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Explain the possible consequences of failing to involve the end-user in the design process.


Teaching Note:

S/E The failure to involve the end-user may lead to software that is not suitable for its intended use, which may have adverse effects on user productivity.

AIM 5 The need for effective collaboration and communication between the client, developer and end-user.


Sample Question - FORMER CURRICULUM:

Explain the importance of formulating a problem precisely before coding the solution. [3 marks]

JSR Notes:

You quite obviously NEED to involve the end-user. And the involvement should be even more than is done in your IA process. In the design and development of computer products in today's age of technology, there is unquestionably an increasing need for effective collaboration and communication between the client, developer and end-user. There will be whole departments and teams whose main job it is to liaise with the intended user(s).

"The Customer is Always Right"

The possible consequences of failing to involve the end-user in the design process all stem from the fact that the developers are not getting feedback about what they are doing.

Developer bias

Often there will end up being a bias to the way that they themselves (as IT professionals) would want to use the product - keeping in mind that each target group is very particular, be it, for example, radiologists, or dancers, or elderly, or students.

The user know best

And the other thing is that these groups understand their own needs and situations obviously much better than the software developer. Software/system developers cannot directly appreciate and meet all of the needs of every end-user in an organization because of their limited domain knowledge.

Consequences for the End-user

Consequence for the Company

Positive & Negative Examples

Negative Example: A while back, with Windows version 8, a majority of end-users were upset that there was no longer a Start menu. So Windows 8.1 had it back, but this was only after a great deal of negative effect, both in terms of sales and reputation. Obviously if Microsoft had "done their homework" and included the end-user more properly, missing such a simple thing would not have happened.

Positive Example: New game developers, such as PlanetSide, which have live feedback sessions on-line. In fact, in this wired, social networking age, there's no excuse for not receiving good, timely, and adequate feedback on your product.


IA Solution Connection and Considerations

With your IA you cannot underestimate the potential problems that lay in front of you if you do not properly involve your client. What often is the case with IAs gone awry is that the student thought they knew how a certain office or organization worked - after all, it's at the school, or at their Mom's office - but in the end, there were key things that they actually did not quite understand. And by the time they finally did understand, there was already a bunch of code -  a   b u n c h   of code; code which then had to be ripped up and started over. Not a nice scenario.

This lesson is probably learned for life if it's learned this way. So if it happens to you, that can be your solace. But with the time limits we have, and with the busyness of your Senior year, it's better to just do the proper ground work this time around, and save learning that lesson the hard way for some other time. Communicate with your client. Communicate with your client. Communicate with your client. When there is a particular interview to be done, to cover certain things and do certain things, don't put it off or fudge it; do it well - you'll be happy you did when you don't need to re-tool your whole IA.


Jose: "How ***can*** you as a lowly programmer design something to be used by a large complex organization without lots of input from them.