The analysis phase in human-centered design is the process of gathering and interpreting data about users, their needs, and their environment in order to inform the design of a product or service. This phase typically includes activities such as user research, stakeholder interviews, and competitive analysis. The goal of the analysis phase is to gain a deep understanding of the users and their context, in order to inform the design process and ensure that the final product or service meets the needs of the intended users.
The design team will perform analytical activities throughout the analysis phase to decide who the software will be designed for and how they will use it. There are several options for activities that might simplify this.
Important activities for the analysis phase that will help to inform the design of the software, ensuring that it meets the needs of its intended audience and is easy and intuitive to use:
Human-Centered Design Process
The following points are required to understanding and specifying the context of use:
The context of use is a combination of users, goals, tasks, resources, and environments (social, physical).
Consider the interactive system "Messages App": teenagers on a bus use their smartphones to send messages to their friends to make them laugh.
A description of users, goals, tasks, resources, and environments that emerge from observations, contextual interviews, and focus groups.
User is a person who interacts with an interactive system or uses the results produced by the system.
There are four types of user:
A primary refers to the main target audience or group of individuals who will be using a product or service. This group of users is considered the most important and their needs and preferences are prioritized throughout the design process. The primary user's characteristics, behaviors, and goals are carefully studied and taken into consideration when designing the user experience. They are the main focus of user research, testing, and feedback, and their satisfaction is considered the most crucial for the success of the product or service. Examples of primary users can be customers of an e-commerce website, users of a mobile app, or patients of a healthcare system.
Examples of primary users:
Secondary users - particularly maintenance personnel - typically interact with a different user interface than primary users. This user interface also requires an analysis of the usage context and specification of usage requirements to be usable.
A secondary user refers to individuals who may interact with a product or service in a less frequent or less critical manner compared to the primary user. They may not have the same level of expertise or familiarity with the product as the primary user, and their needs and goals may differ.
In UX design, it is important to consider the needs and goals of secondary users and ensure that the product is still usable and accessible to them, even if they are not the primary target audience.
Examples of secondary users:
An indirect user in UX design refers to individuals who may not directly interact with a product or service, but are still affected by it in some way. For example, an indirect user of a social media platform may be a parent who is concerned about the effects of excessive screen time on their child, or a business owner who is affected by the platform's advertising policies. These users may not have a direct account or login, but their needs and concerns should still be considered in the design process. This could include features such as parental controls or clear advertising policies.
Examples of indirect users:
A stakeholder is an individual or group that has an interest or investment in an interactive system, the design and outcome. They can be internal or external to the organization and may have varying levels of involvement and influence in the design process. Furthermore, they may have specific goals, needs, and expectations for the project and may provide feedback and input on design decisions. It is important for UX designers to consider and communicate with stakeholders throughout the design process to ensure that the final product meets their needs and goals.
Examples of stakeholder:
A user group refers to a specific group of people who have similar needs, characteristics, and behaviors when using the the interactive system, a product or service. This group is identified through user research and user testing, and their feedback is used to inform the design and development of a product or service. User groups are critical in UX design as they help to ensure that a product or service is tailored to the needs of its target audience, resulting in a more user-friendly and effective design.
Examples of user group:
In the analysis phase of the human-centered design process, it is important to understand the tasks of the users in order to develop a product or solution that meets their needs. Tasks refer to the activities that a user must perform to achieve a specific goal, such as placing an online order, performing a search, or finding information. To understand the tasks of the users, one can conduct observations, interviews, and surveys. This information can then be used to improve the user experience and ensure that the product or solution meets the needs of the users.
The task model is a way of structuring and organizing information about the tasks that users perform in order to achieve a specific goal. It typically includes a description of the task, the steps involved in completing the task, and the inputs and outputs of the task. The task model can be used to understand and analyze the user's workflow and to identify any pain points or areas for improvement in the user experience.
In the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), the task model is often used as a way to organize and structure the information gathered during user research. This information is then used to create personas, scenarios, and use cases, which can be used to inform the design of a user interface.
Additionally, the task model can be used to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of a system, by testing users' ability to complete the specific tasks that are defined in the model. This can be done through usability testing, where users are asked to complete a set of tasks while their actions are observed and recorded, then analyze and identify areas for improvement.
Overall, the task model is a valuable tool for understanding and improving the user experience, by providing a clear and detailed understanding of the tasks that users perform and the steps involved in completing those tasks.
"Environment" in the analysis phase of Human-Centered Design refers to the physical and social conditions under which a product or service is used. This includes factors such as the spatial environment (e.g. office, home, public space), technological environment (e.g. available devices and networks), as well as the social environment (e.g. team size, hierarchy, culture). A thorough analysis of these environmental conditions is important to understand how users interact with the product or service and to ensure it meets their needs and requirements. It also helps in creating a design that is contextually and culturally appropriate.
Resources refer to all necessary assets to utilize an interactive system. These resources may include physical tools and materials, as well as time, budget, and team capabilities. It is crucial to determining what resources are available, as well as what constraints exist, in order to design an effective and usable solution that meets the needs of the target users. This information informs the design team's decisions and helps ensure that the resources are used in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Moreover this information is important for the analysis phase as it helps to identify constraints and informs design decisions. By understanding what resources are available and what limitations exist, the design team can ensure that the design solution is feasible and practical within the given context.
Resources can be categorized into two groups:
Types of Resources
Methods to understand the context of use in human-centered design refer to techniques used to gather information about the environment, experiences, and behaviors of users in order to design products and services that meet their needs and expectations.
Methods for understanding the context of use include:
Observing users in their natural environment gather insights into their behavior and context. A individual assigned with the responsibility of observing users while they discuss a task or perform a task utilizing an interactive system.
These methods include:
Pay attention to the following activities of the observation:
The observer is an individual assigned with the responsibility of observing users while they discuss a task or perform a task utilizing an interactive system.
The Interview method is a systematic technique for gathering information from selected individuals to gain an in-depth understanding of their work activities. Through structured questioning and analysis, this method reveals commonalities and variations among users of an interactive system.
Interviews can take various forms, including:
Example of an Interview checklist
Contextual inquiry is a type of interview that takes place in the context of use, where the participant interacts with the interactive system in their typical work environment, such as at their workstation.
Master-Student Model: A behavioral approach to conducting successful interviews, where the interviewer adopts the role of a student and the interviewee is treated as the master.
Pay attention to the following activities:
Suggestive questions are interview questions that present a bias towards a specific answer or attempt to influence the direction of the response.
Consider asking a question that focuses on user preference rather than a specific attribute, such as color. This allows for more open-ended responses and provides a better understanding of user needs and preferences.
Example of suggestive question:
Neutral (and open-ended) interview questions are those that don't make assumptions or attempt to steer the answer in a specific direction. These questions are open-ended and allow for a wide range of answers.
Using neutral interview questions in UX design is important because it allows the designer to gather valuable information from the user without introducing any biases or preconceived notions. Neutral questions encourage the user to provide honest and in-depth responses, which can provide valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and expectations. This information is essential for designing a user-centered solution that meets the user's needs and provides a positive user experience. Additionally, neutral questions also help to establish trust and rapport with the user, which can lead to more meaningful and productive conversations.
Examples of neutral interview questions include:
Open questions allow for a wide range of answers and encourage in-depth responses from users. They are preferable in interviews as they allow designers to gather valuable information about user needs, preferences, and expectations without introducing biases or preconceived notions.
The difference between open questions and neutral questions is that open questions allow for a wider range of answers and encourage in-depth responses, while neutral questions do not make any assumptions or attempt to steer the answer in a specific direction. Neutral questions are important for establishing trust and rapport with the user and avoiding any biases in the information gathered, but open questions are essential for gaining a deeper understanding of the user's needs and preferences.
Examples of open interview questions include:
Closed questions limit the range of possible answers and do not encourage in-depth responses from users. They are typically answered with a simple "yes" or "no," or a specific piece of information.
It's important to avoid asking several closed questions in a row in UX design because this can lead to limited information gathering and a lack of understanding about the user's needs, preferences, and expectations. Furthermore, asking closed questions repeatedly can create a feeling of discomfort or pressure for the user, leading to unauthentic or abbreviated responses.
While closed questions have a place in UX design, it is important to balance them with open questions to gain a deeper understanding of the user's experience and needs.
Examples of open interview questions include:
An interview checklist is a list of questions and tasks that are used to guide an interview with a user. The checklist helps ensure that all important topics are covered and that the information gathered is organized and consistent.
Some reasons why an interview checklist is important:
This is a basic interview checklist that can be adapted and modified based on the specific requirements of the UX design project.
A focus group is a research method of the design process to gather qualitative data from a specific target audience. The purpose of a focus group is to understand the perspectives, attitudes, and opinions of the participants regarding a specific product, service, or issue. Participants are usually brought together in a moderated group setting and asked questions and participate in discussions to gather insights and feedback. The results of focus groups can provide valuable information to inform the design process and guide decision-making.
It's important to keep in mind that the focus group session should be moderated in a neutral and impartial manner to ensure the results are valid and representative of the target audience.
The "As-Is Scenario" is a critical aspect of the Analysis Phase in human-centered design. It is a comprehensive description of the current state of affairs in a given context and is aimed at uncovering the user's needs, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. The goal of the "As-Is Scenario" is to provide a clear and in-depth understanding of the context in which the problem or opportunity exists, and to identify areas for potential improvement.
The "As-Is Scenario" typically includes the following key elements:
By conducting a comprehensive "As Is Scenario" analysis, designers and researchers can gain a deep understanding of the context in which the problem or opportunity exists and use this information to inform the design process and create solutions that truly meet the needs of the user.
Sarah is a 27-year-old working mother who is responsible for grocery shopping for her family. She aims to purchase groceries efficiently while balancing work and household responsibilities, but the task can be time-consuming and overwhelming. She currently uses a supermarket and an online grocery platform to purchase groceries. However, she experiences frustration with long lines at checkout and high delivery fees, and finds it difficult o find all the desired products in store. Despite the convenience of online ordering, she also experiences inefficiency with having to go to the store to pick up online orders. Sarah's current grocery shopping experience is not ideal, but she is looking for a more convenient and cost-effective solution.
Personas are fictional representations of user segments, created through research and analysis, to help designers understand the target audience's motivations, needs, behaviors, and pain points for designing better products and services. A persona description includes basic information such as name, age, background, goals, and desires, as well as essential knowledge and interests within the field of the interactive system. A photo may or may not be included in the description.
Creating personas allows designers to design with empathy, as they are able to see the problem from the user's perspective and make design decisions that are grounded in user needs.
Visualizing personas helps to bring them to life and make them easier to understand and remember. There are many ways to visualize personas, and the most appropriate way will depend on the specific context and goals of the persona project. Some of the most common ways to visualize personas are: infographic, illustration or photograph, storyboard or scenario, mood board, personas in use (e.g. sketches, wireframes, prototypes), character sketches or comic strips, detailed profiles, video or animation. The key is to choose a visualization that effectively communicates the information and insights about the persona, while being practical and easy to understand.
The most important contents of a "Persona" are:
It's important to note that the persona creation process is an iterative one and may require adjustments based on additional research or feedback. The goal is to create personas that accurately represent your target users and help you design products and services that are meaningful to them.
A User Journey Map is a visual representation (graphical or tabular) that captures all of a user's interactions and experiences with an interactive system. It highlights all touchpoints that impact the user experience, making it easily understandable and tangible.
Some examples of touchpoints include:
A simple example of a tabular user journey map for the task "Take a trip with a rental car". The "Emotion" column provides an indication of how the user may feel at each touchpoint, which can be useful in understanding their experience.