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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2009 - issue > Technology

User-Centered Software Engineering (UCSE)

Anil Pagar
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Anil Pagar
As the world has become a global village and commodities are bought and sold to and from across the seas, software usability engineering has come into prominence. Since software is the window to showcase the products and services, the consumers interact with this window to complete the transaction. Abundance of information on the Internet and equally voluminous quantum of commodity that sell on the Internet make it very difficult to manage the human-computer interface (HCI) design problems. As software is becoming ubiquitous in every walk of life, it’s very important for software developers to think out of the box and not depend only on their intuitions as to decide what product designs are likely to be seen as usable.

Software engineering firms have to understand the perceptual psychological, cognitive psychological, and other scientific underpinnings of usability; having understood these, they would have to define and implement aspects of usability engineering methods used in the pursuit of ‘user-centered design’ and then judiciously apply usability engineering in a software development project. Essentially all software projects need ‘user-centered approach’. With functionality and ‘speeds and feeds’ becoming a norm, they no longer are success factors of any products. Functionality isn’t enough: users are demanding that ease of use be designed into the products they use. Many of our customers are now asking us to demonstrate the usability of solutions and products through usability testing methods or devices, and some of them also want the products to be ISO 9241-11 standard compliant.

What is User-Centered Design?
User-centered design is a process in which the demands, wants, and limitations of the end user of the product are given prime attention at each stage of the design process. Users are an integral part of the product design and development. The user-centered approach is a multi-stage problem solving process that compels designers to not only analyze and foresee how users are likely to use an interface, but also, to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behavior in real world tests with actual users. These testings are imperative, as they clear the barriers for the end users and give the intuitive understanding to the designers as to what users would experience and the learning curve associated with different strata of user base.

How to approach User-Centered Design?
Understand the business goals and objectives:
* What is the target market?

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