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Hardcover | Out of Print | 382 pp. | 6 x 9 in | August 2000 | ISBN: 9780262032797
eBook | $18.95 X | December 2002 | ISBN: 9780262290630
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Making Use

Scenario-Based Design of Human-Computer Interactions


Difficult to learn and awkward to use, today's information systems often change our activities in ways that we do not need or want. The problem lies in the software development process. In this book John Carroll shows how a pervasive but underused element of design practice, the scenario, can transform information systems design.Traditional textbook approaches manage the complexity of the design process via abstraction, treating design problems as if they were composites of puzzles. Scenario-based design uses concretization. A scenario is a concrete story about use. For example: "A person turned on a computer; the screen displayed a button labeled Start; the person used the mouse to select the button." Scenarios are a vocabulary for coordinating the central tasks of system development--understanding people's needs, envisioning new activities and technologies, designing effective systems and software, and drawing general lessons from systems as they are developed and used. Instead of designing software by listing requirements, functions, and code modules, the designer focuses first on the activities that need to be supported and then allows descriptions of those activities to drive everything else.In addition to a comprehensive discussion of the principles of scenario-based design, the book includes in-depth examples of its application.

About the Author

John M. Carroll is a professor in the School of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University, University Park, PA. He has been elected into the CHI Academy by The Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI) in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service in the field of computer-human interaction.


“Carroll draws on an impressively large body of research to present the mostthorough treatment yet of a powerful idea: employing scenarios to make sureuser interfaces are designed for the way people actually use things.How much easier the world would be if everybody followed his advice.”
Jakob Nielsen, Co-Founder, Nielsen Norman Group, and author of DesigningWeb Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
“Scenario-based deisgn is becoming increasingly recognised as a powerful way of designing new systems. John M. Caroll's latest book, which pulls together work he and his colleagues have been engaged in for the last ten years, is therefore timely. Making Use provides a thoughtful critique of the use of scenarios in design and provides numerous examples that illustrate how a scenario-based approach can provide an integrated focus for design that is informal yet systematic.”
Dr. Allan MacLean, Xerox Research Centre Europe
“Masterfully written, deep, and thoughtful. The book goes directly to the essential questions of HCI design--what will users seeks to accompish, what understanings will they bring, and how can the system respond to users' needs?”
Jim Foley, Georgia Institute of Technology
“This book provides a stimulating and thoughtful examination of the complexities underlying the design process of current information technology. Combining the anecdotal with the empirical, and examining success stories as well as design failures, Carroll provides a rich analysis of how decisions are made and methods are applied which frequently fail to produce the desired results for users. In this book he offers a thorough and compelling account of how scenario-based design can both improve the process and advance the theory of design. In articulating and advocating scenario-based approaches Carroll reminds us that good design is, above all, fundamentally grounded in human communication.”
Dr. Andrew Dillon, Indiana University