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Significance and Evidence

Discuss about the User Centered Design for Development Techniques.

User Centered Design is a series of development techniques that is used to develop and enhance user experience and efficiency of a particular software or software program. This design technique is mainly used for increasing commercial success of a software program (Courage and Baxter 2005). User Centered Design is a matter of controversy among different researchers and most of the researchers have different viewpoints regarding this particular technique. Some have opted for market centric technique and others opted for user centric technique. Most of the researchers have discussed about both of the techniques and wanted to find a new way to incorporate both of these techniques together. One of the significant theories regarding user design technique was published by Kutty (2015) in which she said that market research and user research are two entirely different techniques and cannot be implemented together within one system.

The main objective of this paper is to analyze user centered design and related techniques and review Kutty’s (2015) theory regarding market research and user research techniques. Analysis of the paper on the basis of relevant market data and statistics will give a clear idea regarding the user centered design and its implications on information technology business systems.

Significance

Market research is based on the type of customers that are buying the products. The target is always the type of customers of the company. Hence, the products are manufactured according to the type of customers buying the products. Hence, market research can benefit the financial aspect of the company but only for a limited period of time.

User research is based on the activities or applications that are done with the products by the customers (Kutty 2015). The design is made by contemplating the possible applications from the users’ end. This technique may not be successful initially, but will be successful in the long run with gradual and periodic updates.

The main problem that companies face is during the selection of the technique.  Some companies opt for market research and others for user research. However, failure to identify the best technique for the particular product results in business disaster (Lin 2013). Hence, the problem of differentiating the two techniques is a very important one and the company must be able to identify the best technique for their particular business system.

Different companies have different business functions and they need a different technique that is most suited for their business. For instance, for the companies seeking immediate commercial impact in their business system, they should opt for market research, as this will lead to manufacture of products that are favored by market trends and will be economically feasible (Hertzum 2016). For the companies seeking to improve their products (mainly softwares) gradually through regular updates after taking user feedbacks, the user research is more suitable.

Evidence

According to Kutty (2015), these two techniques are different in their operation and should not be confused as the same. However, she also mentioned that the two techniques are complimentary to each other in terms of operation and execution. Hence, an in-depth analysis is required for both the techniques in order to solve the problem for different business organizations.

The author argued that market research is based on the type of customers that are buying the products and user research is based on the activities or applications that are done with the products by the customers. The author also argued that market research and user research are two entirely different techniques and cannot be implemented together within one system (Davis and Douglas 2015). However, she also added that the two techniques are complimentary to each other in terms of operation and execution. To support the author’s arguments, there are several business cases that show that these are extremely valid arguments. Courage and Baxter (2005) said using real statistics that market research can benefit the financial aspect of the company but only for a limited period of time while the companies seeking to improve their products (mainly softwares) gradually through regular updates after taking user feedbacks, the user research is more suitable. This supports Kutty’s (2015) view that the two approaches are different and have different benefits to the companies. The author also said that the two research methods are complimentary to each other. This is supported by the fact that both of them satisfy two different but important conditions of a successful business system. One satisfies the business organization while the other satisfies the customers.

For the evidences for supporting the author’s argument, a few business organizations have been studied and analyzed. There are some developers that tend to go with the market trend and design their products according to the demands. Moreover, they do not wait for customer feedback and design their products but solely depend on the ongoing trend in the market. This is a market research technique and actively contradicts user research technique. Again, some developers design their products based on the customer needs (Chase et al. 2016). They release demo or unfinished versions of softwares or other products and sell them to the customers for feedback. After receiving feedbacks, they develop the products according to the requirements of the client. This contradicts market research technique.

Implications

However, these evidences are not quite convincing at all. This is because there have been so many cases in both the techniques that were not beneficial for the developers at all. Moreover, there have been many evidences where these techniques were failures in the companies where they were implemented. According to some evidences, some developers tried to go on with the market but ultimately failed in the long run as they had no proper future planning (Bae 2015). In most of these cases, the companies initially made good profits from the market trend but failed to keep up with changing markets due to lack of upgradation of their products or softwares. Moreover, customer feedbacks were also taken into account by the developers. Again, for the companies who used user research technique, they based their development solely based on customer feedbacks. They developed and upgraded their products or services according to the customers’ feedbacks or demands (Xie et al. 2016). However, in many cases, the development projects failed. The main cause of the failure was lack of sufficient funding for the projects. Apparently, due to user centered design, the developers have to change or redevelop a particular software. This results in extra expenses and since the softwares or products are not fully released in market, they are unable to reap profits from the market (Nunan and Di Domenico 2013). This also results in loss of market value as well as business of the company. All these evidences speak against the author’s arguments.

Before evaluating the implications of the evidences for and against the author’s standpoint, several points are to be analyzed and discussed that are related to this particular topic. These points are mainly based on some small techniques and tests done by the developers during the development of a particular application or software. These techniques are direct applications of the research techniques as suggested by Kutty as well as many other prominent researchers in this field.

Point 1 - One user research technique is usability test. With the help of this test, the user is enabled to send feedbacks to the developer regarding further possible developments on the particular software (Becker and Yannotta 2013).

Point 2 - During the development process of the softwares, the developers need to make some advanced academic assumptions. Hence, after initial development, the developers have to see whether the applications or softwares are commercially feasible or not (Sonderegger et al. 2014).

Point 3 - The developers have to ensure that the developed softwares completely meet the requirements of the user. There are many ways to develop a software, most of these are done along with exciting visual designs. However, the first priority should be to meet user requirements (Chase, Trapasso and Tolliver 2016).

Point 4 - Recently, some advanced software developers are using high end system configurations for developing the application softwares. For this reason, most of the latest softwares can only be properly executed in the high end computing devices (Park and Hong 2015). However, these softwares have a risk of gaining a very low popularity rating as a large number of users may not have access to the expensive and high-end computing systems (Courage and Baxter 2005).

The main reason behind discussing these facts is that, all these techniques are followed based on the customer requirements i.e. there is a general trend of following user research technique among developers. If the softwares are developed according to the users’ requirements and are commercially extremely viable, then the developers are able to grow extremely fast and become economic powerhouse (Courage and Baxter 2005). One the other hand, if the market research technique is followed, the developers can grow initially but may fail to keep up with the changing market trends. This creates another problem that calls for a solution.

For a “perfect” commercial system, a company has to grow fast initially to support the ongoing development in the company. Now, this implies that the company follows market centric and user centric research techniques at the same time, which is impossible according to Kutty (2015). However, this process is actually an absolute perfect process that combines the two techniques by keeping a perfect balance between the two. This new system will not only be commercially viable but will also satisfy the users. Hence, the developers should keep this in mind and should try to construct a similar intermediate technique that will follow both the market trend as well as user feedbacks.

Conclusion

The main goal of this report was to analyze user centered design and related techniques and review Kutty’s theory regarding market research and user research techniques. From the report, several aspects of the user centered design can be concluded. User centered design technique is mainly used for increasing commercial success of a software program but is a matter of controversy among different researchers and most of the researchers have different viewpoints regarding this particular technique. One of the significant theories regarding user design technique was published by Kutty in which she said that market research and user research are two entirely different techniques and cannot be implemented together within one system. According to her, these two techniques are different in their operation and should not be confused as the same and added that the two techniques are complimentary to each other in terms of operation and execution. There are many evidences to support her claims. For instance, real statistics show that market research can benefit the financial aspect of the company but only for a limited period of time while the companies seeking to improve their products (mainly softwares) gradually through regular updates after taking user feedbacks, the user research is more suitable. The fact that the two systems are complementary is supported by the fact that both of them satisfy two different but important conditions of a successful business system. However, there have been so many cases in both the techniques that were not beneficial for the developers at all. Moreover, there have been many evidences where these techniques were failures in the companies where they were implemented. According to some evidences, some developers tried to go on with the market but ultimately failed in the long run as they had no proper future planning. Again, for the companies who used user research technique, they based their development solely based on customer feedbacks. They developed and upgraded their products or services according to the customers’ feedbacks or demands and in many of these cases, the development projects. Hence, finally it can be concluded that in spite of Kutty’s views, a new method should be found that would be able to solve the issues faced by both the techniques, i.e. bringing a balance between the two techniques might be able to solve the problems and help developers move into a new and more efficient development system.

References

Bae, K.J., 2015. A Study on the Definition of User Experience toward Electronic Publication for Education and Research and the Usability Test for the Electronic Publication Devices. Journal of the Korean Society for Library and Information Science, 49(2), pp.255-274.

Becker, D.A. & Yannotta, L., 2013. Modeling a library website redesign process: Developing a user-centered website through usability testing.Information Technology and Libraries (Online), 32(1), p.6.

Chase, D., Trapasso, E. & Tolliver, R., 2016. The Perfect Storm: Examining User Experience and Conducting a Usability Test to Investigate a Disruptive Academic Library Web Site Redevelopment. Journal of Web Librarianship, 10(1), pp.28-44.

Courage, C. & Baxter, K., 2005. Understanding your users: a practical guide to user requirements: methods, tools, and techniques. Gulf Professional Publishing.

Davis, K. & Douglas, D., 2015, September. Translating Usability Test Data into Client-Ready Findings and Recommendations. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 1764-1768). SAGE Publications.

Fagan, J.C., Mandernach, M.A., Nelson, C.S., Paulo, J.R. & Saunders, G., 2012. Usability test results for a discovery tool in an academic library.

Hertzum, M., 2016. A usability test is not an interview. Interactions (new York).

Kutty, P., 2015. Blending market research and user research activities.interactions, 22(3), pp.68-70.

Lin, C.C., 2013. Exploring the relationship between technology acceptance model and usability test. Information Technology and Management, 14(3), pp.243-255.

Nunan, D. & Di Domenico, M., 2013. Market research and the ethics of big data. International Journal of Market Research, 55(4), pp.2-13.

Park, D. & Hong, K.H., 2015. A Web Based System for Usability Project Planning and Testing. KIISE Transactions on Computing Practices, 21(4), pp.308-314.

Shin, J.H., Ryu, H. & Jang, S.H., 2014. A task-specific interactive game-based virtual reality rehabilitation system for patients with stroke: a usability test and two clinical experiments. Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, 11(1), p.1.

Sonderegger, A., Uebelbacher, A., Pugliese, M. & Sauer, J., 2014, April. The influence of aesthetics in usability testing: the case of dual-domain products. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 21-30). ACM.

Xie, W., Bivins, M.A., Jones, S., Deng, K.K., Schiller, B., Sullivan, J., Terrazas, A. & Sheppard, M., The Nielsen Company, 2016. Context-Based Image Recognition For Consumer Market Research. U.S. Patent 20,160,125,265.

Yang, L. & Li, Z., 2016. Improvement Suggestion of Ergonomics Experiment Based on Apparatus Usability Evaluation. In Proceedings of the 6th International Asia Conference on Industrial Engineering and Management Innovation (pp. 147-152). Atlantis Press.

Zhao, T., McDonald, S. & Edwards, H.M., 2014. The impact of two different think-aloud instructions in a usability test: a case of just following orders?. Behaviour & Information Technology, 33(2), pp.163-183.

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