Guest post from Rob Rose, Chief Designer, BI, and Director, User Experience, IBM Business Analytics
I often get asked what I mean when I talk about moving to user-centered design for developing new business analytics products and new features for existing products. People wonder about how this approach differs, and how it engages IBM clients in the process.
The first element involves moving to scenario-driven design. This involves understanding and validating the business scenarios that our clients are trying to enable as well as the user scenarios that software must support in order to provide successful implementations.
Instead of strictly taking a feature-based approach to requirements, our opportunity is to fully understand the scenarios that lead to user success. This helps us create a pathway for successful design and ability to ensure that we've done our job by successfully stringing together an entire sequence of user tasks to drive to an ultimate goal.
Scenarios can be small and focused, such as importing data, or they can be extremely large, such as the full lifecycle of an information-to-insight-to-action process. By modelling these entire scenarios we can ensure the smooth transition from feature to feature, from task to task, and in some cases, from user to user.
When we align the prioritization of our features into scenarios it enables us to align many of our development teams across our roadmaps so that meaningful functionality can be delivered in a coordinated fashion, and to ensure technology and design innovation work together to deliver the most value.
Iterative Design and Validation with Client Partners
As you might guess, this approach involves constant contact with key sponsor clients to ensure that the scenarios, concepts and designs get validated and address the requirement.
This year, one of our major initiatives is to recruit a large number of clients and key users to be our design partners. This will allow us to do rapidly interactive validations of our designs at an early stage in our projects when it's less expensive to iterate, and when we can quickly hone concepts to meet the scenario requirements.
Integrating client scenarios into our design and having real-world users available to validate those designs means that we can deliver a high-impact outcome upon release.
Get Involved with Design
We’re actively looking for design partners who can get to work with us on user scenarios, concepts and designs. You and your users will get an opportunity to work with our teams to influence the design of our software. We’re looking for clients who are great examples of the market at large and who are keenly interested in breakthrough designs for the areas of interactive analytics and data discovery.
To get involved, please fill out this survey.
Thank you for your help and participation!