Organisational and cultural transformation in Business Agility

The UX, UCD and HCD code explained

User Experience has become the solution focused end of User Centred Design, being based in normal practice on usability, accessibility and user research over time.

The Term User Experience/User Centred Design and Human Centered Design are interchangeable because the International Standard changed from being User Centred Design to Human Centered Design.

Some Background

In my other posts it should be clear by now that I have been involved in what now called UX for some considerable time. I have previously mentioned how UX moved from the strategic and its equal status to enterprise architecture into software development and becoming visual design for a time. Well it’s on the move again, just as UX incorporated marketing components with repeatable science at its outset and seeded Agile with user stories and human context, so now it has moved into organisational and cultural transformation.

Organisational and Cultural Transformation

There are now in 2019 many people talking about organisational and cultural transformation and change however it is clear that what they mean is everyone below the C-suite needs to change. However organisational and cultural transformation is the whole organisation otherwise it is just a rebrand without actual change. More especially culture is born from action not just intent and this is what organisations who want to change are discovering. They want to take their staff on a transformation journey and to evolve their engagement not simply recasting them with new role titles and responsibilities. They also expect to evolve the transformation in flight gaining a true understanding of what already works well and folding it into the new culture. This kind of transformation takes a highly adaptive and pragmatic mindset in its leadership and enablement.

Organisational Design

The historical focus of organisational design has been to establish one standard structure across a whole organisation. The value of this is to standardize command and control mechanisms which is supposed to simplify reporting and oversight. It forces all work through it regardless of its priority or type of work it is.

The old four types of organizational structures are;

  1. Functional Top-Down
  2. Divisional Structure
  3. Matrix Organizational Chart
  4. Flat Organizational Chart

However the New Ways of Working in adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps don’t utilize these structures. In fact instead of starting with organizational structures it focuses on work to define the structures needed to deliver it. This is very intensive consulting activity and often led by external consultants not vested in internal politics and previous alliances.

And this explains why most new organisational transformations will fail before they start because they are focused on hierarchies not getting work done efficiently with a culture that rewards and honours people who deliver.

Karl Smith

Work Formats

The common structure of work is linear and directional often following the concepts of grouped specialisations handing work to each other having completed their activities. This creates a slow flow of work with bottlenecks around capacity. When unexpected work arrives and depending upon its priority it can destroys the whole flow of work and create ripples impacting the whole organisation. This behaviour with work is derived from industrial production techniques often related to the Ford production model of manufacturing.

In adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps, work types are defined first and then the organisational structure is derived from the work types. The consultancy around the organisational design should be unique to each organisation in order to both facilitate taking porfilio work into viable and validated and measured delivery.

Psychology of Transformation

In large organisations there have been lots of transformations and people are used to dealing with them, adept at absorbing language and funds without actual transformation or the derivative cultural change. So as far as possible the psychology of transformation is defensive for the mainstream of organisations. Delivering long term cultural change therefore requires a top down adoption in order to establish an authoritative perspective of We Change rather than You Change.

In new ways of working YOU change is not the way to succeed it must be WE change together

Karl Smith

Human Centred Organisational Design TOM

At this point I’d normally publish the exactly how to do it, but to be honest in the wrong hands it’s a stick of dynamite, so I won’t just hand it out. Below is the Portfolio Planning for Business Agility for an Organisation focused on a Work Type Taxonomy rather than hierarchies.

Business Agile activities at Portfolio Level

If you’d like like to find out how to do this from someone who’s done it in an organisation with 80,000 staff contact me.

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Ways of Working Business Agility and Rapid Innovation service offerings proposal for Partner Role

This is the Business Plan I wrote for a Blue Chip Consultancy to adopt Business Agility to deliver New Ways of Working as a new line of business and give me a Partnership. Naturally it does not say how it would be done and who my first clients would be. If you want that you’ll need to engage me.

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#Digital #Transformation a #Business #Guide

But we already have Digital, how can it be coming?

For the most part what companies have is Technology being sold as Digital Solutions or Digital Strategy, however Being Digital and participating in the Digital Economy is about fundamental change in how your company works, not by adding a channel.

Digital is not just another name for Technology or a Delivery Channel but it is a Pervasive Customer Engagement Productization

Having a digital channel, a CRM tool or a marketing strategy involving social media, does not make you a Digital Business in fact Digital Businesses have Digital Products. A Digital Product is not the envelope, like a website, app, message or other container, but the thing that is purchased, transferred or acquired by customers. 

As Technologies come and go, Customers are eternal

Without Digital Products your company won’t be able to access the coming benefits of the Internet of Things, Big Data or Artificial Intelligence.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is an evolutionary step towards the true open market that the Internet of Things and the Internets of All represents. For many companies digital transformation is about digitising existing processes which should be discarded completely. 

What does transformation and change look like?

There are many factors that can create the need for transformation and change changing markets, changing customers, disruption from unexpected sources to name a few.

There are a lot of people who miss the point of transformation or change programs, who simply revert to their worst fears.

Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone does appear to be lots of people experience of transformation projects and in every view there is a grain of truth. The truth in this view is he has authority, drive and power and that the change is terrifying to people who thought they could control it.

Are you sure you need Digital Transformation?

It’s really important to count the cost and the gain before embarking on digital transformation.

Digital Transformation will disrupt you business, your staff and your customers.

And people who claim otherwise have never done one.

Why do we need to Transform, did we fail?

There is always a faint feeling of fear and desperation on a transformation or change project. This is because concerns over perception of value, the person or persons involved value to their organisation and their sense of self worth.

DID YOU FAIL, YES your not superhuman

You have not managed to pack the detailed life of a subject expert life into your already business expert life. So in effect NO, its supposed to be the first step in wisdom, the recognition that you need help.

The real issue for business people is how do you acquire that help, do it in a way that does not damage your credibility and still be able to influence that change so that it does not wreck your carefully crafted world.

Creating a Terms of Reference Document (TOR) and Business Case

The main role of the business is to own the problem, not the solution. It’s really important that the business is candid in their appraisal of the issues. Often businesses will focus on perceived solutions, to the perceived problem. That is a way to waste huge amounts of money and never fix anything.

Writing the Terms of Reference defines where the business thinks the problem is, sets out who is engaged from the business and suggests a high level timeline. The TOR is a guideline to the Transformation but not a rule book. The TOR provides targets and key performance indicators (KPI’s) so that the Transformation is measurable and understood from the “as is” situation described in the TOR.

For example; we need a mobile site, why? because our competitors have one and everyone needs to be mobile, why? So we are buying a mobile platform, whoa! Let’s go back to the beginning, what is the problem? “We are losing market share”, okay, what are the demographics of your target market, do they use mobile devices? “We don’t know”. Don’t you think you should find out before you buy a mobile platform? That’s not a made up conversation.

After the initial consultancy to determine the target of activity in the TOR a Business Case can be created to gain funding by explaining the impact of transformation. The Business Case is critical to distil and focus the programs activity so that actual value is given from all the ensuing activity.

Both the TOR and the Business Case are created by the Business with assistance from internal resources or contractors.

The Psychology of Change Management

How transformation is framed, communicated and done in organisations is often not enough to overcome the deep seated fears of the people it will affect.

This is why you may have been invited to be involved, it is not to steer the solution but to provide expert knowledge, regardless things will either change or the business will contract. Being on the project team from the client side is not your time to shine, you already did or you would not be there.

I have worked on both sides of transformation projects and I really do understand the personal and professional need to have impact. But most importantly was your impact an enabler, if you sort to set limits was it for reasons of context? Can you explain the rich knowledge behind your behaviour and passion, the articulation is critical to getting this knowledge into the project and benefiting your company.

Transformation and Change is not just focused on Technology 

If you plan to start this process of transformation you will need to accept that nothing is sacred. Transforming anything means looking at everything without preference and changing or removing it completely without regret. It will change people, their roles and responsibilities, divisional politics, funding models and budgets, business governance may be rewritten completely, processes may be discarded and loved software and technology scrapped.

But the choice is stark either engage digitally or accept second or a hundredth place in the market, until the customers who don’t use Digital die off and your business joins them.

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#Global #Digital #Consultancy Start-up Pt2 #Adjusted #Governance #Magic #Bullet

I offer several strategic consultancy services one of them is Organizational Design this can involve launching a new service or creating new divisions or even whole Global companies.

Governance is a Business Enabler

Having written several enterprise governance documents using ISO/IEC 385000 as a template I am well aware that governance is one of those areas that is much misunderstood.

Well constructed and managed governance is open and obvious, it is designed to enable business and has an active and transparent policy creation and updating process. However, there is a huge amount of governance set up to chain the business to policies that are truly complex, meaningless in the current context and have become a power base in their own right.

Governance should be used as a route to evolve policies (that in  turn establish processes) that are market responsive in a framework that effectively manages risk and regulatory compliance.

Governance can build Design Thinking and Service Design directly into the core policies and processes of an organisation

Digital is a new type of Business not a Channel

The reason Governance is an important factor is that different behaviours in business require different Governance.

From Global Digital Consultancy Start-up Pt1 – Founding a New Consultancy is all about Market Differentiators it should be clear that a Digital Business, does something different from an Existing or Established Business.

Digital is established, interacts and delivers differently from other businesses, it creates conflict with the existing status quo

These stages and the processes they create in a start-up will create conflict or roadblocks to success with Venture Capitalists and existing internal Business structures, institutions and organisations unless there is Adjusted Governance and ultimately adjusted accountability, effectiveness measurement, recruitment policies, recruitment process, career paths etc.

Adjusted Governance is the magic bullet in setting up a Digital Business

Adjusted Governance enables Digital to work quickly and effectively within the more volatile framework of immediate and rapid response business strategy, investment rules and return on investment than those used in existing enterprises or global organisation structures.

I have yet to work on a Start-up that has got adjusted governance set up before it becomes a critical hinderance

I always ask if there is adjusted governance and without fail, I am told it is not required. This comes down to a basic misunderstand of the usage of the word Digital. Digital Consulting really means Agency Consulting with Scaled Delivery, it is not the Digital Market Channel that Commerce thinks it is at all.

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How to #Design an #Online #National #Census

Most people don’t even know that an online census is designed they just think you take the paper form and put it online. Unfortunately it is simply not that easy, the interactive environments, activities and tools are fundamentally different between an offline experience and an online one. Also peoples expectations of a digital experience is higher than a real world experience and that goes back to the notion that “technology is here to help us” which we all know is not really true. Additionally there is a whole raft of legislation pertaining to human rights, ease of access and use for people with disabilities which must be considered before starting (which have always been impossible to add in a retrospective fashion, enterprise systems architects take note).

1.0 Designing an Online National Census – Understand the domain and the Target Audience

Team Structure

So when we started to design the National Census there was just two experience consultants, a technical BA, with a content author (or wordsmith) to join later, we also added someone to manage and conduct usability testing and a very savvy UI developer who actually understood Accessibility W3C and could build it in from the start. There were also a couple of PM’s who did administration, a different time maybe, but we hardly saw them.

Understanding the Domain

Well never having done one before we asked the experts in Canada and Australia and had a number of insightful calls, were sent a load of useful document and we scavenged a great deal more from online sources. We then went through the huge requirements document and found the three pages that related to who would be using the Census by Country, Language, Household Type, and the then three different forms they would be getting due to localised questions. Based upon this we created twenty eight persona groups. We then had to decide who was the Target Audience from the persona groups and found it was not clear who should have piority in the design. So we went back to the client (you’d have thought that the strategy and vision for doing the project would be in the requirements, it was not) and asked the killer question

“Why are you doing this project?”

They looked a bit confused at being asked it but answered after we got to the head of the NGO. The answer was simple they needed more data and more high quality data (quantity and quality) than they were getting from the paper form in order to support public policy and planning of services and resources. We had discovered the problem, but we needed to categorise it better than that to find a solution. So we asked for completion data from the last two census to understand a pattern of behaviours, a nice fun bit of data mining. I was able to dig out my OLAP skills and use Business Objects XI to find the issue. From that we found a group of severely under represented users with a downward trend.

Out Target Audience became men 18 to 24 who don’t fill out the census.

The National Census experience was then designed for the least represented group of users in the completion data from the previous census. And what about everyone else, I hear you say. Well people who fill out the census, fill out the census and if we can make the experience better for the people least likely to do the census we enable everyone else at the same time.

2.0 Designing an Online National Census – Test the Design with the Target Audience

Testing Early and Often

Before the prototype was even complete we tested the login experience with the target audience, the results were a disaster. The problem was limitations set by the planned architecture and SLA’s, a ten minute login session, a one second page load with 60,000 users. Men 18 to 24 were not happy to be so limited, so we tested again, without the planned architecture and SLA’s and got some really useful result that enabled the design team to change the architecture SLA’s.

First Findings and How they changed the Architecture

So what did we find, first we tested in context, your meant to be able to do this in your home, with all the freedom of movement that allows.

When presented with the login, men 18 to 24 tended to shout abuse at the screen, they might get through it but then find they needed documents they did to have or were overwhelmed with the time commitment they perceived it would take to complete it. A common response was to head to the kitchen and make a cup of tea and a piece of toast. We timed this reaction “Login to Tea & Toast back to Census” was around eighteen minutes, from this we proposed a login timeout of twenty four minutes.

We found that men 18 to 24 would spend a max time of 30 minutes doing the form, regardless of government threats to fine them if they did not complete it. So the final form was designed to be completed in 35 minutes for a single person in their own home. The sense of accomplishment and beating the government did inspire five more minutes engagement.

Finally as part of this user testing, finding out that men 18 to 24 would not retry to login unless incentivised by having clear instructions, enabled the design team to get graceful deferral added to the architecture of the project.

3.0 Designing an Online National Census – Usability is a guideline not a set of rules

The Design

The actual design broke several usability guidelines but enabled a user to rapidly complete the forms. They could jump questions and comeback later, provided that the dynamic component of their form was already built. In this way we gave people a sense of accomplishment rather than usual government experience of feeling foolish by failing to do things right when nothing has been explained.

The Results

For a Government IT project it was astounding, there was no negative press response, they system went live as planned, worked and was easy to use. I understand the NGO was overwhelmed by the amount and quality of the final data set.

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#Dependant on #dumb #data and is making #bad #choices? #Douglas #Adams

Data, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence

Clients don’t understand their customers, they just think they do!

It’s not for the lack of trying or spending millions on developing and building huge data systems, the problems are many but can be traced back to one simple thing;

“Data only describes part of the what is happening and almost nothing of the why, let alone what should be done to change the situation”

Clients have been sold that data gives them the answers and that big data will close the loop for them to understand the upstream and downstream thinking of their customers, WRONG.

Douglas Adams noticed the real problem

Douglas Adam’s said  “But even Amazon has only got part of the picture. Like real world shops, they can only record the sales they actually make. What about the sales they don’t make and don’t know that they haven’t made because they haven’t made them?” Douglas Adams “The Salmon of Doubt” by Permission of Pan Macmillan. That pretty much covers the problem if you extrapolate the thinking for Data Analytics, Big Data or even Artificial Intelligence based Data and Decision systems.

“Data is binary a yes or no (even complex views), it does not capture motivation, intention, desire, cognition, distraction or any other human reasoning or pattern”

child pretending to be robot data prentending to be truth
child pretending to be robot data prentending to be truth

A child pretending to be a robot just as data pretends to be the truth, he is a kind of robot and data is a kind of truth

A pure Data approach to understanding customers will provide the wrong data because data is an absolute and people are not. Even with Artificial Intelligence it only works from the starting point you give it, if any of the perimeters are wrong the whole data sample is wrong.

Guide to understanding Customers

  • Data, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence – Tells you what
  • People in target demographic – Tell you why

People in target demographic

User research answers the question Why have we not made the Sale? through the only people equipped to answer the question, consumers. This is not market research, its scientific without a predetermined agenda or outcome. User Research is a problem solving method that offers solutions by finding the right questions, finding the right people and asking the questions in a way that does not lead or direct the answers.

There are right questions and people to ask?

This may sound a little Adamsesque (if you ask the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything you get 42, because it the wrong question). Getting the questions or setup wrong is the real problem with an Analytics approach to a Diagnostic process. While it may be reasonably expected by a seller to directly ask, why didn’t a visitor become a buyer or register. Visitors may be asking themselves where am I? what does this do? this does not make sense, should that be happening? technology, why do I bother? Why has my screen gone pink? None of these “in mind” experiences are expressed in the data or even a consideration for the data schema design.

A visitors experience is not only defined by the online environment but they bring past experiences, desires and doubts about their current experience. Without these insights from research, it is difficult for clients to grasp potential problems, gain a good return upon their investment (ROI), innovate to fit the market and consumer needs or break into a new market sector.

Reasons that Data is Trusted and People are Not

It appears to come down to scale and a short sighted approach to costs. Buying an Analytics Solution appears to tick all the boxes, even if in reality it does not. While using Research Companies or in-house Research Teams seems expensive in comparison.

“The real trick is to understand you need both, you always did”

retro robot toys, not what you expect when you say robot today
retro robot toys, not what you expect when you say robot today

When I first started using Web Position Gold (the analytics tool), bought by Webtrends long before Google Analytics existed or the current proliferation of products promising the impossible, we used it to spot trouble only. We would then do some user testing in the area, working out possible failure scenarios, from there we would suggest two or three solutions and build them for A/B testing to see what worked and what did not. Everything was monitored and all the data from both analytics and user testing was collated into one final solution. Sometimes there was a single resolution, a re-architecting of a section, in one project I kept 16 pathways active because they all delivered transactions for different types of customers.

The thing is just as there is no absolute way to find out the problem, resolution or adaptive innovation except byDiagnostics a digital and human activity.




[Feedback+Data+Human=Adaptive Innovation]

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#Cognition #Clash in the #IoT #SXSW

Thank you to everyone who attended our (Karl Smith and Thom Heslop) talk at SXSW, it’s the start of a long road into a really complex and contextual problem. But being silent in the crowd as the King walks by with no clothes on is not an option, peoples lives, futures and prosperity is at risk, not to mention the risk of multi-trillion dollar lawsuits that can follow by knowingly distracting people who are engaged in critical tasks.

Cognition Clash in the IoT at SXSW16
Cognition Clash in the IoT at SXSW16

The IoT – Internet of Things (Ubiquity) is the next great opportunity for commerce to engage with business enterprises and customers. However, there is no unified approach to the mental load between physical interaction, mental interaction and digital interaction. This cognitive landscape is inhabited by associated experiences that gel human behaviour and machine interfaces through, touch, mouse and keyboard. The usage of sight, voice and thought create new complexities and risks which have until recently been the subject of defence technologies (battlefield and strategic), where clear outcomes and prescribed mental models exist.

IoT clash girl dies
IoT clash girl dies

The diversification of these touch points and multi-point human logic models clash and derail human thinking patterns.

We are looking for people and their knowledge to help create an Ubiquity Open Standard. We are doing this because no one else has noticed this fundamental error in thinking, the hoping that product based companies will work together in creating common standards that are driven by an understanding of human thinking capabilities, cognitive models, relational thinking and machine interactions is unlikely.

While product manufactures continue with supremacy attitude to other ecosystem products and services,

“the human voice and our needs and desires are subjugated to simply another component”

albeit the one that is constantly paying for everything without any input on how it works.

Some Foundations (the rest will go in a technical paper)

Distributed Cognition studies the ways that memories, facts, or knowledge is embedded in the objects, individuals, and tools in our environment. According to Zhang & Norman (1994), the distributed cognition approach has three key components: Embodiment of information that is embedded in representations of interaction Coordination of enaction among embodied agents. Ecological contributions to a cognitive ecosystem.

In Embodied Interaction Dourish -everyday human interaction is embodied; non-rationalising, intersubjective and bodily active.  User, not designers, create and communicate meaning and manage coupling. Not just concerned with what people do, but also with what they mean by what they do and how that is meaningful to them. It reflects the sets of meanings that can be ascribed to objects and actions over those objects as part of a larger task or enterprise

Cognition the key to the mind, how people understand what they can do is by comparison a Diagnostic Methodology (goals, adaptations, conventions) with what they already know by accessing the Active Narrative patterns they have created in their own minds according to Smith (2005).

Cognition Patterns Cognition Clash in the IoT different people think differently
Cognition Patterns Cognition Clash in the IoT different people think differently

Cognition Groups create a communication paradigm, they carry intention, meaning, risks and benefits.

  • Some Cognition patterns are common, shopping basket etc.
  • Some Cognition Patterns are social by Family, Sports Team etc.
  • Some Cognition Patterns change without notice

Guided Interaction, existing websites offer guided interaction – simplified cognitive pattern encapsulating a plethora of interacting technology and data systems: Shopping Basket – This representation allows for distributed cognition > appropriation > cognitive pattern forming understand– once a user has used a shopping basket they will understand how to use them and generalize: transferable cognitive pattern

Some of the issues with the IoT

  • There is no standard of interactivity for humans in the IoT – not a problem if passive background machine-to-machine. A very big problem if actively interacting with humans, who are all different and can create their own meanings for example LOL.
  • How does a user form any cognitive patterns from an invisible system?
  • IoT combines known patterns as hidden machine-to-machine communications that can create mistrust and security fears
  • Detailed component view we have constructed around daily interactions is no longer valid

Some of our initial research

IoT Design Principals

  • What is device / service for?
  • Where will it be situated?
  • When will it be triggered?
  • What other devices will it be interacting with?
  • Where can it clash?
  • Security? – * Lack of security – Shodan
  • Design Principal: “Do No Harm

IoT Design Risks

Context is critical

  • Situational interaction problems for consideration

The following barriers reduce our ability to understand the situation

  • Perception based on faulty information processing
  • Excessive motivation – over motivated to the exclusion of context
  • Complacency
  • Overload
  • Fatigue
  • Poor communications

A possible solution

  • Avatar (can be visual, sound, texture, smell, taste or a combination) – smart use of Artificial intelligence (AI), where the users cognitive interface is patterned on their unique cognition pattern through a learning algorithm
  • This avatar should be directional and instructional like digital signage
  • This avatar should respond to the users behavioural interaction and should fall away gracefully as users behaviour becomes more ‘expert* In effect it should be a learning system – learns from the users rather than based on static rules
  • For example the AI that George Hotz has built into his self driving car while not the answer points to the kind of thinking required to find the answer, don’t tell the machine to watch and learn from a human and then carry out your task (from 3.33 to 5.04) “the point is to drive naturally like a human, not some engineer’s idea of safety“. For anyone who then thinks this is the final solution, please let us know why you think driving a car is like cooking dinner or navigating the street?

The Full SXSW Talk is on YouTube

Connect to the speakers on LinkedIn here Karl Smith and Thom Heslop

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#Recruiters requesting #UX #portfolio #breach #IPR

Recruiters requesting a UX portfolio can cause a breach of Intellectual Property Rights

So I posted this as an update on LinkedIn I got some great responses from people who read their contracts and got a whole load of really negative responses from people who did not understand the statement so I will try again here. I make no legal determination as part of this post, I am simply reporting an actual event.

The Background

First off this is from several actual experiences, years ago in one instance where a recruiter was found to be in Breach of Contract as the Contractor they supplied held on to client work (not in the public domain) and digitally published it as a portfolio breaching the Intellectual Property Rights of the Recruiters end Client. My involvement was discovering the content, explaining the context to legal teams and later hearing about the results.

The recruiter settled out of court, they were sued for $610,000,000, they paid $9,000,000 on the Government Contract, I don’t know what happened to the contractor, their portfolio was shut down in 10 minutes by the server company (a very well known one) after they were contacted, they also supplied a list of every IP that had visited the site.

This is About UX not UI

Second this is about UX not UI if you don’t know the difference here is post explaining it The User Interface (UI) is not the User Experience (UX).

So what is in a UX portfolio?

Method Statements
Research Raw Data
Research Analysis and First Findings
Market Research
UX Research
Business Research
UX Requirements Specification
Key Interaction Models (also known as Eco-systems)
User Logic Models
Demographics and Personas
UX Innovations based upon Insights from the Data, for Interaction Behaviour, Market Targeting/Capture, New Products or Services
Proposed Human Centered Business Models
UX Recruiting Protocol
UX Concept Testing Methods
UX Concept Testing Analysis
Project Concepts
Interaction Design
Interaction Design Testing

If you understand what UX is then the statement below seems quite reasonable.

The customer experience becomes the intellectual copyright of the client company, showing how it works to anyone opens up an unlimited financial risk to anyone who sees it. Hiding the client name is less important than exposing details of the customer experience that has been created.

One caveat to the above statement, clients cannot own the moral rights unless stipulated in the B2B recruiter contract and the contractor sub-contract, they remain as a veto for the contractor. Also the methods and IP of the contractor don’t become property of the client or the recruiter unless the contractor agrees and is paid for them (a separate contract, from their service contract, with another and more substantial fee).

If a recruiter requires the viewing of confidential information in their role adverts, they are liable as a participant in the contract breach.

Jophy covers it really well here in his update, in the corporate area information security is critical in UX projects disks are required to be wiped after projects and are subject to random checks by security. Having a copy of a project that has been completed for a client or that you leave is considered to be a form of theft.

Jophy Joy UX Information Security
Jophy Joy UX Information Security

When recruiters ask for portfolio’s it would be better that they stipulated personal projects only. Or that they change their contracts to allow contractors to show the work they produce as part of their portfolio.

In turn the contract between the clients and the recruiters will need to be changed as that is the point at which a breach is determined to have taken place from a client perspective.

Todd Zaki Warfel said portfolios aren’t the problem.

I recently interviewed a few MA grad candidates. One of the best portfolio reviews came from someone who’s showed 2-3 personal projects. We use the review sessions to dig into process and the candidates thinking and doing. Having them use examples they are intimately familiar with is a good way to gain insight.

And that kind of exposes the problem, the recruitment industry has built up with a reliance portfolio’s when experienced recruiters prefer to understand the candidates skill, than look at a portfolio of things the candidate may or may not have created.

I’m only providing this information to help people, if you don’t want to know, then fine. Please don’t respond with self righteous explanations of why your practices are safe, just enjoy your view of the sand.

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#UX and #Development cannot exist in the same #Agile workstream

“UX and Development cannot exist in the same Agile workstream” might sound like an outlandish claim but if you fully understand, it’s obvious. Forcing things to work as with the picture above is not a good idea.

Can UX be Agile yes, of course in so far that all the effort and artefacts required to deliver UX can exist in an Agile UX workstream.

UX includes user research, user requirement, KPI’s, system-wide taskflows, concepts, concept testing, persona definition, user roles, user journeys, usability and accessibility standards, sitemaps, key pathway wireframes.

Development can also be Agile, but not all of it, infrastructure and front end need to be in separate workstreams.

The simple way to express this is to talk through backlog items in a greenfield system;

The user can login…..

  • UX will take days
  • Front end will take weeks
  • Back end will take months

The problem is not size it’s Trajectory and Dependencies;

  • UX = T small, understood activity : D access to target audience to validate success and failure paths
  • Fe = T mid, may need investigation : D access to dummy credentials store
  • Be = T long, will require architecture to respond to scalability and bandwidth changes : D modelling data, server set up, pen testing

Once there is a fuller understanding of these very different aspects of defining, designing, building and deploying it’s become clear that these areas have common points but cannot be run together as and Agile project and to tell client’s that they are is not true.

Agilists don’t call this blind behaviour Agile, we call it Fragile (When Agile becomes Fragile nobody Wins) as we know it will shatter at the first problem.

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#Strategic and #lean #thinking in private investment and asset portfolio participants part 2

There are several types of on boarding that relate to both business and investors structure and size, their specific purpose for investing and their local regulatory constraints.

The Main Participants

I will be focusing on four main participants in this post financial advisers (FA) and investors (I), either or both of these may be constituted by companies, funds or individuals and para planners (PP), local office administrators (external or internal) (AD), company back office administrators (AD). Other participants are traders, local regulation, international treaties, company regulation, regulatory reporting, trustees, product managers and the security services.

Financial Adviser

The role of the financial adviser is shaped by the organisation they work for both by its nature and its size. As a general rule, the smaller the firm, the more the adviser is likely to be involved in the process of client management. They will be managing their calendar, running segmentation reports, and getting to know the systems their firm uses. An adviser in a larger firm may spend more time on face-to-face client interaction and will delegate other tasks to administrators and Para-planners. They will be an avid consumer of research, but might have summaries prepared by para-planners. The adviser’s use of online tools and services will vary, but this is an attitudinal variable and is less correlated to the size of firm. They may view online tools as essential to helping perform well on behalf of their clients, in which case they will be a demanding and sometimes critical user. Alternatively they may be wary of disintermediation, seeing online servicing as a threat and something that could devalue the relationships they have carefully cultivated with their clients.

Financial Advisor High Level Processes by Karl Smith
Financial Advisor High Level Processes by Karl Smith


Para-planners are usually younger than advisers, and probably use online tools more frequently during the average working day. They will often carry out tasks for example, creating illustrations or portfolio models on the instructions of a financial adviser or as a way to show capability for the next step in their career. Although the Para-planner often carries out similar tasks to the administrator, their context of use differs. They may be an aspiring adviser herself, and their tasks are usually part of a larger, open-ended activity, such as research, where they help shape the approach. This means that although Para-planners often make use of process-heavy features, they are less process-driven than administrators. For Para-planners, attitudes to technology may be less behaviour-defining than for advisers: not at a sufficiently advanced career stage to make decisions on behalf of the firm, and will make use of the technologies available. Finally, they are likely to be heavily involved in the planning and aftermath of client review meetings, even if they do not attend them. They will play an essential role in meeting preparation and in executing any follow-up actions agreed with the client. In this sense they are a key resource for the adviser, and will therefore value any tools that help them work more rapidly and more effectively.

Para Planner High Level Processes by Karl Smith
Para Planner High Level Processes by Karl Smith


Of all the participants the investor is most subject to variation. The main reason for this is that, while other participants are shaped to a certain extent by their job roles and the responsibilities, constraints and priorities these involve, investors are strongly defined by attitudinal factors which vary from individual to individual. One key factor that defines how an investor interacts with the product company is their degree of financial mediation, with discretionary investors on one end of the spectrum and self-directed investors on the other. The differences between these extremes are so significant that, these will need to be defined as distinct participants later. Other factors that will strongly shape investor behaviour include risk tolerance, investment horizon, degree of financial engagement & sophistication, the amount of time devoted to financial matters, and the way online information is located and used (this last factor is important even if an investor is entirely discretionary). It is also important to remember that the investor participants as well as the product company’s business goals relating to them are heavily affected by the stage of their relationship with the product company and with their adviser.

Investor High Level Processes by Karl Smith
Investor High Level Processes by Karl Smith


The roles carried out by administrators can vary significantly based on size of firm and the age or career ambitions of the administrator. Some administrators see the job as a transitional stage before attending university and receiving a financial qualification others might be called “career administrators” and might have been working in this role for many years. Some administrators especially career administrators may have become experts in the systems they use on a daily basis. In smaller and mid-sized firms, these administrators will probably be the company’s leading expert on these systems, and there are real-life examples of administrators who have created manuals for asset management systems which are used to train new staff. These experts can sometimes be most resistant to changes, even when the changes represent a tangible improvement, as they have invested so much time becoming familiar with the old system. Resistance to change is less pronounced among administrators who are younger, less experienced, or who do not intend to stay in the role in the longer term. Administrators are not key decision-makers in an organisation, but they are key users, if a system frustrates them and reduces their efficiency, their firm will suffer.


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Five most #common #failures of business #change and #transformation projects

Ever since transformation and change were linked to technology some of the worst parts of both have been combined on a national level and within major companies.

Giving users less functionality than they currently have and telling them it’s a great leap forward.

It is astonishing but this is the most common failing in projects, for some reason senior stakeholders appear to be convinced that technology is good and experience is bad. And if they concentrate on a new end state, all that is bad will go away. In a sad way all that is experience and knowledge are the things that go away often taking competitive advantage with them.

Asking stakeholders how things work even thought they only ever watch the outcomes and have no idea how things really work now.

Stakeholders by their very name determine that they are involved in the politics of a project, but they are considerably distanced from how thing work as they tend to represent management. This is less about the structure of projects in companies than how consultancies fail to ask questions about the current state, transition and opportunities into a project from a workers perspective and for service users.

Changing the requirements without understanding the long term debilitating impact of these changes.

There is without fail a point in all projects where the requirements will need to be changed due to cost, time or other constraint. At this critical point uniformly the future impact is relegated either to a later phase or someone else’s problem. While this at first sight is simply avoidance the impact in change, transformation and technology is significant often turning the current solution from strategic into nothing more than another tactical change that will need to be replaced.

Conducting due diligence on the project as a whole instead of across every aspect of the project at each stage and to the same consistent standard.

This may seem just a simple process but it is so often badly applied or not applied at all. There is naturally excitement when a project is in full flight but this some might say boring exercise often defines success or failure and will absolutely manage cost overruns which are often hidden by changing the requirements.

Not properly estimating and often severely underestimating the time it takes to create, refine, model, build and test solutions.

The reason that estimates are not correct is that translating requirements is not included in project planning. Project requirements must be translated into technical business requirements and user requirement both of which require testing and validation at a concept level before a solution can be considered to reliable, this is why so many project fail to deliver.

A brief note on requirements: Wish lists that make up an end state are not requirements these are just goals, requirements are what you get when you translate them into each delivery channel. For example the requirements to offer services to clients are different in mobile, desktop, telephony, marketing, pr etc. and they do not translate in the detail required to deliver. This is a highly common experience that no amount of lean and agile methodologies can make up or user experience cover up for the fact that most requirements given to technology as the bases of solutions are not fit for purpose.

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How Karl Smith thinks and solves problems is based upon a literature review from his MSc 2005 on eCommerce

1.1      Overview of Chapter

There are three clear aspects that underwrite internet shopping under review. Firstly that many companies believe by converting a process using technology that it becomes more successful. Automatic acceptance that establishing internet presence achieve sales, without in-depth research is a prime example of technological determinism. Secondly the relationship to how a consumer behaves and interacts within internet shops, what elements effect their decisions and define their final results (O’Cass, 2002). Finally there is an aspect based upon social communication systems, in how they are transformed by their use on the internet. An understanding of the foundation of the internet is also required to set the scene into which these various aspects are reviewed.

1.2      Foundation of the Internet

In order to understand internet shopping the foundations of the technology and the reasons for its development need to be understood. While the World Wide Web (WWW) is a relatively new idea, commencing in the 1980’s the foundations of it can be traced to the work of people like Vannevar Bush in the 1930’s and 1940’s (Bush, 1945). Bush was mainly concerned with the logistics of vast amounts of statistical data and saw his role being overwhelmed in the future. His idea was to extend human capacity for the storing and retrieval of information through mechanistic augmentation. This information was to have a linking / indexing technology and was later developed into hypertext. Douglas Engelbart attributed his work on hypertext to Bush’s concept of “Memex” (Engelbart, 1962). Using hypertext Tim Berners-Lee was able to develop linking pages of information at CERN which was the first internal net (Berners-Lee, 1989). Throughout its development and application the internet provided ways to store, disseminate and share information which supported various centred human activities.

1.3      Technological Determinism

There is a notional level where technology creates an absolute route to a desired conclusion. This determination surmises a benign, logical process or system which creates processes and control mechanisms free from random, illogical and uncontrolled influences (McLoughlin, 1999). However while an idealised perfect use of technology may create such an operation its use by people automatically creates random, illogical and uncontrolled influences.

1.3.1      Foundation of Commercial Computing

During the initial development of computers certain decisions were made that had a profound influence upon all future computer based technologies (Naughton, 1999). Land (1999) describes how the cost of transaction processing time was very high due to the initial data having to be aggregated to suit the formats of available computer languages. The cost of initial data preparation was absorbed into human time which was then far cheaper than computer time. In this relationship humans were subsumed to basic data conversion for input/output tasks, while the computer carried out complex data analysis tasks. In this definition of interaction, each component operates by predefined tasks which enable a cost effective mode of computing. This was set and operated within one social, hardware and software timeframe. However, this deterministic philosophy has, since the 1950’s, become embedded in computer design and commercial usage culture.

1.3.2      Commercial Computing and the Internet

Commercial companies have since the 1940’s, with the development of the J. Lyons computer (Land, 1999), been using technology to augment business processes. Their priority was the analysis of data to cut costs and maintain a competitive advantage, through supply chain management (SCM) systems. Multiple supply routes, manufacture, distribution and sales are responsive along a closed cyclic system with each other. Further developing of this cyclic process involved localised data entry and the development of network solutions (Laudon and Laudon, 2004).  Because of this previous experience companies developing into the open market system of the internet were unprepared for a sophisticated user group able to shop elsewhere.

1.3.3      Internet Statistics

Statistics are a cornerstone of many commercial activities especially product sales which are augmented by market forces studies, demographic and product focus groups. These studies create past, present and forecast data for statistical and descriptive strategic planning (Evans, 2000). It is to prove return on investment (ROI) that many deterministic data review methods have been used in relation to internet shopping. In internet shopping the use of retrospective data is uniform and is based upon past clicks, page views and cookies that sample user information.

1.3.4      Data Mining and Information Foraging

Existing retrospective statistic based methodologies produce results that use data mining or information foraging techniques to reflect upon what has happened on websites. They do this in an attempt to forecast which elements of a website lead to users making purchases and which elements do not. The resultant data suggests ways to increase conversion from browsers to buyers by improved linking between websites elements. These systems rely upon information foraging and web data mining techniques, to predict optimal relationships between data and page locations. They often use complex mathematics to create algorithms intended to describe patterns of use, access routes and cue to activity (Chi, et al. 2000). The concept of Information Scents, suggests that users decide on their course of action based upon cues, which derive behavioural patterns of interaction then form guide routes. This formalised process lacks input from either cognitive processes or cultural human contexts.

1.3.5      Use of Data and Information

The Cognitive Walkthrough of the Web (CWW) has attempted to marry information scent with cognitive processes (Blackmon, et al. 2002). Recognition is however given that different user populations produce different results and no testing was done in this area. The Bloodhound Project sought to create automated, usability and accessibility reviews based upon InfoScent™ (Chi, et al. 2003). The project attempts to formulate a clear method showing consistent, measurable elements that provide benefit in the form of usability inspection tools for designing websites. These ways of interpreting website data have not been supported by the commercial usability community. They rather believe that the results are synonymous with a specific type observation of users seeking information. This deceptive description of informational routes is stated regardless of where the user finds what they are looking for (Nielsen, 2004). However User Centred Design (UCD) also uses the notion of mapped routes of activity which are intrinsic to inspection and usability developments in by consultants (Lazar, 2001). While there is a conflicting view of how to interpret this data, clients continue to have the problem with accessing “actionable statistics” (Foley, 2001) for businesses decisions. Additionally while consultant’s methods of measurement remain opaque, they will have their veracity questioned (Rosenfield, 2001). Both of these are highly limited expressions of human interaction as they lack any deep understanding of why these actions were taken. No understanding of human intention, for product purchase can be observed through this data.

1.4      Consumer Behaviour and Interaction

A common description of interaction is, we are what we do, but this depends upon what is measured. This limited view of people is supported by those who use website statistical data to determine interaction, yet is it this simple to understand people? An understanding of cognitive functions, desires, experiences and the purpose of activities offers characterisation to establish measurable dimensions in internet shopping.

1.4.1      Cognitive Functions in Interaction

Human cognitive functions in the area of interaction considered in this project rely upon several types of input. These include desire or drivers on a contextual basis unaffected by usability issues but defined by consumer traits (Perea, et al. 2004). Inputs also come from experiences in personal / social and commodity / product relationships which create biographical templates (Kopytoff, 1986). Inputs are derived from current activity as a form of self narrative (Flanagan, et al. 1998) and related to a specific time frame. Finally there are inputs that describe aspirations and goals (Hutchins, 1995). These inputs drive choices and decision activity prior to new actions and act as a description of cognitive engineering (Long and Dowell, 1998). Additionally they establish a personalised framework for the characterisation of success, error and failure in complex tasks. Ultimately a formal measurement of interaction is needed, as a process rather than just a destination (Green and Petre, 1996). In the interim the term narrative enables an interpretation and review of real time activity data.

1.4.2      Desires and Drivers

To start activity some form of catalytic reason, desire or drive is required. Not only does this define the activity but it determines aspects of how it progresses and describes a condition of success. This initiator can be based upon environmental factors including other people, society, places or environments and systems which may be attributed or conferred upon the user.  These catalysts then operated in a multi-dimensional framework that can be influenced by many factors.

1.4.3      Biographical Templates

User’s experiences inform their attitude and response to stimuli. In the case of gender, women have in the past twenty years created their own digital divide gaining on and overtaking men in the accessing and utilising of internet shopping (Ono and Zavodny, 2003). This can be seen as an iteration of female shopping experience accessing a new channel. However as the process evolved over considerable time additional factors should be considered. Human physical, emotional and experiential activity maintains a biographical element through significant moments or indices. These indices create biographical competencies that relate success, failure, frustration and many other emotions to activity in social, mechanical and technological environments. As a construct that determines choice, a biography (Appadurai, 1988), (Kopytoff, 1988) is superimposed upon objects or commodities defining where they have been, how they have been changed by external factors and proposing trajectories and possible blockages. Activity is obscured by many external factors including historical, political or social conventions. Biographical notation enables the salient understanding of information that would otherwise be lost. The understanding of human interaction can be viewed as participation in the creation of personal historical elements having both biographical and active elements. The cultural disposition of technology, interactions and resultant pathways remain difficult to interpret without recourse to an activity framework. A method is then required to relate the electronic media habitus to external attributable counterpoints.

1.4.4      Temporal Narratives

Narratives allow the recording of active elements in internet shopping, which describe responses to information in numerous potential trajectories (Jennings, 2005). While this narrative can be characterised through a think aloud protocol (Ericsson and Simon, 1980) representations of this discourse establish the foundations of individual drives towards action (Nakhimovsky, 1988). Effective mapping can be achieved using a lexical approach (Gulrajani, 2003) as associated with recovering endangered languages. This would allow the use of rational linguistic descriptions of dimensions including orthography, morphology, syntax and semantics. The creation of a lexical basis (Pustejovsky, 1991) makes individual actions expressible aspects of groups of actions (Flanagan, 1998) with related compound, processed and adaptive meanings.

1.4.5      Goals

Goals can be a descriptor of predetermined final destinations or may offer a general context rather than a specific, “I’m looking for a book” as opposed to “I’m looking for this book”. The general interpretation of an open and untamed (Benyon, et al. 2005) source of information like the World Wide Web (WWW) requires a systematic review of actions. Actions and user activity in relation to an observable world require a common representation to determine navigation, related target acquisition or goals (Jul and Furnas, 1997). These goals can subsequently be reduced to a form of knowledge morpheme. As an inter-related sub-rationale unit “the item I seek”, the goal then would have a distinct and finite form. In seeking to achieve these goals, adaptations have been established by reduction or addition “the item I seek is not available in red” so to gain my item, “I will take it in black”.

1.4.6      Adaptations

Adaptation allows the extension of narratives creating alternative experiences on the same object or situation (Nakhimovsky, 1988). Further modifications can be made in a process of use, where adversity produces redirection. Often activity adversity is characterised by choices in terms of “satisficers and maximizers” (Schwartz, 2004) too little or too much information causing sensory deprivation or overload. In these cases activity may cease through this adversity or be directed to an alternative source of information (Hudson, 2005).

1.4.7      Conventions

Conventions allow the creation of index points in a narrative activity where rule systems have affected internet activity (Flanagan, et al. 1998). Agreement of conventions in social, emotional and commercial arenas for completion, enable a measurable resolution to tasks. Social conventions are considerably more complex that is possible to iterate in this project. It is difficult to externally characterise an individual’s success, error and failure except by some imposed system. Error and failure to fulfil planned system objectives in human related systems is inevitable (Hutchins, 1995). Commercial conventions have been integrated into internet shopping design.

1.5      Social Communication Systems

Gaining cognition of interaction relies not only upon what is done but to discern what is intended. The study of shopping is associated with sociology, cultural theory and research (Miller, 2001). Miller discloses a highly complex process and is reactive to social, environmental, ethical and economic contexts. There are similarities between the results of offline shopping and online shopping, in the transfer of a product or services for payment. However these processes are not exactly the same and operate differently from each other.

1.5.1      Social Conventions and Signs

Conventions create a common acceptable process for activity allowing social constructs like chatting with friends to transcend their normal ecosystem. They can then interpose themselves, with modifications upon new environments and media. Obvious modifications in chat rooms involve not seeing people’s faces, observing intonation in vocal patterns and confirmation of identity. These elements allow the building of a picture explaining no just where activity is, but also what is acceptable in this area.

1.5.2      Social Mediation

Mediation is developed as a process to amalgamate and morph interfaces. In the case of a chat room, mediation is approved form of language, including slang like “lol” meaning laugh out loud. Changes operation by talking through a keyboard, how the experience is visualised and environment of public conversation from a private location are mediated by software and existing social constraints. Where the mediator gains a pivotal role in any transaction its affect is continually present, thought how it mediates is not necessarily visible (Dourish, 2001).

1.5.3      Commodities, Circulation and Exchange

Our cultural values have been modified by access to information sources through the internet that were not previously available. The “way things are used” has been transformed into commodity in its own right rather than just what is used (Appadurai, 1988). For example; buying chocolates for a friend in another country over the internet allows a purchase from their local store. This shows the commodity process of purchase, extraneously from seeking information and looking at products. Where new aspects of commodities are implied there are changes in the ways thing circulate. Who has access to these items? What is their intention? Questions like this then become critical as recognisable terms of social regulation and acceptable behaviour become opaque. This further influences society redefining aspects of exchange, as now anyone can get an item, regardless of social standing or perceived suitability.

1.5.4      Consumption

There is a complex relationship between consumption and “individual choice set within a market structure” (Miller, 1998).  Simply because an item is available as an option or choice it is not implicit that it will be consumed. Rather other external factors describe consumption. Before the internet simple elements like consumption and redemption changed from barter with avatars like money or credit. These symbols of value have the potential to be interpreted or misinterpretation, unless linked to specific results. Other factors enable the distortion of the process by intervention through perceived or imposed social or legal conventions.

1.5.5      Trust and Legalities

The internet has created a dynamic relationship with users through immediate access to information; however the normal or primary social mannerisms that can be tested through a face to face transaction do not exist. Without the capacity to determine the truth of information gained, secondary clues are required (Chong and Liu, 2000). The nature of trust and legal recourse on the internet is a matter of great concern yet there is limited research to determine what factors create these aspects in internet shoppers. Other factors that engender trust in offline shopping include privacy (Miller, 1998). Privacy concerns will be a defining aspect of consumer confidence and company profitability (Prabhaker, 2000) in the future.

1.6      Human Computer Interaction

HCI has its basis in sociological philosophies and academic research (Benyon and Imaz, 1999). HCI has evolved around interface design in effect dealing with problematic interfaces that were produced due to subsuming of humanity to a secondary element in the computation processes. In a recent keynote lecture Alistair Sutcliff from University of Manchester suggested that HCI should “pillage any discipline with theories we can use” (Sutcliff, 2005) this underlying focus on importation poses questions regarding the state of HCI theories and their capacity to comment upon research.

1.6.1      HCI Theories

A variety of theoretical approaches exist that attempt to characterise HCI (Sutcliffe, et al. 1991) but a full definition remains elusive as its context involves evolutionary elements. HCI is constantly developing as new research becomes available for review. HCI as a product of research (Long and Dowell, 1989) is defined by its own title and constantly seeks to define this relationship by various forms of computer interface. However this project is more focused on the interaction element. Interaction is a combination of human and computer where the starting point is humans. As with most other HCI studies consideration is made to human factors for initial affects upon the character of a study population. However this project goes deeper into aspects of user demographics in relation to activity.

Diagnostic methods of review (Smith, 2005) like grounded theory do not predispose research data acquisition or review method. It suggests an emergent form of theory choice, by what fits the results (Glaser, 1967). Emergent review of data fundamentally differs from a hypothesis testing as it creates a theory from the available result data. This kind of theoretical base is quite compelling when faced with so many potential theories to examine and review human interaction data.  Interaction mediates in the process where human physical, emotional and experiential activity correlates to a machine world (Jul and Furnas, 1997). This counterpart machine world displaces recognised liner actions (Wegner, 1997) shown through data with parallel activity in new systems. This further requires a need to understand both constructs relative to one another. Recent ideas of embodied interaction suggest this context of real and mechanical / electronic world as a unifying characteristic of separate domains. “Embodied interaction” poses the idea that embedded tangible and social computing systems define their meaning from their context rather than the parts that create them. This is a central theme in understanding interaction. Thematic approaches afford an elemental view of interaction drawing from many disciplines rather than seeing hierarchies in theoretical relevance (Dourish, 2001). Rather than a forced acceptance of one methodology over another a unification of activity theories and practice offers a valuable and functional appraisal of activity. While embodied interaction aligns many disciplines there remains a lack of relevant interlaced underpinned conceptual and philosophical work (Sutcliffe, et al. 1991). Several associated theories have attempted to capitalise upon this situation by trying overwriting HCI with more recognisable commercial theories (Kuutti, 1995) like Activity Theory. This situation has evoked a process of reflection upon the fundamental basis of this arena of science.

1.6.2      Scientific Foundation of HCI

HCI attributes its basis to scientific process, theoretical forms and systematic methods. The primary underlying philosophy of science is logic through progressive selection, review and interpretation of data.  Formalised modern logical philosophy is derived through Aristotelian logic as defined by Plato’s review of Socrates understandings of his mentor (Plato, 372BC) in western societies.

1.6.3      Socratic Logic

Socratic logic or the Socratic Method involves a dialogical process operating through reduction. An initial hypothesis is made then contradictions are observed which are used to steadily undermine and modify the original hypothesis. An example of Socratic logic is statistics where data that falls within specific boundaries or fences is accepted and outer fence or outlier data is removed. Provided a justification for removal is stated little consideration is given to the potential loss of perspective and the morphing of results through distorted windows of interpretation. While this logical process creates definitive results the capacity to relate this information back into real world environments is questionable in the same way that a picture once reduced, when re-enlarged cannot be exactly reconstituted but loses its smoothed edges. This is an example of data captured being lost by the application of a Socratic logical philosophy which has been transformed into a process.

1.6.4      Dialectic Logic

In “Phänomenologie des Geistes” The Phenomenology of Spirit or The Phenomenology of Mind in English (Hegel, 1807) an alternative basis for logic is offered by Hegel where a threefold approach of hypothesis is stated, an antithesis proposed and a synthesis is created. While these terms are not directly attributed to Hegel they are his legacy. This evolutionary process seeks to consider a counter-proposition in relation to the proposed.  By creating a question the desired trajectory of research is set, however if the immediate response is to consider the fallibility of the hypothesis then a more considered question, based upon combination is possible.

1.6.5      Mechanistic vs. Humanistic Logic

Both Socratic and Hegelian logic have derivative philosophies which have affected perceptions of humanity and create datum’s that guide theoretical developments. These theoretical developments can then be associated through the philosophies of Socrates / Bourdieu, deterministic subordination and Hegel / Marx open system materialism. Socratic / Bourdieu logic and social theoretic forms observe deterministic absolutes. Bourdieu determined that a society’s structure is defined by cultural and social inequality, which pervades all forms of interaction (Bourdieu, 1990). This would be exemplified by an elite class controlling access to new technology. Dialectic logic seeks to see a complex relationship between concurrent processes. By maintaining a pragmatic view of these theoretical ideologies and philosophies it is possible to present inter-related propositions relating HCI to logical activity within a whole unedited context. While Hegel / Marx reserve an organic logical form specific to each interaction. Trotsky, Marx, Engels and Lenin modified Hegel’s dialectic, though the only specific note of this was published after Engels death in “Nature of Dialectics”  (Engels, 1883) by the removal of its idealistic orientation. Under Marxism Hegel’s dialectic logic evolved into dialectic materialism, retaining its essential focus upon contradiction. This would be exemplified by the recognition that immigrant populations provide valuable assets in society, where the social atmosphere might be chauvinistic. In an internet context, research that revealed outlier data and contradictions would be included in the results. Methods of measurement are intrinsic to scientific developments and enable provable and repeatable theoretical works. In this manner survey based web metrics could be considered to be the thesis; observed ethnographically derived data an antithesis and a combination of these results the synthesis.  The inclusion of contradictions and outlier data in both forms of research would therefore maintain a holistic view of interaction.

1.7      Summary & Conclusion

The integration of informational aspirations and commercial functionality in the WWW has created a melange of vying purposes which remain prevalent in shopping website design. The change in status associated with a shopper who becomes an internet shopper revolves around a process of modification by action, environment, methods of acquisition and appropriation. While similarities are used as procedural points or avatars technological modifications produce diverse and untamed results more associated with wicked problem solving (wicked and untamed) than logical progressions.  There is a direct cultural relationship to the way people utilise and react to internet technology.

The continuing battle between mechanistic technological determinism and humanistic evolutionary theoretical forms remains a central focus of our society, setting its aspirations and defining its potentialities. These two competing forces have produced developments in both our understandings of technology, its social impact and delineating the boundaries of developments. The involvement of people in this process undermines any deterministic view of interaction. If modifications in interaction are characterised using Socratic logic, results that contradict the hypothesis modify it, but they are lost in progressive changes and outlier data is not reported. If both the acquisition and review of data follows dialectic logic the initial hypothesis is kept. Each contradiction and outlier is noted as antithesis, and then both hypothesis and antithesis are combined to create a synthesis. It may be that dialectic thinking has been sidestepped due to its association with Marxism. This affords an organic melding of ideas as opposed the reductionism of the Socratic Method.

1.8      Design & Implementation

In the process of generating this review a lack of previous research about consumers thinking when using internet shops has been observed. As a consequence of this, a pilot study has been produced to find the questions that will elicit that information. Additionally who is asked is as much of a priority as what is asked. In this respect students are considered to have a technologically superior experience than the average consumer. This population group has not been the main source of data, but rather an open demograph has been employed. Extending the pilot study into a main study has depended upon this literature review and the pilot study results. Both research procedures have informed on key characteristic of structure, content and method of review. A counterpoint to these studies is needed to offer results that are balanced showing both local and remote data capture. The counterpoint study is based upon observation and recordings of interaction scenarios and interviews. Scenarios are often used in UCD to establish a user’s experience of an interface (Lazar, 2001). However in this case they were used to observe participants accessing both prior experience and in gaining new experiences, so that these processes could be compared. Secondly they were used to view differences between consumer users and heuristic user shopping. In this way consideration in given towards the technological experience of the participant and the effects that it may produce in the results. Dialectic logic has been used as the basis of data capture and review.


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The conclusions of this Study will follow soon.

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