Usability of Smart Products in Information Society

This project examined and defined principles related to the ergonomics of information society. Aspects from concrete problems in everyday usage of products via technology acceptance to a general human survival strategy were studied.


Contents:

General Information


Description

The project "Usability of Smart Products in Information Society" examined and defined principles related to the ergonomics of information society. We are surrounded by many hard to understand devices, the use of which is a necessity for an effective and satisfying work and leisure time.

This project was a continuation to the Smart Product project. It aimed to solve problems related to comprehending the use of smart products, designing acceptable and desireable interfaces and evaluating the designs. The objectives of the project were characterized by the following questions:

The collaborative research project of Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) and the University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH) was financed by the Academy of Finland in 1997-2001.

Research Group

At HUT, the project was lead by professor Martti Mäntylä and at UIAH by professor Juhani Salovaara. Researchers working in the project were Sari, Marko, Sirpa and Irmeli worked at HUT in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Researchers at HUT worked in the Usability group. Katja, Turkka and Simo worked at UIAH in the Faculty of Product and Strategic Design. They worked in the Smart Products Research Group.

Research Work

The work was divided into six work packages.

1 Attentional Problems in Using Smart Products

One of the major reasons why person fails to use a new product is that the product over-loads user's attention and working memory. People have limited ability to process information, but new technology often offers too many or inadequate signals how to use products. For efficient use, it is not desirable to force people to use manuals or memorize complicated operations and symbols.

The aim of this work package is to model the interaction between the user and the product. Different measures of attentional load are studied and the goal is to develop improved usability testing methods.

2 Product Attributes Promoting Comprehension and Learning

The study is based on theories of cognition and usability. The aim is to find out, what kind of attributes promote understanding and learning to use products, and which ones are reducing it. Learning in this case is typically learning-by-doing, without any special training.

3 Consumer Product Evaluation

The goal of the work package is to examine the way people use usability related concepts in the evaluation of smart products. Understanding the way people evaluate usability is an important requirement for successful user involvement in product development.

A model of Smart product evaluation will be developed in this work package. The purpose of the model is to be a conceptual framework for examining the level of abstraction and the type of attributes used in consumer evaluation of smart products.

A test for studying attribute importance will also be developed. It is essential to include difficulties related to the perception of attribute levels in real product to the test. Consequently the main body of marketing oriented attribute importance test methods are not suitable. In addition, the apparently multidimensional nature of attribute importance will be paid attention to by elaborating a test with multiple methods.

4 The Links Between Product Design and Interaction Design

The work of studying the representing and modelling activities needed in product design and in interaction design, which has started in the Smart Product project, will be completed. The representation techniques will be analyzed, developed further, and tested.

The outcome of the research will be an analysis of the modelling and prototyping methods that can be succesfully applied in smart product concept creation in order to guarantee the usability and the likeability of the emerging products. This analysis will define the methods which are able to represent different attributes of the product for different purposes during the development effort. These attributes have to do with the physical part of the product - its aesthetic design, ergonomic issues and suitability to human body and to the intended use environment - as well as with the software part of the product - its aesthetic design, usability issues and suitability to the intended task. The different purposes of modelling in the product development process, and in concept definition especially, will be studied and the modelling techniques suitable to the purposes will be defined.

The acceptability of the techniques at the practical product development environment and the suitability of the methods for user-centered design philosophy will be given special emphasis.

5 Usability Evaluation Methods

Methods that can be used to evaluate the usability of Smart Products are studied in this work package. The methods include automatic, formal and informal methods in addition to empirical testing with users.

Several methods have already been tested in the usability tests conducted at HUT Usability Laboratory. Further studies will be made to compare various methods, such as heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, co-operative evaluation or pluralistic walkthrough and usability test.

Special emphasis is put on issues, such as

6 Development Process of Usable Smart Products

In this work package, the development process of devices for information society are analysed. To ascertain that common information society tools and devices meet the needs of an ordinary citizen, steps that address usability need to be included within the development process. How this can be done most efficiently in a real product development project is studied in work package 6.

The work done within this work package has already begun within the Smart Product project. Thus, some data has already been gathered that will be analysed here.


Publications

Säde, S. (1997)
Industrial designer and the user interface design. EAD'97 Proceedings of the second European Academy of Design Conference Contextual Design - Design in Contexts. Stockholm, Sweden, 23.-25. April 1997. Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, 1997.

Keinonen, T. (1997)
Does usability influence on product preference. In: Seppälä, P., Luopajärvi, T., Nygård, C-H. & Mattila, M. (Eds.) 'From Experience to Innovation' IEA '97, Proceedings of the 13th Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association June 29 - July 4, 1997 Tampere, Finland, vol. 1.

Kasvi, J., Nieminen, M., Pulkkis, A. & Vartiainen, M. (1997)
Interactive task support in Finnish assembly industry. In: Seppälä, P., Luopajärvi, T., Nygård, C-H. & Mattila, M. (Eds.) 'From Experience to Innovation' IEA '97, Proceedings of the 13th Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association June 29 - July 4, 1997 Tampere, Finland, vol. 1, pp. 208-210.

Säde, S. (1997)
Easy and pleasing - Representing the design and the user interface of smart products. In: Seppälä, P., Luopajärvi, T., Nygård, C-H. & Mattila, M. (Eds.) 'From Experience to Innovation' IEA '97, Proceedings of the 13th Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association June 29 - July 4, 1997 Tampere, Finland, vol. 1.

Keinonen, T. (1997)
Expected usability and product preference. Proceedings of DIS'97 Conference Designing Interactive Systems, 18.-20.8.1997 Amsterdam. ACM.

Vartiainen, M., Kasvi, J., Pulkkis, A. & Nieminen, M. (1997)
The role of information support systems in the joint optimization. In: Salvendy, G., Smith, M.J. & Koubek, R.J. (Eds.) Design of computing systems: cognitive considerations. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, San Francisco, California, USA August 24-29, 1997, Vol. 1, pp. 269-272.

Keinonen, T., Mattelmäki, T., Soosalu, M. & Säde, S. (1997)
Usability Design Methods. KATTI-Käyttäjäkeskeisen tuotekehityksen tietotuki -tutkimushanke. Työraportti 6. Taideteollinen korkeakoulu, Helsinki.

Säde, S, Nieminen, M. & Riihiaho, S. (1998)
Testing usability with 3D paper prototypes - Case Halton System. Applied Ergonomics, Vol 29, No.1, pp. 67-73, Elsevier Science Ltd.

Keinonen, T., Koivunen, M.-R., Nieminen, M., Riihiaho, S., Soosalu, M., Säde, S., and Wikberg, H. (1998)
Smart Products. Working Papers. Publication Series F2, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. Helsinki 1998.

Keinonen, T., Koivunen M-R., Nieminen, M., Riihiaho, S., Säde, S. (1998)
Smart products - a Multi-disciplinary Design Issue. In: Keinonen, T., Koivunen, M.-R., Nieminen, M., Riihiaho, S., Soosalu, M., Säde, S., and Wikberg, H.: Smart Products. Working Papers. Publication Series F2, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. pp. 14-16, Helsinki 1998.

Keinonen, T., Nieminen, M., Riihiaho, S., Säde, S. (1998)
Case Oras Electra - An Essay on Interaction with a Touch Free Interface. In: Keinonen, T., Koivunen, M.-R., Nieminen, M., Riihiaho, S., Soosalu, M., Säde, S., and Wikberg, H.: Smart Products. Working Papers. Publication Series F2, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. pp. 17-21, Helsinki 1998.

Keinonen, T. (1998)
One-dimensional usability - Influence of usability on consumers' product preference. University of Art and Design Helsinki, A21, doctoral dissertations.

Säde, S. (1998)
Testing Smart Products with 3D Paper Prototypes. In: Proceedings of UPA98 Conference, June 22-26 1998, Washington D.C. Usability Professionals' Association.

Nieminen, M., Kasvi, J., Vartiainen, M., Pulkkis, A. (1998)
Shop-Floor Usability. In: Karwowski, W. & Goonetilleke, R. (eds.): Manufacturing Agility and Hybrid Automation - II. Proceedings of the sixth international conference on human aspects of advanced manufacturing: agility & hybrid automation, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, July 5-8, 1998, Hong Kong. IEA Press. International Ergonomics Association. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Pp. 164-167.

Kasvi, J., Nieminen, M., Pulkkis, A., Vartiainen, M. (1998)
Knowledge Management on the Shop Floor. In: Karwowski, W. & Goonetilleke, R. (eds.): Manufacturing Agility and Hybrid Automation - II. Proceedings of the sixth international conference on human aspects of advanced manufacturing: agility & hybrid automation, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, July 5-8, 1998, Hong Kong. IEA Press. International Ergonomics Association. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Pp. 168-171.

Nieminen, M., Parkkinen J. (1998)
Usability activities in product development. In: Vink, P., Koningsveld A.P.E., Dhondt, S. (ed.) (1998): Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management - VI. Proceedings of the sixth international symposium on human factors in organizational design and management held in The Hague, The Netherlands, August 19-22,1998. Elsevier / North-Holland. ISBN: 0-08-04349-8. Pp.433-438.

Kasvi, J.J.J., Nieminen, M., Pulkkis, A., Vartiainen, M. (1998)
Supporting Work Activities with Information Technology. In: Vink, P., Koningsveld A.P.E., Dhondt, S. (ed.) (1998): Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management - VI. Proceedings of the sixth international symposium on human factors in organizational design and management held in The Hague, The Netherlands, August 19-22,1998. Elsevier / North-Holland. ISBN: 0-08-04349-8. Pp.495-500.

Säde, S. (1998)
Representations and Prototypes - A Language Everybody Speaks. In: Scott, P., Bridger, R.S. & Charteris, J. (Eds.): Global Ergonomics. Proceedings of the Global Ergonomics Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, 9-11 September 1998. Elsevier Science Ltd, Amsterdam.

Kuutti, K., Jokela, T., Nieminen, M., Jokela, P. (1998)
Assessing Human-centred Design Processes in Product Development by using the Inuse Maturity Model. In: 7th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design and Evaluation of Man-Machine Systems, Kyoto, Japan September 16-18, 1998.

Kujala, S. (1998)
Searching for physical features and category information: How similar are the processes? Licentiate's thesis, University of Helsinki.

Saarinen, H., Nieminen, M. & Riihiaho, S. (1998)
Kulttuuriteollisuus työllistäjänä. Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelunkunnan keskustelumuistioita, N:o 7. 21 p, Opetusministeriö, Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelukunta.

Nieminen, M. (1998)
Tietoyhteiskunnan haasteet: uusia kansalaistaitoja vai välineiden sopeuttamista kansalaisiin? In: Saarinen, H., Nieminen, M. & Riihiaho, S. Kulttuuriteollisuus työllistäjänä. Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelunkunnan keskustelumuistioita, N:o 7. pp. 12-16, Opetusministeriö, Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelukunta.

Riihiaho, S. (1998)
Käytettävyyden tutkimus ja arviointi Suomessa. In: Saarinen, H., Nieminen, M. & Riihiaho, S. Kulttuuriteollisuus työllistäjänä. Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelunkunnan keskustelumuistioita, N:o 7. pp. 17-21, Opetusministeriö, Opetuksen, tutkimuksen ja kulttuurin tietoyhteiskuntaneuvottelukunta.

Säde, S. & Battarbee, K. (1998)
The Third Dimension in Paper Prototyping. Common Ground. Usability Professionals' Association Newsletter. UPA, Dallas, USA.

Säde, S. (1998)
How can you design products that are usable and desirable? By involving the users in the design process. Arttu magazine, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. Helsinki 1998.

Säde, S., Mattelmäki, T., & Battarbee, K. (1998)
State-of-Art. Käytettävyysasiantuntijoiden haastatteluja. KATTI-Käyttäjäkeskeisen tuotekehityksen tietotuki -tutkimushanke. Työraportti 9. Taideteollinen korkeakoulu, Helsinki.

Keinonen, T., Mattelmäki, T., Soosalu, M., & Säde, S. (1998)
User Interface Design Tools. Working Papers. Publication Series F3, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. Helsinki 1998.

Sinkkonen, I. (1998)
Käytettävyys. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, p. 1, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Nieminen, M. (1998)
Käytettävyys - osa systemaattista tuotekehitystä. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 2-3, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Riihiaho, S. (1998)
Käytettävyyden arviointi ilman käyttäjiä. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 4-6, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Riihiaho, S. & Kuusela, M. (1998)
Käytettävyyden opetus TKK:lla. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 8-9, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Kujala, S. (1998)
Käyttäjätutkimukset vaatimusmäärittelyn apuna. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 10-11, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Sinkkonen, I. (1998)
Yrityksen käyttöliittymästandardi. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 15-16, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Sinkkonen, I. (1998)
Visuaalisella suunnittelullakin voi tehostaa käyttöliittymää. Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 17-18, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Nieminen, M. & Kuoppala, H. (1998)
Standardinmukainen käytettävyys - tulevaisuuden vaatimus? Systeemityö Vol 5, No. 4, pp. 19-21, Systeemityöyhdistys SYTYKE ry.

Säde, S. (1999)
Hyvä tuote on empaattinen ja suunnitellaan käyttäjän tarpeeseen. Helsingin Sanomat 6.1.1999, Sanoma Oy, Helsinki.

Säde, S. (1999)
Representations of Smart Product Concepts in User Interface Design. In: Jordan, P. and Green, W. (eds.) Human Factors in Product Design - Current Practices and Future Trends. Taylor & Francis, London.

Säde, S., Battarbee, K., & Salo, H. (1999)
Applying Interaction Design Techniques in an Industrial Design Firm. In: Bulletin of the 4th Asian Design Conference, International Symposium on Design Science, Nagaoka, Japan 30th-31st Oct, ISBN 4-9980776-0-0

Battarbee, K., Säde, S., Kuutti, K., Mattelmäki, T., Keinonen, T., Teirikko, T., & Pöyhtäri, A.-M. (1999)
Internet-based usability testing using 3D virtual prototypes. In: Bulletin of the 4th Asian Design Conference, International Symposium on Design Science, Nagaoka, Japan 30th-31st Oct, ISBN 4-9980776-0-0

Kuutti, K., Säde, S., & Battarbee, K. (1999)
Virtual prototypes in usability testing. In: Kerttula, M., Salmela, M., Kuutti, K., Pulli, P., Tuikka, T., Säde, S., Battarbee, K., Palo, J., Pärnänen, P., & Tokkonen, T. New Product Development based on Virtual Reality Prototyping / Tuotesuunnittelu virtuaalimaailmassa, MET Publishing Oy, Helsinki.

Riihiaho, S., Säde, S., Nieminen, M., Sinkkonen, I. & Kujala, S. (1999)
Tietoyhteiskunnan käytettävyysongelmat. In: Pantzar, Eero (Ed.) Tiedosta ja tiedon tutkimuksesta. Reports of the Information Research Programme of the Academy of Finland, No. 2, University of Tampere. pp. 149-156.

Kujala, S. & Mäntylä, M. (2000)
Is user involvement harmful or useful in the early stages of product development? In Companion Proceedings of CHI'2000, (Hague, Netherlands. 1-6 April), pp. 285-286.

Riihiaho, S. (2000)
Experiences with usability evaluation methods. Licentiate's thesis. Helsinki University of Technology, Department of computer science and engineering. 113 p.

Säde, S. (2000)
Käyttäjäkeskeisyyttä muotoilutoimistossa. In: Keinonen, T. (ed.) Miten käytettävyys muotoillaan? University of Art and Design, Series B 61, Helsinki. (in Finnish)

Säde, S. and Battarbee, K. (2000)
Bridge for Buttons - A GUI Design Methodology Applied in Non-GUI Consumer Product Design. In: Proceedings of DIS2000 Designing Interactive Systems Conference, New York, 17.-19. August 2000.

Kujala, S. & Mäntylä, M. (2000)
How effective are user studies? In Proceedings of HCI'2000 Conference (Sunderland, UK, 6-8 September), pp. 61-71.

Kujala, S. & Mäntylä, M. (2000)
Studying users for developing usable and useful products. In Proceedings of 1st Nordic Conference on Computer-Human Interaction (Stockholm, Sweden, 23-25 October), pp. 1-11.

Kujala, S. (2000)
Käyttäjätutkimukset hyödyllisten ja käytettävien tuotteiden suunnittelussa. In: Pantzar, Eero (Ed.) Informaatio, tieto ja yhteiskunta. Reports of the Information Research Programme of the Academy of Finland, No. 4, University of Tampere. pp. 215-221.

Riihiaho, S. (2000)
Käytettävyysestauksen muunnelmia. In: Pantzar, Eero (Ed.) Informaatio, tieto ja yhteiskunta. Reports of the Information Research Programme of the Academy of Finland, No. 4, University of Tampere. pp. 223-230.

Kuutti, K., Battarbee, K., Säde, S., Mattelmäki, T., Keinonen, T., Teirikko, T., & Tornberg, A.-M. (2001)
Virtual prototypes in usability testing. In: Proceedings of HICSS-34 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January 3-6, 2001, Outrigger Wailea Resort Maui.

Battarbee, K. & Säde, S. (2001)
Emotional responses to virtual prototypes in the design evaluation of a product concept. In: Proceedings of the Pleasure-Based Human Factors Seminar, Copenhagen, April 11-13 2000, Taylor & Francis.

Säde, S. (2001)
Towards User-Centred Design: A Method Development Project in a Product Design Consultancy. Design Journal, Gower Publishing Ltd, UK.

Säde, S. (2001)
Cardboard mock-ups and conversations: Studies on user-centered product design. University of Art and Design Helsinki, A34, doctoral dissertations.

Battarbee, K. & Säde, S. (2002)
Emotional responses to virtual prototypes in the design evaluation of a product concept. In: Jordan, P.W. and Green, W.S. (eds.) Pleasure with Products: Beyond Usability. Taylor & Francis, London.

Riihiaho, S. (2002)
The Pluralistic Usability Walk-Through Method. Ergonomics in Design, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Vol 10, No. 3, pp. 23-27.



University of Art and Design, Faculty of Product and Strategic Design



Helsinki University of Technology, Department of computer science and engineering



Updated October 28th 2002 by Sirpa.Riihiaho@hut.fi