A Phenomenological Approach to User-Centered Design: Conceptualizing the Technology Design Space to Assist Military Veterans with Community Reintegration
Haskins Lisle, Alice Catherine
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The current best practices of user-centered design (UCD) may not be optimal with respect to eliciting information from representative users from special populations. This research extended elicitation approaches traditional focus on user needs and context to include criteria describing obstacles users encounter. Military veterans were selected for this research effort as representative users for a use case in technology design that addresses the difficulties associated with community reintegration. This work provides several contributions to the UCD field. First, different elicitation methods were compared by the depth and breadth of design space criteria elicited. Guidelines were generated for designer use of phenomenology in practice. Obstacles were added as an important facet of design, with corresponding grammar rules for construction. Finally, an algorithm was applied as a method for generating personas. Additionally, this dissertation contributes to the field of veteran research. Some example contributions include a set of design space criteria for designers to consider when designing for veterans, and two veteran personas grounded in data procured from the analysis. This research effort was conducted in three phases: elicitation, first-cycle analysis, and second-cycle analysis. The elicitation process engaged 40 military veterans to complete an interview session and a design session. These sessions explored the lived experience of veterans as they reintegrate into communities, and gathered their ideas for technology to assist with veteran reintegration. The researchers who conducted first-cycle coding focused on categorizing the most important participant statements (meaning units) using a codebook. This analysis resulted in over 3,000 meaning units. Additionally, the meaning unit corpus was subjected to systematic second-cycle analyses, using standardized linguistic structures to generate design space criteria. In total, over 6,000 design space criteria were discovered, and these criteria were synthesized to create personas using a situated data mining (SDM) algorithm. Results suggest that the interview session was crucial to elicit higher quantity and broader coverage of design space criteria. It is recommended that designers conduct and analyze interviews that focus on understanding the lived experience of users (not on their technology ideas) as part of a UCD approach.
- Doctoral Dissertations