user centered design -> overlapping circles -> boundary selection

4 Oct 2006 - 12:44pm
512 reads


Do you think maybe you have one system that contains two different
interfaces to serve the roles you've described?

It sounds to me that building one interface to serve all the user groups,
might make it harder for everyone to use it, and maintenance issues will
arise in the future.

Do you have the time and budget to do some user research so you can model
your users (maybe in forms of personas)? An exercise like that may help you
answer the question above and also helps you design a modular product that
is easier to maintain.

Good luck! Sounds like a fun and challenging project.


-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at
[mailto:discuss-bounces at] On Behalf Of Eugene
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 6:15 PM
To: discuss at
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] user centered design -> overlapping circles ->
boundary selection

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

I'm working on some product strategy at the moment.

Imagine a scenario like this:
- Book publishers need a system that lets them communicate with the
Warehouse and Authors.
- The Warehouse needs a system that lets them communicate with Publishers,
but they also have need a system to communicate with Stores and manage
Inventory, etc.

If you build the system for the Publishers, then the Warehouse now has to
use two systems, which inevitably are going to have a lot of overlapping

To put it abstractly,
- User A sits at the center of a circle of concerns that includes User B
- User B sits at the center of a different circle, but theirs also includes
User A

The product starts out being designed for User A, but it doesn't seem fair
in a way to ask or require User B to use this system that then is not a
complete picture for them.
Adding the features for B for the system intended for A seems like a
slippery slope.

The question is: on what principles to base the products boundaries?
Strategically this leads to a question of which systems to compete with
(subsume) vs. interface. And if to interace, then whether communication
should be one-way or two-way?



Eugene Chen | User Experience Research, Design, and Strategy mobile 415
336 1783 | fax 240 282 7452 web | aim
peastulip | skype eugene-chen

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