High-Tech Meets End-User

High-Tech Meets End-User

Marc Steen (TNO Information & Communication Technology, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-136-0.ch019
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One challenge within the high-tech sector is to develop products that end users will actually need and will be able to use. One way of trying to match the design of high-tech products to the needs of end users, is to let researchers and designers interact with them via a human-centred design (HCD) approach. One HCD project, in which the author works, is studied. It is shown that the relation between interacting with end users and making design decision is not straightforward or “logical.” Gathering knowledge about end users is like making a grasping gesture and reduces their otherness. Making design decisions is not based on rationally applying rules. It is argued that doing HCD is a social process with ethical qualities. A role for management is suggested to organize HCD alternatively to stimulate researchers and designers to explicitly discuss such ethical qualities and to work more reflectively.
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Human-Centred Design

Many organizations, both private and public, need to or want to innovate. Not for the sake of innovation itself, but in order to create new products, services, or processes that will create added value for their customers, for the end users of their products or services or for citizens. Developing innovations that match end users’ needs or wishes is especially (but not exclusively) problematic in the high-tech industry where many innovations are driven by technology push. A risk of technology push is that researchers and designers invent some product or service that nobody needs or nobody can use. One way in which researchers and designers try to match their innovation efforts to end users’ needs and wishes is to interact with them during an innovation project. They try to learn from them, to be informed or inspired by them. This can be seen as an attempt to narrow the gap between researchers and designers in their high-tech ivory tower vs. end users “out-there.”

My current interest is in researchers and designers activities. However, it is acknowledged that their work is only one half of the innovation process: end users also play crucial roles in adoption, domestication, and appropriation processes (Oudshoorn & Pinch, 2003, p. 11-16). Users and technology are “co-constructed” (ibidem): people influence technology and technology influences people, both designers and end users shape an innovation. However, I am currently more interested in how researchers and designers think and speak about end-users “out-there” (Latour & Woolgar, 1986), rather than being interested in any “real” existence of end-users or their “real” characteristics.

There is a broad variety of methods available for researchers and designersa to involve (future, potential, or putative) end usersb in their projects, for example: participatory design (e.g., Schuler & Namioka, 1993) where people who will be using the system that is being developed are invited to cooperate during development, evaluation, and implementation of that system (such efforts are often related to workers’ emancipation); the lead-user approach (e.g., Von Hippel, 2005) where innovative users are seen as a source of innovation and are invited to help develop or improve a product (similar to participatory design, but with less emphasis on emancipation); fieldwork, inspired by ethnography or ethnomethodology, to study the social and cultural aspects of what people do, in order to design applications (often combined with participatory design, for example in the field of computer supported cooperative work) (Crabtree, 2003); contextual design (Beyer & Holzblatt, 1998), a method to observe people doing tasks in their natural context, with attention for their physical surroundings, the artefacts they use as well as their activities, communication, power and culture, and to articulate system requirements based on this; empathic design (e.g., Koskinen, Battarbee, & Mattelmäki, 2003), where researchers or developers try to get closer to end users’ lives and experiences, for example by observing their daily life or work, or role-playing some of their activities, and apply what they learn from that in the design process; codesigning (Sanders, 2000), a kind of participatory design where end users make things together with researchers and designers (the focus is on making things, and doing that jointly, rather than on saying things in interviews, or on being observed doing things); and usability engineering, a range of methods to evaluate and improve a product’s usability together with end users.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Steve Clarke
Chapter 1
Jeremy Fowler
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Information Systems Success and Failure—Two Sides of One Coin, or Different in Nature? An Exploratory Study
Chapter 2
Jeanette Eriksson, Yvonne Dittrich
This chapter reports on a case study performed in cooperation with a telecommunication provider. The telecom business changes rapidly as new... Sample PDF
Achieving Sustainable Tailorable Software Systems by Collaboration Between End-Users and Developers
Chapter 3
Marvin D. Troutt, Douglas A. Druckenmiller, William Acar
This chapter uses some special usability and ethical issues that arise from experience with what can be called captive end-user systems (CEUS).... Sample PDF
Usability, Testing, and Ethical Issues in Captive End-User Systems
Chapter 4
Jonathan P. Caulkins, Erica Layne Morrison, Timothy Weidemann
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed, but it is not clear how often spreadsheet errors lead to bad decisions. We interviewed 45... Sample PDF
Do Spreadsheet Errors Lead to Bad Decisions? Perspectives of Executives and Senior Managers
Chapter 5
Lixuan Zhang, Randall Young, Victor Prybutok
The means by which the U.S. justice system attempts to control illegal hacking are practiced under the assumption that hacking is like any other... Sample PDF
A Comparison of the Inhibitors of Hacking vs. Shoplifting
Chapter 6
Dewi Rooslani Tojib
he last decade has seen the proliferation of business-to-employee (B2E) portals as integrated, efficient, and user-friendly technology platform to... Sample PDF
Developing Success Measure for Staff Portal Implementation
Chapter 7
Peter Baloh
Improving how knowledge is leveraged in organizations for improved business performance is currently considered as a major organizational change.... Sample PDF
Contingencies in the KMS Design: A Tentative Design Model
Chapter 8
Beryl Burns
We report the findings of a field study of the enactment of ICT supported knowledge work in a Human Resources contact centre, illustrating the... Sample PDF
Users as Developers: A Field Study of Call Centre Knowledge Work
Chapter 9
Raymond R. Panko
This chapter describes two experiments that examined overconfidence in spreadsheet development. Overconfidence has been seen widely in spreadsheet... Sample PDF
Two Experiments in Reducing Overconfidence in Spreadsheet Development
Chapter 10
Steven John Simon, David Paper
Voice recognition technology-enabled devices possess extraordinary growth potential, yet some research indicates that organizations and consumers... Sample PDF
User Acceptance of Voice Recognition Technology: An Empirical Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model
Chapter 11
Peter P. Mykytyn
Colleges of business have dealt with teaching computer literacy and advanced computer application concepts for many years, often with much... Sample PDF
Educating Our Students in Computer Application Concepts: A Case for Problem-Based Learning
Chapter 12
Elaine H. Ferneley
End user development (EUD) of system applications is typically undertaken by end users for their own, or closely aligned colleagues, business needs.... Sample PDF
Covert End User Development: A Study of Success
Chapter 13
Steven Hornik, Richard D. Johnson, Yu Wu
Central to the design of successful virtual learning initiatives is the matching of technology to the needs of the training environment. The... Sample PDF
When Technology Does Not Support Learning: Conflicts Between Epistemological Beliefs and Technology Support in Virtual Learning Environments
Chapter 14
Tom Butler
The study’s objective is to arrive at a theoretical model and framework to guide research into the implementation of KMS, while also seeking to... Sample PDF
A Theoretical Model and Framework for Understanding Knowledge Management System Implementation
Chapter 15
Jun Xu, Mohammed Quaddus
This chapter develops a model of adoption and continued use of knowledge management systems (KMSs), which is primarily built on Rogers’ (1995)... Sample PDF
Exploring the Factors Influencing End Users' Acceptance of Knowledge Management Systems: Development of a Research Model of Adoption and Continued Use
Chapter 16
Wei-Na Lee
In today’s global environment, a myriad of communication mechanisms enable cultures around the world to interact with one another and form complex... Sample PDF
Classifying Web Users: A Cultural Value-Based Approach
Chapter 17
Annette Hallin, Kristina Lundevall
This chapter presents the mCity Project, a project owned by the City of Stockholm, aiming at creating user-friendly mobile services in collaboration... Sample PDF
mCity: User Focused Development of Mobile Services Within the City of Stockholm
Chapter 18
Cristina Hava Muntean, Gabriel-Miro Muntean
Lately, user quality of experience (QoE) during their interaction with a system is a significant factor in the assessment of most systems. However... Sample PDF
End-User Quality of Experience-Aware Personalized E-Learning
Chapter 19
High-Tech Meets End-User  (pages 302-320)
Marc Steen
One challenge within the high-tech sector is to develop products that end users will actually need and will be able to use. One way of trying to... Sample PDF
High-Tech Meets End-User
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