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Procuring Usable Systems - An Analysis of a Commercial Procurement Project
KTH, Superseded Departments, Numerical Analysis and Computer Science, NADA.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article presents a case study of how usability was dealt with in a procurement process of acontent management system. The results indicate that the procurers found it difficult to defineusability requirements, probably because they lacked tools and experience to do so. Difficultiesalso arose because the tools that they used were based on idealized models of how users worked. Itis argued that proper usability activities at an early stage could have facilitated the procurementprocess and the discussion with suppliers, as well as integrated usability into the developmentprocess. A brief outline of how such an integration could be made is described.

National Category
Computer and Information Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27391OAI: diva2:377081
QC 20101213Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mind the gap: a procurement approach to integrating user-centred design in contract development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mind the gap: a procurement approach to integrating user-centred design in contract development
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Usability professionals seldom get a chance to actually do their job. Instead, they have to argue that usability is something important that should be attended to. This was the initial problem that motivated this thesis. In spite decenniums of evolution within HCI this problem is still highly relevant, and existing approaches to solve it yet have to prove their effectiveness. When approaches to integrate HCI into systems development have been discussed, there has seldom been a discussion about how a given approach may be more or less useful in different development contexts. Nor has there been much discussion about how HCI activities relates to the overall procurement-development process. One reason for this may be that existing approaches to HCI integration are suited primarily for product development and, to some extent, to in-house development. At least these contexts are most common in existing case studies.

In this thesis, I focus on the problem of HCI integration in contract development. This context poses particular challenges, mainly because two parties with different goals are involved – the procurer and the supplier. They regulate business relations and responsibilities via the contract. In both existing practice and in research the user-centred design (UCD) process has, at least implicitly, been assumed to belong to the supplier side. It is the suppliers, i.e. consultancy firms, that have employed usability professionals and that have tried to integrate HCI into their development processes. By taking a procurement perspective instead, I question this assumption.

I present three case studies that start with a survey of common problems in current procurement practice and end with trying out an approach to work with UCD in systems acquisition. While my interest initially concerned successful HCI integration, I also discuss how the suggested approach deals with several existing problems that procurers face. In particular, the approach links abstract business goals that any systems acquisition starts of with, to detailed systems requirements that it aims at defining. This facilitates for procurers to focus on the goals that the future system should help enable and linking these goals to the requirement specification that the contract is based on.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. 99 p.
Trita-NA, ISSN 0348-2952 ; 0447
Människa-dator-interaktion, Människa-dator-interaktion
National Category
Information Science
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326 (URN)91-7283-943-0 (ISBN)
2005-02-14, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 14:00
QC 20101213Available from: 2005-07-25 Created: 2005-07-25 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Markensten, Erik
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