Context of use are the conditions and constraints associated with the use of a product or service by actual customers. Collection and analysis of such scenarios is a common way to improve designs. The following are illustrative examples of context of use.
Urban DesignA bicyclist who has no alternative but to lock their bike to a street pole often finds that their bike has fallen down when they return to it. Pedestrians often find they need to navigate around fallen bicycles.
Business SoftwareA salesperson who fills out customer orders for telecom services often has to confirm details with two or more people such as business units, IT contacts and facility managers. As the order form isn't savable, the salesperson often find themselves abandoning the form partially completed as they need to confirm a required field.
DevicesA student is often working until the last moment before classes or bed. When they shutdown their computer they get numerous messages warning about running applications. This slows the process of turning the device off and adds no value from the user's perspective as they always save their work and their software tools all have auto-save functions.
FashionIn Japan, it is common for people to have to remove their shoes at lunches, dinners and social functions to enter a room with traditional tatami flooring. In this context, shoe laces can be quite inconvenient. For example, ten people may leave a restaurant at the same time creating a traffic jam at a narrow entrance as people use the area to tie their shoes.
ProductsA baby stroller comes with a rain cover with 12 button clips. When it suddenly starts raining, a parent needs to manage a toddler and a baby, hold an umbrella and clip the 12 buttons on a crowded sidewalk at a theme park.
NotificationsA smart refrigerator warns users if milk has expired every time they open the refrigerator door. A roommate who has no authority to throw the milk out hears the warning 27 times before the roommate who owns the milk disposes of it.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about user experience.
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