Contextual design (CD) is a user-centered design process developed by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. It incorporates ethnographic methods for gathering. Karen Holtzblatt, Hugh Beyer, A tool supporting capture and analysis of field research data using the contextual design methodology, CHI ‘ The authors developed Contextual Design, the method discussed here, through their work with teams struggling to design products and internal systems.

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Contextual Design – InContext Design

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For most projects, the main focus is nearly always on the end-users, but it is important to consider and evaluate the needs of the other contxetual of customers as well. RockwellChris This recent push toward design-led innovation is accompanied by the notion that anything that slows down or pollutes our game-changing design vision is at least extraneous, and at worst severely detrimental to our success in the market.

It reveals the formal and informal workgroups and communication patterns critical to doing the work. It shows the different strategies people use, the intents or goals that their task steps are trying to accomplish, and the problems getting in their way. Sold by Belmont street books and ships from Amazon Fulfillment. The all-too-human side of human factors can be messy, hard, and delay gratification.

Such “customer empathy” is central to the Contextual Design process and a total understanding of “work” within organizations is the mantra here. The class assignments involved mock implementations of the concepts described in the book which was fun. Contextual Design calls for building personas from the field data the team collected and consolidated to help focus on the characters the design team will vision about in the next step, to help stakeholders segment their market according to practice instead of typical demographics, to clarify branding and prioritization, and to bring the users and their needs to life for developers.


Understanding the current way of working, its structure and the complete workflow helps the design team address the problems and design the new workflow. The detailed user interface can be defined during iterations, usually one iteration ahead of development work.

Karen and Hugh present a step-by-step way to uncover, understand, and hoktzblatt those needs. The contextuql difference between supporting an Agile team and traditional waterfall development is that for an Agile project, the above steps are all that need be done.

KyngMorten Use concrete representations to maintain system coherence: In Communications of the ACM36 10 pp. Youth as media creators, The first problem fontextual design is to understand the customers: Add both to Cart Add both to List.

Contextual design

BeyerHugh R. Unfortunately many of these methods are not conducted in situ, like Contextual Design. Contextual Design begins with contextual inquirywhere software developers interview desogn and attempt to understand the way they work.

GreifIrene ed. Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty. Contextual Design provides proven techniques for collecting and using user knowledge which can be adopted by Agile teams. Storyboards work out the details of the vision, guided by the consolidated data, using pictures and text in a series of hand-drawn cells.

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No different from any other textbook type of read. When the user discovers problems, they and the designers redesign the prototype together to fit their needs.


GarfinkelHarold It is like an active inquiry into the user’s world. CarrollJohn M. This key concept of partnership also comes into play in Contextual Design’s use of paper prototypes and short iterations with users to work out detailed design.


Holtzblatt brought techniques from psychology and sociology to the field, showing how the kind of verbal protocol analysis used by Ericsson Ericsson and Simon and Piaget Piaget could be applied to data collected from users in the field.

The User Environment Design is kept at the level required for the team to keep its own thinking clear – it is not intended as a communication mechanism to the development team. Gradually over the last twenty plus years contextual design methodology has been refined to provide the rigorous, structured, yet flexible approach described in this article. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention contextual design ideas software process authors techniques user.

A vision includes the system, its delivery, and support structures to make the new work practice successful, but is told from the user’s point of view. Visioning sets the project direction and defines what kind of solution to provide.

Contextual Design | The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.

For example, there is a discussion about how contextual design practices can be integrated with agile and other methods. So field interviews are restricted to a few hours, not days or weeks, and the interaction between interviewer and user is defined hootzblatt a focused conversation.

Showing of 17 reviews. Complicating the designer’s job are two facts about work practice.

The storyboards ensure coherence of individual tasks, but the new system must have the appropriate structure to support a natural flow of work through the system no matter what task the user is doing. The translation from any kind of research on user needs to design requirements often lacks process and rigor.