Ji-Ye Mao, Karel Vredenburg, Paul W. Smith, and Tom Carey. 2005. The state of user-centered design practice. Commun. ACM 48, 3 (March 2005)

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The article presents the results of a survey focusing on organizational impact and practice of UCD. The survey was sent to CHI conference attendees and UPA members (over 3 000 people). The authors got 103 completed questionnaires (response rate < 3.4%).

The main findings were:

  • UCD expenture often exceeds 10% of the overall project budget
  • UCD is generally considered to have improved product usefulness and usability
  • UCD is expected to achieve wider use and bigger impact during next five years
  • There is a lack of commonly used measures of UCD effectiveness
  • Tracking customer satisfaction, focusing on total user experience, and end-to-end user involvement are missing in practice
  • Field studies are regarded important but used infrequently, whereas expert evaluation methods are used frequently but regarded less important and useful

In addition the authors found centralized UCD organization to predict the organizational impact of UCD work.

The findings are interesting, although the survey has some weaknesses. For example, the authors do not give good demographics of the respondents. In both CHI conference and UPA organization there are a lot of academics. The aim of the survey was to study the practice in industry and authors should have made clearthat all the respondents are working in industry. Another weakness is the focus on UCD people. People can overestimate the importance of their own work and activities and thus there can be a bias towards too positive view of the state-of-the-practice and especially the impact and achievements of UCD.

From academic perspective the article is also missing the used questions. If repeatability is one criteria of good academic report, the article should include (or have a link to) questions used in the survey.

Ji-Ye Mao, Karel Vredenburg, Paul W. Smith, and Tom Carey. 2005. The state of user-centered design practice. Commun. ACM 48, 3 (March 2005), 105-109. DOI=10.1145/1047671.1047677 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1047671.1047677

Posted by Petri

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One Response to Ji-Ye Mao, Karel Vredenburg, Paul W. Smith, and Tom Carey. 2005. The state of user-centered design practice. Commun. ACM 48, 3 (March 2005)

  1. Mika says:

    I also digged this one out of my pile, fortunately noticed Petri had already written an excellent summary of the paper.

    I’ll add one more thing.

    They also make a notion that most UCD people say that their “normal” project is a multidisciplinary one (86%), while only 5% ticked it when defined md to include more that three unique disciplines. Is Usability-SW-Biz the only combo available?

    And I’ll second Petri, some of the results are reported in such a vague manner that understanding all the nuances is _difficult_.

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