Consumers are growing accustomed to well designed user experiences. They
impact users at all levels and experiences. To achieve a well-designed experience is to
understand users and interaction design projects. They are complex and rely on
multidisciplinary professionals perspectives to define the process and their resulting
product. Interdisciplinary collaboration creates an environment that incorporates broader
perspectives and experiences resulting in more user-centered design. Interaction design
teams include but are not limited to interface designers, analysts, and developers. My
research of interaction design teams is principally concerned with the group dynamics of
those multidisciplinary collaborations.
In practice, however, the functions of gathering requirements, design and
development are most often conducted as disparate, sequential activities rather than as a
connected and cooperative effort. Requirements are incorporated into the project by
designers, developers, and often project managers. Designers may hear about the client’s
objectives via the project manager. As a result, interpretation, style and experience can
influence the information collected from the client. In these situations, communication across disciplines can be problematic. Developers may have difficulty understanding how
designers are interpreting the findings of their research. At the same time, designers
generally have difficulty articulating what part those findings play in the creative process.
Further, designers do not always design with thought to whether or not what they have
created can be developed.
The research conducted here evaluated interface design practice working within a
design process that leads to productive collaboration between designers and developers. The inquiry was an empirical study involving the observation and analysis of the activities
of a small team working on an actual design problem in practice.
Function-Behavior Structure ontology, a protocol analysis scheme, was used to
research two similar projects that used three face-to-face meetings to examine design
sessions at different phases in the process. In this way, designers described their process
and how they incorporated information about the project. The collaborative process was
observed across developer and interface designer roles, to determine what part the process
plays in the social construction of the design problem and in the design teams’ formulation
of creative solutions to the problem. The findings from the two design projects indicate that the design teams’ process is
similar if not the same across project work. Also, their adherence to a process appear to be
the same even though the final design products were unique and the solution to the
problem ended up being different. The importance of clear requirements and purpose for
the project to be understood at the beginning was proven in the difference in time spent on
understanding the problem and arriving at the solution.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2012. Major: Music. Advisor: Dr. Barbara Martinson. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 200 pages, appendices A-F.
Houle, Elizabeth J..
Describing the interface design team's collaborative design process using protocol analysis..
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