Planning for user-centred design

Planning and management must initiate and support the user centred activities in the project.

The following principles may help the project manager to enforce UCD during the project development.

  • Facilitate interdisciplinary work: UCD is an interdisciplinary approach. Various disciplines are involved: designers, psychologists, ergonomics specialists, technicians, economists, etc. These groups should be integrated, dependent on domain-specific needs.
  • Involve all relevant team members: A practical guideline for a project manager would be to initiate a stakeholder meeting at the beginning of the project and to repeat these meetings regularly
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis or consult already existing cost-benefit studies of projects with comparable conditions. The demonstration of evidence concerning the high cost-effectiveness of UCD will facilitate its argumentation. Furthermore, the methodology can be adapted to financial constraints.
  • Manage the design iterations: Another challenge for a UCD-oriented project manager is to manage the design iterations. The iterative nature of UCD is a precondition to ensure that the final product is really oriented to the users’ needs. In order to achieve this iterative procedure, an explicit plan containing the schedule for the design and evaluation steps should be produced. This plan should be regarded as a working document that is to some extent flexible to changes of conditions and constraints.
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