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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3504

Title: Understanding context, informing design: how exemplars and wireframes can help
Authors: MacDonald, Craig M.
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2009
Series/Report no.: IST Research Day 2009 posters
Abstract: When designing interactive systems, context is key. From a broad perspective, context helps define the boundaries of a system by helping designers know about its users: who they are, what they know, and what tasks they want or need to complete. Current user-centered design methodologies emphasize this aspect of capturing and representing context in various ways: performing ethnographic field studies to observe current behavior (contextual design), involving users as designers (participatory design), or focusing on higher-level tasks that users need to accomplish (activity-based design). From a narrower perspective, though, understanding and representing context is not enough; rather, designers must have some way of making informed decisions based on contextual information. There are some techniques which attempt to achieve this goal, such as formalizing the process of reaching design decisions (design rationale) or providing a common language for designers to more effectively communicate about problems and solutions (pattern languages). However, while the aforementioned methods and techniques do capture bits and pieces of context and often help to slow down the design process, they often focus on explicit descriptions of context that are often overly generalized or incomplete, making them difficult to incorporate into the process of making design decisions. This poster investigates a technique that can implicitly capture how design decisions are influenced by contextual factors, and vice versa, by having designers create concrete, but flexible, artifacts using exemplars and wireframes. These artifacts can then be used not only as a tool for helping designers make more informed design decisions, but also as a means of communicating how and why certain design decisions are made.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3504
Appears in Collections:Research Day Posters (IST)

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