Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Designing "for Use" and not "for Users" - by Larry Constantine

I have found a really interesting article from Larry Constantine on UIE.COM.

Designing Web Applications for Use
By Larry Constantine, Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.

I find the first part of the artcile very challenging and true. This statement is particularly impressive and insightful:

First, an overly purist user-centered, customer-centered approach often contributes to the dreaded disease of creeping featuritis that plagues so much of modern technology. Features are piled on features, with interface controls ending up hung willy-nilly on the interface until almost anything is possible but users can’t figure out how to do it. As Microsoft’s Chris Capossela put it, “When we asked [what users wanted in] Office, nine times out of ten, they named something…already in the product; they just couldn’t find it.” Don Norman expressed the root of the problem this way: “Listening to customers is always wise, but acceding to their requests can lead to overly complex designs....[that become] more complex and less understandable with each revision.”

personal comments::
In fact, I think that a solely user-centered approach is not fruiful and realistic in delivering an effective user experience. A Stakeholhder-centered approach, instead, is more balanced because it takes into account the needs and goals of all stakeholders involved, not only the users.

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