T-UCD: An extensible tool for User-Centered Design beginners and practitioners

Denis Lalanne
Valentina Coletti
Project status: 

In the industry, User-Centered Design (UCD) has gained increasing acceptance thanks to the community awareness of its relevant benefits that improve the final prod- uct quality in terms of usability propriety. That leads to an increase of UCD beginners and currently it has not be found a tool that pedagogically accompanies them during the entire UCD process and its methods. This research has tried to overcome this lack by implementing an extensible web application, called “Tool for User-Centered De- sign“ (T-UCD) which provides a tutorial and a storage manager, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication (FOITT).

T-UCD has been developed with the User-Centered Design approach by performing user research, prototyping and evaluation and the UCD methods have been modeled with XML technology. By doing that, it has been created a Markup Language for UCD methods that defines and structures them with a sort of language with its vocab- ulary and grammar. The implementation was made by combining AngularJS and XML which were considered the most appropriate technologies to develop T-UCD because the first is considered a state of the art technology to develop, ease the maintenance and future expansions. The second because it is a technology that is based on models and is extensible.

This tool is intended to give beginners a better and practical understanding of UCD, convince beginners about the usefulness of it and see if there is an interest in actually using T-UCD. In order to assess if the objective were achieved, it has been performed an evaluation with five users who had to perform some tasks and answer some ques- tions. Results showed that T-UCD overcome the existing lack concerning the absence of a unique tool for UCD beginners containing the entire UCD process, methods and a tutorial. Indeed, it actually gave to UCD beginners a better understanding of UCD, convinced beginners about the usefulness of it and some of them would use it person- ally.

Finally, the challenges for future work would be to add the possibility to organize the UCD project (members, deadlines, dates, tasks and so on), provides connections with existing tools for UCD methods (ex. Balsamiq) and extend it with more UCD methods by modeling them thanks to the advantageous proprieties of XML technology (cur- rently, T-UCD supports ten methods).