User-centered design for different project types

IBM developerWorks article, part 1


User-centered design (UCD) is a widely accepted methodology for designing usable applications, for producing software that truly meets the needs of its users. A number of companies have formalized UCD as a key component of their software development process. However, almost all descriptions of UCD methodology focus on development projects that involve designing new applications.

Our experience has been that new application development represents a relatively small percentage of the application design work that occurs. Most design work involves the evolution of an existing application, rewriting the user interface (UI) for an existing application (so that, for example, it may be delivered on another platform such as the Web), or selecting a vendor application (that may be customized for use by the intended user audience.) Yet we are unaware of any concise, practical guide to when and how to apply UCD methodology in these various circumstances.