Cognetics delivers consistently superb designs, in part, because of our LUCID Framework. (For an in-depth look at the framework, you can download an introduction to LUCID).
LUCID is a framework for conducting the activities that define and shape interactive products. LUCID not only focuses on what the product should do but on how it should work for users. This is important because traditionally, many products have been created by constructing lists of functional requirements and then “checking them off”. This practice rarely produces top notch products because it fails to recognize that good product design is more than simply an inventory of capabilities. Products need to work in an intuitive, integrated way.
The Five E's
A key principle of The LUCID Framework is that products should be designed to offer users the “five E’s:” effectiveness, efficiency, engagement, error tolerance and ease of learning.
LUCID Offers Users "The Five E's"
There is never any ambiguity about people’s desire for usability. Users always want a product to be extremely usable. But conflicting goals often make usability difficult to achieve. Conflicting agendas among the various stakeholders, technical constraints, time and budget pressures, legal considerations and miscommunication, all take their toll on usability.
Finding the Sweet Spot
Even in the simplest environments, there is often a conflict among technical considerations, business goals and user needs. For every project, there is a “sweet spot” that represents the best balance among the conflicting goals.
Typically, the business players are interested in such element as costs, revenue, market share, and time to market. Technology players are concerned with such elements as ease of development or configuration, maintainability, and reliability. Users are interested in extreme usability – products that deliver the functionality they envision in an efficient and easy to use package.
The LUCID Framework helps you balance these pressures and preserve usability in what can easily become a chaotic environment. It accomplishes this by:
- defining the processes and tasks that support usability throughout the product development lifecycle.
- providing templates for gathering data and producing outputs.
- defining roles and responsibilities of the LUCID Team
- suggesting when management reviews are appropriate.
- helping with communication and collaboration among all the stakeholders and, when collaboration breaks down, troubleshooting the problem and getting the project back on track.
Flexibility is Essential
Because every project is different, LUCID has been designed to be both flexible and adaptable. It suggests what activities need to be performed and their sequence but it does not mandate specific techniques for accomplishing them. It provides decision templates to help structure the activities for a particular project.
Over the past two decades many powerful techniques for user-centered design have been created. LUCID provides a framework for selecting and sequencing appropriate techniques but it does not replace them. The goal of LUCID is to leverage the best thinking of the user-centered design community.
Supporting the Team
Having a clear, replicable development methodology is critical to creating usable products. From the developers’ point of view, technical development is the project. But other players, such as business and marketing participants, business process engineers and usability professionals, see technical development as the means to accomplish a business goal. It may not be realistic to demand that all participants in the project see it in the same way.
What is necessary is for the various members of the team to understand when their input and decisions are required. Because the technical development is often the most expensive, time-consuming and risky element of the project, chaos is minimized when the development team follows a clear development process. This not only helps the development team structure its work, but makes it possible to identify the points at which input and decisions are needed from other members of the team.