efficiency support tool at the University of Twente in 2001. She is now leading a research group on scenario based product design within the Laboratory of Design, Production and Management as well as coordinating research regarding natural interaction in computer-mediated environments at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology. Concurrently, she has been teaching courses regarding human factors, ergonomics, usability and research methods at the industrial design engineering education program of the University of Twente.

Reviews:

There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review