Designing with the user in mind: how user-centred design (UCD) can work for bioinformatics

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Free talk video (you just need to get the access code by email) is here: https://www.iscb.org/cms_addon/multimedia/flvmedia.php?i=1377

Presented at ISMB ECCB 2013 conference: http://www.iscb.org/ismbeccb2013

It is recognised that bioinformatics resources often suffer from usability problems: for example, they can be too complex for the infrequent user to navigate, and they can “lack sophistication” compared to other websites that people use in their daily lives. In this presentation, Dr. Jenny Cham, User-Experience Analyst at the European Bioinformatics Institute, UK, will describe specific case studies to show how user-centred design (UCD) principles can be applied to bioinformatics services.

As well as improved usability, the benefits of UCD can include more effective decision-making for design ideas and technologies during development; enhanced team-working and communication; cost effectiveness; and ultimately a bioinformatics service that more closely meets the needs of its target research community.

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Designing with the user in mind: how user-centred design (UCD) can work for bioinformatics

  1. 1. Designing with the user in mind: how UCD can work for bioinformatics Jennifer A. Cham User Experience Analyst European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge User-Centred Design = an approach that grounds the design process in information about the people who will use the product/service/tool
  2. 2. We need to ! publish more! !
  3. 3. So we did… 201 3 201 2
  4. 4. My mission today…
  5. 5. Is it worth thinking about who you are designing for?
  6. 6. Fact: bioinformatics resources suffer from usability problems Javahery et al. (2004) Beyond Power: making bioinformatics tools user-centered. Commun ACM 47:59-62 Bolchini et al. (2009) Better bioinformatics through usability analysis. Bioinformatics 25:406-412
  7. 7. Challenges: Constraints vs. pleasing the user
  8. 8. ‘Dry’ and ‘wet’ scientists use the same software Jakob Nielsen, Usability Engineering 1993
  9. 9. We don’t sell stuff…
  10. 10. Finding the people
  11. 11. Let’s have a go…
  12. 12. 1.  Characterise users & their requirements 2.  Design suitable interactions 3.  Test using prototypes using real life scenarios
  13. 13. Example: Enzyme Portal
  14. 14. Our UCD lifecycle – to design a ‘user-friendly’ portal
  15. 15. User profiles/ personae for empathy
  16. 16. Fact: you are not the user ≠
  17. 17. A persona can mitigate ‘self-as-user’ outlook Empathising-Systemising Theory Baron-Cohen, S. et al (2003) The systemizing quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London 358: 361-74
  18. 18. Designed by Francis Rowland
  19. 19. User stories mapped / modelled Created using yWorks yEd Graph Editor
  20. 20. Workshops to explore users’ needs & priorities
  21. 21. Where shall we go on holiday this year…? I wonder what I could make for dinner tonight…
  22. 22. ‘Gamestorming’ activities to capture ideas Gray et al. (2010) Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
  23. 23. ‘Canvas sort’ activity
  24. 24. Output goes into the interface designs
  25. 25. Evaluating prototypes: see them in action
  26. 26. Usability testing on paper (‘Paper prototyping’)
  27. 27. Result: Visual Specifications Created using Balsamiq Mockups (http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups)
  28. 28. So what did we learn? •  Specific things about representing enzyme data e.g. •  Species-specific 3D model •  General things e.g. •  Embedded not hyperlinked
  29. 29. ! Usability determines how bioinformatics is perceived ! “there are scientists … who publish work but do not want to go to the trouble of making the resources easy to use. Wouldn’t it seem that evidence of usability…should be prerequisite to publishing a paper about such a resource?” Our duty à return on public investment in research Veretnik et al. (2008) Computational biology resources lack persistence and usability. PLoS CB 4:2-4
  30. 30. UCD wins… Evidence from users Communicate what users want Decision-making easier Developers get feedback Team-work ethos
  31. 31. Culture Change: UX interest group – EBI interfaces community http://ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com/
  32. 32. Acknowledgements
  33. 33. www.ebi.ac.uk/enzymeportal
  34. 34. Sketchnote of this talk www.jennycham.co.uk http://www.flickr.com/photos/97823772@N02/9367537145/ Sketched by Francis Rowland
  35. 35. Questions?

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