About six months ago I wrote User-Centered EHR Design Considered Harmful (Try Process-Centered Instead). Healthcare Scene’s EMR and EHR blog gave it a mention and it rocketed around the Twittersphere for a couple days.
I recently stumbled on this presentation about Activity-Centred Design (British spelling). I thought several of its slides (adapted) would make a nice table about benefits versus drawbacks of user-centered versus activity-centered approaches to design.
Fewer errors during usage
Faster learning times
Humanises software processes
Understands user’s cognitive style
Reduces user mistakes and improves recovery
Focuses on the user
|Improvements for one group of users can be detrimental to another
Users are moving targets
Users don’t always know what they want
Research is expensive, unreliable, time consuming
Tries to fix human mistakes rather than focussing on users accomplishing a task
|Activity-Centered||Users can adapt better than the technologies
Active observation vs passive observation
Internal data: Statistics, heat-maps, eye-tracking
Learn about user behaviour, rather than the user
Activity has purpose. User has behaviour. Purpose is more predictable than behaviour
UI evolves over time to facilitate user activity
Uses analytic and cognitve data from users
Solves problems instead of user mistakes
|[I'm sure there are disadvantages to activity-centered design, but none were listed in this presentation]|
Food for thought!