Week 2: Process and Context


Exploring the context for use and the contexts of use.

There are 8 phases in the interactive design process, parts 1 and 2 are featured in this blog post.

Part 1: Design Process Overview

Going from invention to presentation, the evolution of the idea to the final design is often sketched as a map-like layout demonstrating the key steps in the design process. Early visualisations are often low-tech and use pen & paper, a whiteboard or sticky notes. At sometime in the process we then move to prototypes and put the concept into study, or context. This then leads to further study, research and refinement.

There are many ways to bring the concept to life, but you need to do what suits you to design appropriately for your audience and their contexts of use. We observe and ask questions, then move onto prototypes.

Part 2: Context

Context identifies the peoples needs which can help us learn or anticipate their behaviour. To get a better understanding, we must ask a lot of questions. Such as:

  • What is their situation, the setting or environment in which the interface or device will be used? Is it public or private?
  • Who will be using the interface or device? Will it be one person, or multiple people?
  • How long will it be used for?
  • Will the person be able to focus on their task, or will they be interrupted?
  • Is the experience complex?
  • What is the urgency of use?
  • What is the person trying to achieve?

Yes, there are lots of questions and many, many more that must be asked. We must ask questions to gain more information; the more information we have, the more efficient the development of the concept will become.


The most useful information I noted during the lecture pod was that you need to understand:

  • What people are trying to do.
  • How they may try to do it.
  • What gets in the way or helps.
  • Where they might be doing it.

Here is a link to a video on YouTube, posted by Jussi Saarela, which demonstrates the process of designing a UI (User Interface) from sketch to final concept work.


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