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Effective user involvement in product development by improving the analysis of user needs

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User involvement has been shown to be beneficial in the development of useful and usable systems. The trend of software development becoming a product-oriented activity creates challenges to user involvement. Field studies appear a promising approach, but the analysis of the gathered user needs has been shown to be demanding. This study presents, on the basis of seven case studies, an early user-involvement process showing how user needs can be analysed and how the input to product development can be identified. In addition, the process is evaluated in two industrial cases with interviews and a questionnaire. The results show that the process supports effective early user involvement; the resulted requirements were evaluated as being more successful and their quality as better than average in a company. However, the case studies show that user involvement not only provides useful information about users' needs but also increases the understanding of users' values.

Keywords: field studies; product development; requirements elicitation; user involvement; user need analysis; user-centred design

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Tampere University of Technology, Institute of Human-Centered Technology, Tampere, Finland

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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