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Four new papers!

Is human-centered design harmful?

In a provocative essay, usability guru Donald Norman stirred controversy in 2005 by questioning human-centered design approaches and calling for designers to focus more on the context of human activity within which use takes place.

Activity Modeling is a breakthrough that helps interaction designers and other design professionals to practice what Norman and others have been preaching. A new paper on activity modeling presents a practical framework for applying activity theory in usage-centered and task-centered design.

Other important new articles:

"Beyond User-Centered Design and User Experience" - "Trusted Interaction" - "Users, Roles, and Personas"



September 2003  

Free Wi-Fi Internet Access. Free access to the Internet at the conference hotel is just one of the many benefits of attending forUSE 2003, the 2nd International Conference on Usage-Centered Design. You also get bound conference proceedings, conference CD-ROM, free special events, free breakfast, lunch, and breaks. Get the details and register now before discount hotel rates expire. Check the program, then register now!

Exception Handling. Error and exception handling is central to both reliability and usability. Rebecca Wirfs-Brock of Wirfs-Brock Associates presented a thorough anmatic approach at last year's forUSE Conference. Download your copy of "What It Really takes to Handle Exceptional Conditions" (.PDF file, about 1.2M).

Use Cases for Multiplatform Deployment. If you design applications and services that are deployed through different channels or on different platforms, you will want to read how a multinational team is using essential use cases to help a bank in Portugal better serve its customers in person, on the Web, on the phone, and through ATMs. Read "Essential USe Cases for Multiplatform Service Design" (.PDF file, about 200K).
Canonical Components, Second Edition. Abstract user interface prototypes make it easier for designers to work out the best solutions without becoming bogged down in details of appearance and behavior. After three years, we are releasing an update of the notation for canonical abstract components. Get the full story in "Canonical Abstract Prototypes for Abstract Visual and Interaction Design" (.PDF file, about 395K). The original paper has been also revised to reflect the current notation: "From Abstraction to Realization" (.PDF file, about 371K).

Classic Sponsors. Jim Hobart, President of Classic System Solutions, a leader in user interface design, has announced that once again his company is joining as a sponsor of  forUSE 2003.  The definitive forum for usage- and performance-centered design, forUSE 2003 features over 30 presenters from eight countries. Get all the details in the full conference program.

August 2003  

forUSE 2003 conference program is available. Register before 1 September for early-bird savings of $200.  See the conference Web site for full details.

Crash course in usage-centered design. A special one-day intensive introduction to usage-centered design is being offered 18 September in Portsmouth before the forUSE 2003 conference. Taught by the originators, Larry Constantine and Lucy Lockwood, this pre-conference tutorial is a great chance to learn the basics of usage-centered design in a concentrated format. For conference attendees the tutorial is only $300; without the conference, it's $695.  Read about it in the conference program.

March 2003  

Cost-effective design consulting! Training and design consultation just got more affordable. For a more cost-effective way to get help with your visual and interaction design problems and upgrade your design skills at the same time, learn about Collaboration-in-Context, a new service now available.

January 2003  

Web design best practices! Task cases and OO! The massive 478-page forUSE 2002 Proceedings, complete with PowerPoint presentations on CD-ROM, includes chapters on Web design, eXtreme Programming with usage-centered design, information portal design, and much more from such experts as Gloria Gery, Karen Holtzblatt, Jeff Patton, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, and others. To get the full details and download sample chapters, click here.

December 2002  

Advanced conference planning! Following on the unqualified success of the first conference, we have accepted the challenge of putting on forUSE 2003, the Second International Conference on Usage-Centered Design, 19-22 October 2003, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Mark your calendars now to set aside 19-22 October 2003 and plan now for a beautiful New England autumn. Our keynote speaker is Bill Buxton of SGI/Alias | Wavefront. Check out the conference details and submit your own proposal. Presenters get free registration and are eligible for stipends up to $1500.

October 2002  

Persona Popularity and Picking the Parts! The October  forUse Newsletter discusses user interface component selection and explores the popularity of personas.  a happy memory. You can read up about it and learn how to get copies of the Conference Proceedings and CD-ROM in the current issue of the forUse newsletter. Be sure to subscribe now so you don't miss another issue.

August 2002  

You missed it! For design and development professionals who came from around the world, the First International Conference on Usage-Centered Design is already a happy memory. You can read up about it and learn how to get copies of the Conference Proceedings and CD-ROM in the current issue of the forUse newsletter. Be sure to subscribe now so you don't miss another issue.

Advanced practice. For designers who want to learn the fundamentals and advanced techniques of usage-centered design, sign up for our highly successful full-week training in usage-centered design 11-15 November. Don't be disappointed; get the details and register now.

July 2002  

Error? What error?. Forms on the Web are frequent causes of user frustration and lost sales. The July issue of the forUSE newsletter continues the exploration of usage-centered design for the Web with an article on feedback in context for validation errors. A second article introduces alternatives to use case diagrams and task maps that are easier to interpret and scale up more readily. Be sure to subscribe now so you don't miss another issue; and be sure to catch up on back issues including the July forUse.

To forUSE 2002 Conference HomeLast chance to register. It's almost here! The First International Conference on Usage-Centered Design is 25-28 August in scenic Portsmouth, NH. It is not too late to register and get significant group discounts. Check out the eight dynamic topic threads, then register while there is still time!

Sponsors and partners. The forUSE 2002 Conference is made possible, in part, through the generous support and cooperation of our partners: Classic Systems Solutions, Ariel Performance Centered Systems, and the Usability Professionals' Association whose members get a special discount.

Advanced practice. Are you ready to take your design work to the next level? Register now for the master class in usage-centered design, part of the forUSE 2002 Conference. For designers who want to learn the fundamentals of usage-centered design, sign up for our highly successful full-week training in usage-centered design 11-15 November. Don't be disappointed; get the details and register now.

June 2002  

Web site redesign. The current issue of our newsletter has two articles deriving from our re-design experience. One explores conflicts between user needs and business goals. The other looks at some of the bad behavior of submit buttons on Web forms. Read issue #22 and then be sure to subscribe.

May 2002  

Advanced seminar. We're teaching Usage-Centered Design: Best Practices and Advanced Techniques in Toronto, 10-11 June 2002. This is a two-day intensive for experienced designers and usability professionals. Details available from Toronto CHI.

Project types. Two new papers from colleagues at IBM outline how to adapt usage-centered design techniques to varying types of projects, such as legacy application revisions or customizing off-the-shelf software. Part 1- Core design activities. Part 2 - Design activities by project types.

February 2002  

Deadline extended. The deadline for submitting proposals to the First International Conference on Usage-Centered Design was extended to 28 February. The theme is "Design that Works" and it  takes place 25-28 August in scenic Portsmouth, NH. The program covers usage-centered design, task-driven design, and performance-centered design for software and Web applications. Check the conference Web site for details.

January 2002  

Single-trial learning. Our new paper on instructive interaction is a blockbuster--more than 2,000 downloads in the first three days. It's about a powerful body of techniques for making even radically innovative user interfaces immediately understandable and usable. Get "Instructive Interaction: Making Innovative Interfaces Self-Teaching" (about 500K as .PDF file).

December 2001  

Order from Amazon.comObjects? Modeling? User interfaces? Our much-downloaded paper on use case style is now in book form in Mark van Harmelen's highly recommended compilation, Object Modeling and User Interface Design (Addison-Wesley, 2001, ISBN 0201657899).

November 2001  

Beyond the clipboard. In our new design study, third in the series, we describe how we developed a dynamic workspace to simplify assembling complex documents from diverse sources. Get Design Study 3 (.PDF file, about 265K).

September 2001  

PCD AwardUsage-centered design really works. Our joint submission with Siemens AG won first place in the Performance-Centered Design Competition 2001. The Step 7 Lite system, an innovative IDE for automation programming, was designed completely through usage-centered design. See details of the award winning design and the system in action.

For a change of pace, check out "Requisite Variety," one of Larry Constantine's best short stories, a science-fiction study in people and technology--with a twist involving usability and interaction design.

You can do something in response to the dark events of 11 September. Together, we are a powerful force for renewal. Join with us and other business and professional colleagues who have followed the lead of our friend and colleague Karen Holtzblatt to make a public commitment and affirmation. Make your own commitment; we made ours. Send the text of text of Karen's proposal to friends. Make a difference!

August 2001  

Our colleagues in New Zealand--James Noble, Robert Biddle, and Ewen Tempero at Victoria University of Wellington--have extended usage-centered design into  object-oriented programming using essential use cases to drive the complete development process. They have used the approach in consulting work and have also been teaching it to students. It's described in their draft paper,  "Essential Use Cases and Responsibility in Object-Oriented Development" (about 275K Adobe .PDF).

July 2001  

Order BEYOND CHAOS from Amazon.comWe've been busy! Besides working on streamlined "agile" variations of usage-centered design and helping clients design the next generation of medical record-keeping systems, we've wrapped up two new books. In Beyond Chaos: The Expert Edge in Software Development Management, 31 industry leaders offer practical advice and provocative analyses on managing software development. Order THE PEOPLEWARE PAPERS from Amazon.comBased on the popular Management Forum in Software Development magazine, the book Includes 13 chapters by Larry Constantine on everything from the long-term value of models to shortcuts for "Web-time" projects.

The Peopleware Papers: Notes on the Human Side of Software is all Larry Constantine, an update of his classic anthology with 25 new chapters added, including key articles on essential use cases and usage-centered design and a satirical "lost column" from his Peopleware series in Software Development magazine. This book is already on several "must read" project management lists on

June 2001  

The second design study is out! Look over our shoulders once again on another visual and interaction design challenge  in the design of a performance-support application for classroom teachers.  See how we supported rapid selection from a large set of terms in "Design Study 2: Efficient Long List Selection Control". (.PDF file, about 220K.)

May 2001  

The first design study is out! Look over our shoulders as we tackle interesting visual and interaction design challenges in our new series of applied design studies. We begin with the design of a novel user interface component for a performance-support application used by classroom teachers. Get the whole story in the just-published "Design Study 1: Active Table-of-Contents Control".  (.PDF file, about 220K.)

April 2001  

Agile and lightweight methods--XP, SCRUM, Crystal and others--are attracting increasing attention. Where does usage-centered design fit in the world of fast, iterative development and short release cycles. Learn about agile usage-centered design in a new paper on "Process Agility and Software Usability" and the SD 2001 keynote presentation that created such a stir in San Jose.

December 2000  

The keynote at TOOLS Pacific in Sydney, Australia, caused quite a stir. To learn more about the controversy, see "The Usability Challenge: Can UML and the Unified Process Meet It?" (about 1.4MB in .PDF). For details on other presentations, see Upcoming Events.

October 2000  

We have released newly revised versions of user role and use case forms. We have also established an archive of past newsletter issues.

August 2000  

In July, we convened a working conference on the future of usage-centered design in a world of UML and the Unified Process. For five days, experts from three continents worked on making usage-centered design even more practicable. The first paper from this new work is From Abstraction to Realization: Abstract Prototypes Based on Canonical Components (about 446K in .PDF format; you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print it).

May 2000  

Poor shopping experiences on the Web lead to dissatisfied customers and low conversion rates. Learn how the misuse of shopping metaphors (about 319K in .PDF format) can lead to problems on the Web and elsewhere.

April 2000  

Have you ever searched in vain on a web site? Your customers and visitors have, too, because searching doesn't work! Get a usage-centered perspective on searching. (about 181K in .PDF file).

February 2000  

We posted what we thought would be an important new paper but had no idea it would be destined to generate nearly 150,000 downloads in two years. It summarizes our thinking on use case modeling: Structure and Style in Use Cases for User Interface Design (about 382K in .PDF format).

January 2000  

We finished our design work for a California start-up building Web-based applications for classroom teachers. Learn what we learned about crunch-mode modeling on Web-time projects.