In summary, according to usability.gov, the User Centered Design ( UCD) process outlines the phases throughout a design and development life-cycle while focusing on gaining a deep understanding of who will be using the product. The pilot project will adopt the UCD process mapping to fulfil the fundamentals goal of User Research Institute designed to understand the User Experience in a variety of industry sectors and environments. Therefore, the development, building and implementation of the proposed pilot project will follow such process mapping whilst embracing Usability, Success, Excellence and Reliability of the platform.
Step by Step UCD Process Mapping
Plan: This step is concerned mainly about the decisions taken regarding the objective, scope, schedule, resources/budget, and deliverables of the pilot project – Interactive Mobile Web Platform. To identify the target audiences for the pilot project, the social media has been used to connect with the potential participants for the project.
Research: This step highlights the preliminary investigations conducted through social media, face to face interactions and through telephonic conversations. Entrepreneurs, small business owners and the founders of key specific organisations around Gauteng have been visited to gain further insight around their interest to take part on this project. There is quite a significant number of business owners, self-employed individuals and founders of organisations who have reached out through social media channels, WhatsApp and by telephonic conversation to acquire about the project.
Design: The key requirements for the pilot project have been well documented. This includes the list of the required features or functions, capabilities required for the development of the platform, and key characteristics of the platform (taping from the six research questions already been discussed here) and the objectives for the project. The participants have been made aware of the latest developments and agreed on the requirements towards an establishment of a successful pilot project. All roles players are committed to delivering a platform, which complies with the key fundamental goal of User Research Institute: Usability, Success, Excellence and Reliability.
Adapt: Designing an Interactive Mobile Web Platform with the end user in mind means the capability to adapt the User Centered Design principles as part of the overall business strategy for the company. The platforms need to focus on addressing the user’s perspective around preferences, beliefs, attitudes, convenience and the behavioural elements when interacting with the touchpoints designed to fulfil the overall business goal. The platform must adapt to the user’s requirements to offer a more efficient, and user satisfaction whilst improving the overall user experience.
Measure: The usability aspect of the platform is measured on how well users interact with the touchpoints to achieve their goals. The success of the platform also considers the convenience and user satisfaction throughout user journey process mapping, such that from when the users enter the platform until they leave having found what they wanted. User Researcher employs the variety of tools and techniques to collect data and measure user activity based on a set of standardised metrics. This includes gathering the feedback from users about the overall performance and reliability of the platform. Henry, Law, and Barnicle ( 2001) provides detailed information on adapting the UCD to improve user experience practice and the entire report can be found by clicking here.
Monitor: The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the participant’s satisfaction with the platform. This includes keeping users of the platform informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable time and making information appear in a natural and logical order – also illustrated through Nielsen’s Heuristics in 1994.
The biggest risks lie in the understanding of business, user and functional requirements of the platform. Business owners do not have enough time to provide the objectives and problems they are trying to achieve and address respectively. This includes describing user expectations and the way the user interacts with the platform through customer touchpoints, which are designed to drive the business goal of the company. Although a User Researcher can put together the features, and functions required to design a good platform but the business owner should be able to produce a useful content that meets the minimum requirements of a platform. This is the crux of the requirements to establish a successful platform for the SMME community.
No matter how best the features or functions of the platform are, but the key to a successful design lies on the quality of the content being implemented in the platform. A useful content creation drives quality of experience as perceived by the user of the platform. This is the only way a business owner can measure the success of the platform being deployed to help the company achieve its goal. Depending on the type of business, the content might comes in the form of texts, images, videos, sounds, documents, and applications. This is what goes to the content management system (CMS) and stored in a database via a hosting service provider.
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