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User oriented design

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human-centered/user-oriented design of information systems in developing countries. Presented at Mekong ICT Camp, Chiang Mai, Thailand 2010

human-centered/user-oriented design of information systems in developing countries. Presented at Mekong ICT Camp, Chiang Mai, Thailand 2010

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  • - There’s not such a thing as a Good or Bad things: there are things that work for some people in some places under some circunstances



  • The windmill powers a bicycle dynamo, designed to power a bicycle’s headlamp. William ran the bicycle dynammo through a transformer, which provided enough power to charge a 12 volt battery. That battery in turn powers four lights, two radios and a mobile phone charger in William’s home.


  • Most of them don't have access to Internet or even a computer at their workplaces, but in general they do have a cell phone and the ability to send SMS.



  • -Focusing on usability: design a simple and usable command syntax for Geochat

  • -Focusing on usability: design a simple and usable command syntax for Geochat

  • -Focusing on usability: design a simple and usable command syntax for Geochat


  • -Wizard of Oz for usability testing before the system exists








  • -Focusing on usability: design a simple and usable command syntax for Geochat



  • -Third step: writing SMS is hard, and some health workers don't know how to do it. Even if they knew, for example in Cambodia there are just a few phone models which support Khmer, and they're not very popular. So they have to learn English disease names (most of them are too difficult to  spell!) or code numbers by heart. The whole process becomes too error prone and uncomfortable for users: either they are forced to learn words in a foreign language which are easily misspelled, or they have to enter code numbers which have no semantic value for them. Moreover, if they mistype a single digit, they may end up reporting a totally different disease from the one they wanted to!

  • -Third step: writing SMS is hard, and some health workers don't know how to do it. Even if they knew, for example in Cambodia there are just a few phone models which support Khmer, and they're not very popular. So they have to learn English disease names (most of them are too difficult to  spell!) or code numbers by heart. The whole process becomes too error prone and uncomfortable for users: either they are forced to learn words in a foreign language which are easily misspelled, or they have to enter code numbers which have no semantic value for them. Moreover, if they mistype a single digit, they may end up reporting a totally different disease from the one they wanted to!





  • Play Wizard of Oz: ask her to send a report by calling a number (which supposedly belongs to the system). Record a video of the whole experience for later analysis.

  • Record initial reactions, fears, uncertainties, doubts and feedback. The feedback collected from the first couple of users was amazing, and very eyeopening!




  • Transcript

    • 1. USER ORIENTED DESIGN “If you don’t go, you don’t know” - Eric Rasmussen Nicolás di Tada Martín Verzilli Ary Borenszweig nditada@instedd.org martin@manas.com.ar ary@manas.com.ar twitter: nditada
    • 2. THE PROBLEM • Design is a contextual activity • What works here doesn’t work there • You don’t know what your users know • What you think your users need is not what they need • What users think they need is not what what they need
    • 3. TOMBODU (SIERRA LEONE) TRADITIONAL REGISTRATION
    • 4. PLAY PUMP (WWW.WATERFORPEOPLE.ORG)
    • 5. WILLIAM’S WINDMILL WILLIAMKAMKWAMBA. TYPEPAD.COM
    • 6. HOW CAN WE DO IT? • Go • Listen • Watch • Play • Iterate
    • 7. TAKE 1 Group SMS communications
    • 8. • Most health workers don’t have Internet access at their workplaces... • ...neither they have computers • But most of them have cell phones
    • 9. GROUP SMS
    • 10. TAKE 2 Interacting with the system
    • 11. EXPLORING SYMBOLS #?
    • 12. Verbose syntax?
    • 13. Abbreviated syntax?
    • 14. Symbol syntax?
    • 15. LET USERS FIND OUT
    • 16. PLAYING WIZARD OF OZ • Test how users interact with your system before it actually exists • Make users believe that there’s a system already built and you want them to help you test it • Put someone behind the curtains to interact with them as if he/she was the system
    • 17. TAKE 3 Reporting structured data
    • 18. UNSTRUCTURED VS. SEMISTRUCTURED VS. STRUCTURED WAYS OF SHARING INFORMATION • Unstructured: “We are dealing with cholera Simple, easy, outbreak will call you later” flexible Simple, • Semistructured: “at Rachaburi, we are requires FEATURE seeing Cholera URGENT” EXTRACTION, some training • Structured: “H5N1, Birds:200, Lab:No, Complex for human entry, FollowUp: no” hard to learn and to get right
    • 19. SMS SYNTAX USABILITY
    • 20. syntax seentags Simplify your users’ experience Machines adapt to the users
    • 21. TAKE 4 Removing SMS !
    • 22. How do I spell it? Diahrrea, diarhea, diharrea? disease:23 place:Thurdor cases:15 Received report of 15 diarrhea cases in Thurdor Ooops... I meant dengue
    • 23. How do I spell it? Diahrrea, diarhea, diharrea? disease:23 place:Thurdor cases:15 Received report of 15 diarrhea cases in Thurdor Ooops... I meant dengue
    • 24. REPORTING WHEEL
    • 25. REPORTING WHEEL
    • 26. WHEEL DESIGN GOALS • Instructions must be in users’ native language • The wheel has to explain itself, to minimize the need for training • Have you ever tried to write instructions and make them as short as possible? Quite a challenge!
    • 27. USERS HAVE THE ANSWER • Findpotential users and conduct usability tests over the first prototype with their help • Givethem a minimal explanation about what the wheel is trying to solve, not how it works
    • 28. WIZARD OF OZ, THE SEQUEL
    • 29. COLLECT FEEDBACK • Amazing feedback just from the initial reactions • “Why can’t I report what’s in the left?” • “What do I have to do with the report I built?” • “What will happen if I call that number?”
    • 30. ITERATE!
    • 31. ITERATE!
    • 32. SUMMARY • Don’ttry to guess: you won’t get it right • Leave your preconceived ideas of what works at home, at home! • Listen, watch, ask, be humble • People like to play • Iterate...forever
    • 33. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS ? Nicolás di Tada Ary Borenszweig Martín Verzilli nditada@instedd.org ary@manas.com.ar martin@manas.com.ar twitter: nditada