Designing smart call forwarding: creating a new type of product

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ergonomi och aerosolteknologi

Abstract: One of the difficulties in designing new products is the absence of already tried metaphors, designs or ways to talk about the system. This thesis focuses on methods and practises one could potentially use when designing something new - and if there are any challenges one need to aware of as a designer of such a system. In order to devise, and test, these practices and methods, an example system was designed. The system forwards calls based on data in a spreadsheet. The data in the spreadsheet is put there by an administrator. That way, forwarding calls based on their incoming number is made reachable. When designing this system, the authors investigated customer needs, investigated how the users described their needs, designed a mock-up and implemented a functioning prototype. During this process the design was evaluated through inspections and user tests. The biggest challenge during the project was to communicate the product to the user which sets up the system. It was to communicate what the product does and the benefits with the product. Ultimately, it was hard finding an appropriate metaphor to use and to have terminology and labels which describe the system to the user well. To contest this difficulty, a new technique was developed and tested by the authors. The new technique, which was called a search test, let potential users search for a solution to the problem on the internet - while their choice of search-terms and comments were noted. This paper also reviews designing with a third party as part of the user experience and the challenges that introduces. It was found that the users found it very surprising when the third party app was opened. Thus, it is very important to frequently and clearly inform the user of future behaviour. Another thing of importance was that using a third party disallowed the designers the use of constraints when the user was working in the third party application, this was found to be a severe hindrance and something to be mindful of when choosing which third party to use.

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