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Use Case Scenerios for the Forgotten End User  

:: Monday, July 18, 2005 ::

Doesn't is sometimes seem as though the leading use case scenerio for web site or software design has nothing to do with you and everything to do with somebody else's preferences?

Somebody must have really been creative to convince Microsoft to deploy a talking paper clip ("Clippy"), the default helper in Microsoft Word.

Food for thought on what end users want and need came today in the form of an article that caught my attention. It's called Andrewís Usability in the Real World: Life intrudes - Rare but important Use Cases

Using the London bombings as the backdrop for the article, the author explores "important life events that software should be able to handle, but often doesnít."
"Because many software installations rely on multiple files, registry entries, and hardware-specific copy-protection schemes, re-installing software can be a nightmare. Even the big names donít support this use case well Ė ever tried to move over a Microsoft Outlook installation, or Explorer?"

I admit to not having given much thought to the usability of death, or more to the point, planning a software application for such an event.
"Most e-commerce sites and services strive to maintain lifelong relationships with their customers, but what happens when that relationship ends? People die Ė itís the one use case people usually donít like to talk about, but itís important to plan for. "

Fear as Call to Action

Related to the forgotten end user is the scared to death one. Some studies are providing some insight into software user distrust. Check out Fear, Anger, Distrust
"See, the main thing that's clear from both studies is that fear, anger and distrust are what motivate users to change. In the Pew survey, 91% of users said fears about malware have made them change how they deal with e-mail, the Web, downloads and even software user agreements. And, according to the Ponemon survey, most of those whose personal information is leaked will dump the bank, credit card or other company that exposed their data.

So users will change -- if they get afraid, angry or distrustful."

Usable news reading

Still another recent study explains the effects of line length on reading online news. The Effects of Line Length on Reading Online News is a study on the usability of reading online, be it news, publications, courses, etc.
"In a recent survey, Shaikh and Chaparro (2004) evaluated the reading habits of Internet users across five document types (journal articles, news, newsletters, literature, and product information) and found that users preferred to read journal articles in printed form, but other documents such as online news, newsletters, and product reviews in online formats."

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 7/18/2005 09:12:00 PM

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