Nolwenn Maudet

User-Centered Design

User-Interface Class
University of Tokyo

June 20th, 2019

Who am I?

▪ Interaction Designer
▪ PhD in Human Computer Interaction at Inria
▪ Post-doc
at Tokyo University


Who are we
designing for?

People and Technologies
are entangled.

Tools & "body schema"

Holding a stick
our body schema

Maravita & Iriki, 2004

"Claude Monet peignant sur son bateau" by Edouart Manet, 1874

The Paint Tube Revolution

“without colors in tubes, there would have been no Cézanne, no Monet, no Sisley or Pissarro” - Jean Renoir

Article on the paint tube revolution, 2014

Designing from
a technology perspective
"Silence, We Are Dreaming", Mœbius, 1991

Designing from
a user perspective
"Tokyo Compression", Michael Wolf, 2010

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses

- (maybe) Henry Ford

When involving users
in the design?

① Gathering insights from > ② designing with > ③ testing with

­­­­­­­­­— 1 —

Gathering insights
from people

Why studying people?

Understanding both unknown and known contexts.
We know more than what we can say.

The tacit dimension, Michael Polanyi, 1958


Identifying problems.
Identifying existing strategies.

for gathering insights


Pros: getting a broad vision
Cons: lack of specifics

Question and Questionnaire Design, Krosnick & Presser, 2010

Pros: capturing details
that people are not aware of
Cons: time-consuming, limited access
to inner experience

Shadowing, method Description by Recknagel & Keene

Pros: understanding causal relationships
Cons: far from daily life experiences

Experimental Design and Analysis, Seltman, 2015

Eleanor Gibson, Visual Cliff Experiment, 1960

Diary Study

Pros: Revealing evolution over time
Cons: time-consuming for you and the participants

Diary Studies: Understanding Long-Term User Behavior and Experiences, Kim Flaherty, 2016

Pros: capturing detailed stories
Cons: relies on memory and people's perception

Interviewing Overview

Focus on Interview

Contextual Inquiry

Interviewing people in context, using artifacts and documents as probes.

Contextual Inquiry, a participatory technique for system design, Holtzblatt & Jones, 1993
Critical Incident Interview

People remember better strongly emotional moments, positive and negative.

Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Psychological bulletin, 51(4), 327.

Exercise !

Let's interview each other on photo editing practices

In pairs, 5 min each


"uncovering surprising uses of photo editing habits"

Do people anotate photos?
Why do people edit photos? (use cases)
How do they do it? (software, specfic tools...)

Key rules

-we want stories
-empathy is key
-facts over opinions
-only open questions
-respect privacy

always probe for specific details

you can always abstract from details but you can not create details from abstractions

Key Questions

When was the last time that ?
Can you give me an example?

Red Flags

Generally, I do this

Interviewing as fishing

if something caught on, probe deeper

Good interview sign

The interviewee feels that they have learned something about themselves.

Be a proactive Interviewee

You can talk about other people's experiences
You can talk about a related story

Your Turn!

Turning Interviews
into design ressources

­­­­­­­­­— 2 —

with people

Why designing with people?

The limits of empathy

Not including people can
end up excluding them

Color film based on white skin was excluding black skins
A Good Example

Genesys (1970), by Ron Baecker. First animation creation tool, created and tested with animators

Methods for involving people

Extreme Persona

Example: a professional athlete and someone with back pain for a running app

Participatory Design

Goal: Including people in the design process. Viewing users as experts

History of Participatory Design in Scandinavia
Wizard of Oz

Exploring potential technologies by acting them out, Nigel Cross

John Maeda - Human Powered Computer Experiment (1993)

Socio-technical Principles


People adapt to technology
and adapt it to their own needs.
(Wendy Mackay)

Repurposing Emoji for Personalised Communication: Why  means “I love you”
Situated Action

We construct our plan as we go along the situation, reacting to it.
(Lucy Suchman)

Plans and Situated Action, 1985, Lucy Suchman
Distributed Cognition

We off-load and extend our cognition
into artifacts.
(Edwin Hutchins)

Hutchins, Edwin (1995). Cognition in the Wild

Exercise !

Let's use these principles

In pairs, 5 min


How many examples of these principles can you find?

Try to find at least 2 per principle

Design Principles

Design as a metaphor

One of the most used design strategy. Limitation: restricting the design possibilities


Reification is
the process by which
concepts are turned
into objects.


Polymorphism is the property
that enables a single command
to be applicable to objects
of different types.

Exercise !

Let's use these principles

In pairs, 5 min


Google Map
Photo Editing

Can you think of something to reify and reuse?"

­­­­­­­­­— 3 —

with people

Usability Studies

Goal: making sure people can use it. Limitation: Doesn't answer broader research questions.

Overview of quantitative evaluation methods, Norman Group
Lab Experiments

Goal: understanding human phenomena or understanding interaction variations
Limitation: very limited ecological validity

Experimental Design and Analysis, Seltman, 2015
Structured Observation

Goal: Comparing how people
are using tools.
Limitations=: Still not fully ecologically valid

Structured Observation with Polyphony: a Multifaceted Tool for Studying Music Composition
— 4 —

Personal Use Case


Understanding People




Special thanks to Wendy Mackay and Michel Beaudouin-Lafon
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