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Human-centred design of digital services

Competence

Human-centred design of digital services takes user needs and expectations as the starting point of service development process, and evaluates design solutions with potential users throughout the design process. The human-centred design approach at VTT is based on the ISO standard (ISO 13407:1999, Human-Centred Design Processes for Interactive Systems). We have strong experience in applying a human-centred design approach to designing service concepts, service components and the actual services, especially mobile, media and ambient intelligence services. In user evaluations, the focus is on the user experience and user acceptance. The “Design for All” principle ensures the equal benefit of new technologies for different user groups. As information technology is increasingly embedded in our everyday life, ensuring ethically acceptable solutions and user trust are central research themes. Human-centred design at VTT includes close cooperation with technology, marketing and business research and targets for digital services that facilitate meaningful practices for users and successful business for companies.


Challenges

The earlier we get user feedback, the easier it is to take it into account in service design. Scenario-based design facilitates early user studies of future service concepts. Information technology is increasingly embedded in our environment, constituting new digital ecosystems. New services need to be studied as parts of the ecosystem that include several services, enabling technical infrastructure, multiple users and other stakeholders. The user role is changing from a research object into an active co-designer. The final design takes place in practise where users shape the services by producing content and creating usage cultures. A user-driven open innovation approach to design supports the user role as designer and innovator.

Solutions

We apply and develop appropriate and efficient human-centred design concepts, methods, and processes. Our expertise can be utilised in different service development phases, from generating first service ideas to field trials with finalised services:

  • Benchmarking studies to compare products from different manufacturers or to compare different product generations
  • User acceptance measurement framework to study service prototypes in field trials
  • User experience evaluation frameworks and evaluation services
  • Ethical assessment of services
  • Methods and evaluation services for end-user value creation understanding and modelling
  • Scenario-based design methods that facilitate the human-centred design of technical enablers
  • Open Web Lab as an innovation arena where users are invited to co-design how to utilise technical enablers in meaningful services
  • Methods and services for user-driven service concept creation
  • Platforms and technical solutions for user-generated service interfaces

Benefits

By understanding human factors and user experiences in everyday and working environments, human-centred design has great relevance to the economical success of products and services. The aim of human-centred design is to enhance the implementation of information technologies in solutions that are more functional, usable and meaningful for people.

References and merits

Human-centred design of digital services is part of Human-Technology Interaction research at VTT

  • The SmartTouch project has explored the use of touch-based user interaction to demonstrate new and innovative mobile services and to study user experiences of the new services in the areas of city life, home and wellbeing.
  • In the MINAmI project we have been studying user interaction with memory tags. We have implemented proof-of-concept prototypes and evaluated them with users. User feedback has guided the development of memory tag and tag reader technology, targeting a natural and pleasant user experience. See the proof of concepts on video [link]
  • The MoMUPE project (2006-2007) aimed to design and develop new mobile multi-user applications with an enjoyable user experience in mobile phones. The project applied an open innovation approach to research and set up in Finland a wide network of application developers and experts who drove the wide-scale adoption of context-awareness. New technologies for the applications were developed, and all the results were made available under the Nokia Open Source License (NOKOS). NOKOS allows new companies to emerge on top of software developed under a NOKOS license. VTT was responsible for the User Experience Design of MUPE applications and services.
  • Idea Movement of Aging Citizens. Between autumn 2006 and spring 2007, VTT carried out an innovation campaign called the Idea Movement of Aging Citizens, where mobile service ideas were collected from aging citizens for open use. Ideas for mobile services were collected at 13 innovation workshops. About 750 aging citizens participated in these workshops and produced around 4300 ideas. These original ideas were then published for open and free use to anyone in business, research, government, education or other areas in February 2007. The basis for the campaign was user-driven design; based on the fact that aging persons are the best experts of their own needs and should thus have their say in the development of new mobile services. The Idea Movement of Aging Citizens campaign was carried out together with The Finnish Pensioner's Federation, the Centre for Innovations for Independent Living (ISAK) of the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences, and the Creative Tampere program of the City of Tampere. Idea movement


Additional information

Eija Kaasinen
Research Coordinator
+358 20 722 3323

Veikko Ikonen
Research Team Leader, Human driven-design
+358 20 722 3351

Minna Isomursu
Research Team Leader, Service technologies
+358 20 722 2081

Additional information

Eija Kaasinen
Research Coordinator
+358 20 722 3323

Veikko Ikonen
Research Team Leader, Human driven-design
+358 20 722 3351

Minna Isomursu
Research Team Leader, Service technologies
+358 20 722 2081

See also