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Mind the gap: a procurement approach to integrating user-centred design in contract development
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Numerical Analysis and Computer Science, NADA.
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.
Series
Trita-NA, ISSN 0348-2952 ; 0447
Keyword [en]
Människa-dator-interaktion
Keyword [sv]
Människa-dator-interaktion
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-326ISBN: 91-7283-943-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-326DiVA: diva2:9042
Presentation
2005-02-14, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 14:00
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101213Available from: 2005-07-25 Created: 2005-07-25 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Procuring Usable Systems - An Analysis of a Commercial Procurement Project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Procuring Usable Systems - An Analysis of a Commercial Procurement Project
(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
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27391 (URN)
Note
QC 20101213Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Procuring a usable system using unemployed personas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Procuring a usable system using unemployed personas
2004 (English)In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, Tampere, 2004, Vol. 82, 13-22 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This case study examines a procurement project where the Swedish National Labor Market Administration (AMV) hired usability consultants in order to redesign their website for employment exchange. The user centered design process was part of a larger project to define how the website could be reorganized to better support new organizational goals. The project was managed by a procurement group that had already defined the organizational requirements for the website. They hired the usability consultants to learn about user requirements and to specify an information architecture and design. The usability company suggested a process with a user research phase and an iterative design phase. The primary deliverables would be personas and an evaluated prototype. The results demonstrate how the user centered design process can effectively be used by active procuring organizations as a bridge between abstract organizational requirements and concrete systems requirements. Tools such as personas and prototypes helped the procurers to understand and prioritize among requirements, as well as to communicate their work to the organization. These tools will be used in the continued work to specify and develop the system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tampere: , 2004
Keyword
Acquire, Business, Design, Integration, Interaction architect, Personas, Procure, Procurement, Procurer, Requirements, Usability, Business design, Concrete system, Information architectures, Iterative design, Labor markets, Organizational goals, Procurement projects, User requirements, User research, User-centered design process, Bridges, Employment, Knowledge management, Usability engineering, World Wide Web, Human computer interaction
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27393 (URN)10.1145/1028014.1028017 (DOI)2-s2.0-77952977544 (Scopus ID)1581138571 (ISBN); 9781581138573 (ISBN) (ISBN)
Conference
3rd Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, NordiCHI 2004; Tampere; 23 October 2004 through 27 October 2004
Note
QC 20101213Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2012-01-21Bibliographically approved
3. Crossing the border: Redefining Early in User-Centred Design.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Crossing the border: Redefining Early in User-Centred Design.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the most common problems we face as usability professionals today is that of not being involved early enough, or not having the desired impact on the systems development. In this paper we propose that one reason for this may be that we in client-supplier relations in contract- and in-house development unconsciously only seek solutions from a supplier perspective, where “early involvement” marks the beginning of the supplier’s engagement. In this paper we propose that usage-centered design may instead be viewed as a tool for clients to define what system to purchase, and what requirements that are appropriate for both the business as a whole, and for the individual users. We present a model how to work with User-Centered Design (UCD) in procurement and describe two case studies that followed this work model. The results from the case studies suggest that this approach effectively deals with issues of early involvement and integration of user requirements in systems development. The clients in the case studies valued the UCD work and based their forthcoming systems development on it. Apart from integrating a UCD perspective before a contract for the development was signed, a number of other benefits were accomplished, including an integration of business and user requirements and a facilitated communication among stakeholders. We discuss some of the preconditions for this approach to be successful, based on experiences from the two case studies. This approach requires us to reconsider the role of UCD in systems development. We believe a change will come, but slowly, since it challenges established conceptions in UCD.

Keyword
Procurer, Procurement, User-Centered Design, Politics of usability, Cost-benefit, Interaction design, Contract Development, In-house Development, Personas.
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27395 (URN)
Note
QC 20101213Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved

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