Elin Heinstedt; Niklas Johansson , pp. 51. Inst. för arbetsvetenskap/Dept. Human Work Science, 2001.
Many companies invest large amount of money in developing new technology, without knowing how it will be used. To succeed in making these technologies useful it is necessary to understand the context that gives meaning to the artifact. In the case of generic products, especially in new domains, the context is not obvious.
This bachelor thesis analyses what Usability Engineering, Participatory Design and Ethnography can contribute to the problem of learning about the context of usage for generic artifacts. Understanding and identifying details of context is considered to be important to achieve usability in software development. The experience is that most recommendations on usability methods concern situations of specific users in a specific context. In order to find important aspects of the real-world use of generic products, we suggest that ethnographic studies can be conducted in contexts where behaviors relevant to the design are thought to be found.
The problem of not knowing the context was experienced in usability work practiced in a large software engineering project. The project task was to develop a web browser for Symbian's ?Quartz? reference design for handheld devices. Methods used were taken from participatory design and usability engineering.