I+D

Interaction Design

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Soft Factors in Interaction Design

Interaction design (sometimes described as ergonomics, human factors, HCI etc.) addresses both the hard factors of interaction and the soft factors.

The soft factors include the psychological and conceptual issues in design, and so are concerned with perception, cognition, memory, reasoning and emotion. Key design topics include human-computer interaction, cognition, decision making, mental workload, skilled performance, stress, training, attitudes, and motivation.

Some examples of our services are described below.

Usability Requirements (User Requirements)

Investigating, analysing and defining the user's context (aims, tasks, skills, environment) to support design of usable systems. Tools and methods for user profile and context analysis are used to identify and elaborate targets for usability, effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Results are translated into design guidance to assist product and/or service design.

Expert reviews

Human factors experts review design work at an early stage to identify issues under themes such as user understanding, navigation, etc., and propose design solutions to maximize usability and reduce user problems. Expert reviews are guided by checklists based on industry standards and good practice, but can also target specific concerns already identified by clients.

Interface Pilots

Our team work with your designers, or alone, to develop suitable interface designs for products and/or services which are then prototyped or mocked-up (e.g. storyboards) for review or for user testing.

Usability testing

Testing with real users is essential to ensure usable systems. Prototypes, mock-ups, and early designs are tested under controlled conditions to identify usability problems and to develop ways of improving the user experience.

Web Access

It is increasingly important to ensure accessibility for all users. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) places responsibility on service providers to ensure that people with disability are not disadvantaged by designs that fail to account for their needs. We can assess websites and software to identify accessibility problems, and provide practical proposals for improvement.

Human-Centred Design

We work with your designers to provide support at key stages in the design process to ensure good human-centred design. Essential steps in human-centred design are added by our team, and operated by them or in concert with your designers (the latter process ensures transfer of skills in this area).

Typical projects:

  • Support for design of e-Government services, including review of good practice, design guidelines for specific cases, organisation of user testing, reporting of outcomes including problem remediation.
  • Support for design of new generation management information system (MIS). Creation of user interface approach. Definition of pilot tests as part of a planned roadshow. Training of developer staff in test procedures. Support for analysis of outcomes and problem remediation.
  • Analysis of user needs and existing usage problems in parts-management process, followed by design of revised user interface, prototyping, user testing, and launch support.
  • Design and implementation of web-based tools for mapping social-support parameters in a large city.
  • Analysis of usage problems related to new software graphical user interface (GUI). Identification of drivers / causes. Specification of design guidelines for remediation.
  • Design and conduct of a user study to identify usage problems in a subscription-based information service for legal professionals. Analysis of problems causes and development of interface re-design guidance. Testing of solution.
  • Conceptual design for integration of legal database and geographical information system. Project management, testing and reporting of outcomes.
  • Design and implementation of knowledge resources for business advisors addressing new technology topics such as e-Work and e-Business. Authoring and management of translation process for other European languages.
  • Design and implementation of an online community-support database with remote management facilities for shared management of open access data system.
  • Development and implementation of a learning-systems design method for higher-education and industry usage based around use of new-media components in learning.
  • Analysis of accessibility of web services launched by public authority. Identification of problems and specification of design solutions. Testing of outcomes.
  • Analysis of barriers caused by different classes of disability, then design and pilot of support systems utilising new telecoms opportunities (videophones, remote working, etc.). Implementation in localised support initiatives in 6 sites.

I+D

Interaction Design