User Experience Magazine: Volume 11, Issue 2, 2012
Volume 11, Issue 2, 2012
View this issue online.
Featured Articles: The World is Mobile
When UX asked Jeff Gothelf to share his experience about leadership in integrating UX design into Agile software development, he provided a case history of lessons learned in the integration of UX-design techniques into Agile software development cycles, and the subsequent evolution of his role as a process manager and team leader.
Have you ever wondered how blind people identify U.S. bills without help? Most people never give it a thought. The blind can definitely learn to recognize coins by sound and touch; but U.S. bills are an entirely different matter.
For about twenty years, many in the blind community have attempted to convince the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) to make bills independently identifiable by blind and visually-impaired people. Some possible methods include different sizes, tactile markings, and different colors. You may have noticed this in other countries and wondered why all U.S. paper currency looks the same.
In 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department was among those who took an exciting step to address this issue, at least for iPhone users. iPhone users can now use three different applications (apps) to identify bills. Accessing these easy and inexpensive money identification apps using mobile devices is certainly a step in the right direction.
Successfully identifying my change gives me independence and it is liberating not to have to rely on others when handling cash.
As many UX professionals know, unexpected issues seen in the context of actual deployment can trump an initial rosy impression about the usability of a system. These surprises can be especially dramatic when working in the area of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Socio-Economic Development). We describe a case study of the deployment of a prototype low-cost digital slate for assisting the tracking of child malnutrition in rural India. Our prototype uses an ink pen and normal paper coupled with an interactive touch screen that allows for a fairly seamless transition from older, paper-based systems to the recording of digital information. This was designed for people who have little or no experience working with digital systems beyond simple cellular phones or calculators.
In the initial training and evaluation of the system with 10 low-income, low-literate, rural health workers in central India, it looked like an unqualified success. However, in a three-month follow-up field trial with the same users, we encountered a number of unexpected challenges that overwhelmed our initial optimism. This experience demonstrates that we must pay a great deal of attention to issues well beyond simple usability to broader socio-technical concerns that arise in situating these systems into real-world settings.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has engaged family caregivers of seriously injured veterans in defining requirements for applications that will be part of a pilot project called Clinic-in-Hand. Caregivers were recruited for participatory design sessions in which they identified capabilities such as electronic journaling and access to the veteran’s electronic health records, designed to help them to take better care of their loved ones. A different group of caregivers was recruited to conduct usability assessments of the same designs, and final models were provided as a set of visual requirements to a development team.
This collaborative effort was productive for everyone involved. The caregivers, not VA, determined the capabilities that were most important to them and designed the user interfaces. Because of caregivers’ direct involvement in both design and usability testing, VA has a higher degree of certainty that the applications will meet their needs.
Responding to natural and man-made disasters, humanitarian aid agencies provide needed resources: food, clothing, blankets, and shelter. But when markets are still functioning, cash may be the best aid, giving people dignity and flexibility in meeting their needs. Enter mobile money. Instead of the complex problem of moving currency, aid agencies using mobile money systems have found that mobile money systems offer a promising way to deliver aid with speed, precision and flexibility even in challenging environments.
This article summarizes the experiences of agencies in Kenya, Niger, Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire and Philippines, and reviews the benefits and challenges of using mobile money systems in humanitarian response. An intriguing benefit is the use of the crisis to introduce people to financial systems, which, if people continue to use, will result in the benefits of aid going well beyond the immediate crisis.
Traditional data collection techniques such as pen-and-paper solutions can be time-consuming and present several drawbacks related to data accuracy, especially when used in field research. One way to improve this process is through use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones and computers. ICTs allow users to digitally access, create, store, transmit and manipulate information on the go, saving time and minimizing errors.
The Nokia Data Gathering application is a comprehensive data collection solution that allows organizations to replace paper-based processes with mobile-based solutions. This article discusses the application and its workflow, design challenges, and concludes with a section entitled, "Is Nokia Data Gathering Right for Me?"
Persuasion should be a consideration in every design. While making a product usable is certainly essential to its success, if someone isn’t motivated to use it, it will ultimately be a failure. This article summarizes why persuasion is a powerful design tool, provides an example of how persuasion has been successfully applied in a real-world application, and explores five tips for integrating persuasive design.
Behind the Scenes
By Joe Bugenthal
The World is Mobile
By Mindy Maxwell
Where to Begin Work in Mobile UX: Digesting the Expert Advice
By Lucas Espinosa Menendez
Mobile Money for Financial Inclusion in India
By Neel Chowdhury
Reviewed by Chelsey Glasson