Human-centred design of digital services
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
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.
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
User experience evaluation frameworks and evaluation services
Ethical assessment of services
Methods and evaluation services for end-user value creation understanding and
Scenario-based design methods that facilitate the human-centred design of
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
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