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Human-Centered Design


FSTJ 2009-4 Cover Image

2009-4 (Vol.45, No.2)


This special issue introduces the current state of human-centered design (HCD) in Japan and other countries and describes how HCD is progressing throughout the Fujitsu Group in many areas. This special issue describes processes and organizational restructuring to promote HCD, the development of HCD-related guidelines and tools, and product case studies in Fujitsu.



2009-4 (Vol.45, No.2) Contents

1. Preface (457 KB)
For an IT system to be used effectively as a key element of management, it must be optimized for the people that use it, the tasks to which it is applied, and the place where it is used. This requires that we observe users carefully, identify on-site problems, and make improvements accordingly. In this regard, HCD has never been more important than now. I believe that HCD activities help to promote "field innovation" and a management approach that begins with the customer. ---[Junichi Murashima, Corporate First Senior Vice President]

Trends and Fujitsu's Approach

2. Fujitsu's Activities for Human-Centered Design (816 KB)
Information technology (IT) has become an indispensible part of our lives from work to everyday living. It has also become extremely complex as it attempts to support a variety of objectives at the same time. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important that IT systems, as an indispensible element of modern society, be designed so that a wide variety of people can use them with ease. To provide customers with quality IT systems on an ongoing basis under such conditions, attention must be focused on the people that use these systems. First, problems in the field must be analyzed comprehensively in a human-centered way taking into account user sentiments, work and communication in the field, and equipment and space. Next, operations and facilities in the field must be optimized taking into account the characteristics of the people who will be using the system. This paper introduces Fujitsu's approach to human-centered design and current activities supporting its use. ---[Kimitaka Kato, Akihiro Iwazaki]
3. Trends of Human-Centered Design Standardization in Japan and Overseas (674 KB)
Given the comprehensive scope of human-centered design (HCD) and the extreme difficulty in systematically understanding its nature, most standardization efforts for HCD to date have been limited to describing its future orientation or giving a partial prescription of its concept. However, some attempts have begun to understand HCD in broader frameworks and to introduce more specific tests and perspectives.
As part of this trend, many fact-based approaches are seen in various areas of the world. Particularly, Japan has played an important role in international standardization efforts and is expected to further contribute to this initiative in future.
This paper surveys the current HCD frameworks that encompass Japanese and international standards, de facto standards, regulatory provisions, and other requirements regarding HCD. It also describes recent trends in both Western and Asian countries. ---[Kunio Tsutatani]

Viewpoints and Activities

4. Human-Centered Business Process Management (613 KB)
We present a business process development method that considers human actions and skills up front and then fills in information technology functions to support them. This approach is suitable for business processes identified as "facilitator processes", in which people inherently play parts that cannot be easily replaced by automation. ---[Keith Swenson, Jim Farris]
5. Proposal for Service-Oriented Design Processes (905 KB)
Product design is typically based on market research to clarify the features and benefits desired by consumers. However, the trend among customers has recently shifted from only purchasing products to experiencing services. This makes it more difficult for manufacturers to create products to attract customers. Manufacturers should focus on offering customers good experiences through their products and services. In this situation, designers should envision future lifestyles by observing customer behavior. They need to contribute to product development by imagining our future lives, creating scenarios of services desired by customers, and designing products on the basis of this approach. In this way, product design will promote "service-oriented design". This is important because service-oriented design will be mandatory in the ubiquitous era. In this paper, we introduce service-oriented design processes with specific design examples. ---[Yoshihiro Ueda]
6. Kansei Quality Control in Product Development (753 KB)
When one is pursuing a high degree of satisfaction from the user's viewpoint, as advocated by human-centered design, user kansei or sensitivity is becoming increasingly important in addition to elements that are easy to measure and evaluate objectively such as work efficiency, frequency of operating errors, processing speed, storage capacity, portability and ease of installation (size and weight), durability, and power consumption. Elements that can satisfy kansei are called kansei quality. Fujitsu defines kansei quality using a conceptual model of mood shifting consisting of six elements. Using this model, Fujitsu is conducting trials on extracting important items related to kansei quality from each product and turning those items into a checklist for use in product development. This paper introduces Fujitsu's conceptual model of kansei quality and describes kansei quality control in the product development process using this model. ---[Takeo Asawa, Naoko Goto, Hiroyuki Kanazawa]
7. Using Fieldwork to Hand Down Skills of Expert Systems Engineers (885 KB)
Various efforts are being made to hand down the skills of expert systems engineers (SEs) to younger SEs but none are considered to be the ultimate solution. The main problem here is that young SEs treat the information given them as generalities and never develop a deep understanding of the skills themselves. Fujitsu's Social Science Center has been developing fieldwork techniques for some time based on a human-centered, fact-based approach and has applied this approach to the development of a new service called "handing down expert SE skills". This service involves the three processes of visualizing skills, systematizing them, and sharing them based on human-centered design that focuses on human behavior to extract skills in actual practice. The service has been provided since 2007 as one solution to the problem of off-the-job-training for work in the field—which has not been solved by traditional human-skills training—by incorporating realistic skills visualization and supporting skill analysis by holding joint study meetings. ---[Koji Kishimoto, Hiroyuki Takeda, Takeshi Shioda]
8. Human-Centered Design Approach for Middleware (801 KB)
At the UI Center of the Fujitsu Software Unit, we introduced the concepts of UI design and UI evaluation to our development processes with the goal of achieving universal design of open platform middleware products in fiscal 2008. Universal design of middleware products entails recognizing the target users of our products, and then developing software products that those users find easy to understand and use. We are concentrating our efforts primarily in three areas: the education and training of UI architects, standardization and process reform, and UI evaluation by specialists. In order to continue providing products of high UI quality, we consider the development of UI architects who are aware of the importance of usability on functionality and operability to be the imperative priority. Such UI architects need to be able to implement sophisticated UI design and evaluation based on the humancentered design (HCD) methodology such as benchmarking of competitors, analysis of UI-related issues and user analysis. ---[Tadashi Kobayashi, Hiroyo Miyamoto, Michiyo Komatsu]

Investigation and Analysis Techniques

9. Qualitative Design for Visualizing User Viewpoints (869 KB)
To plan business solutions that are deeply rooted in user viewpoints, we have developed the AIm (appreciative & imaginative) Interview as a qualitative design methodology. The AIm Interview visualizes organizational activities, problem consciousness, core values, and medium- and long-term directions, as viewed by individual users in the workplace, and designs a business-solution concept. This methodology consists of four methods based on an original strategic framework: an interview for collecting qualitative data and understanding present conditions, an interview for understanding the driving objective, a feedback workshop, and qualitative data analysis. The framework consists of seven frames: present conditions, values, energy source, strengths, driving objective, gap between actual conditions and driving objective, and business concept. This methodology is particularly effective in understanding the business context and intrinsic qualities in a Japanese organization consisting of people-centered organic relationships and middle-up-down decision making. ---[Ryuhei Yagi, Hirokazu Harada, Kazushi Ishigaki]
10. Persona Marketing for Fujitsu Kids Site (1.05 MB )
In December 2007, Fujitsu published the "Guide to Creating Web Contents for Kids" with the aim of popularizing the concept of universal design and promoting the creation of high-quality content for children's Websites. When developing our own "Fujitsu Kids Site", we took a new approach called "persona marketing" that allows us to visualize and better understand our target users. Persona marketing allows users to participate in the process of developing products and services, thereby clarifying their needs to be satisfied. The method has attracted much attention and has begun to be used widely in the fields of human-centered design and marketing. This paper describes the characteristics of persona marketing, explains how personas were created when we developed the Fujitsu Kids Site and used during site reviews, and discusses their effectiveness in creating better content. ---[Yumi Hisanabe]
11. User Experience Index Scale—Quantifying Usability by Magnitude Estimation— (1.21 MB )
Conventional methods of evaluating usability often take a problem-discovery approach that focuses on making improvements, thereby limiting their use in product evaluation during the development process. Moreover, there are currently no effective techniques for obtaining the overall usability of a target product in a quantitative manner, which means that some doubt remains in usability-evaluation results. Magnitude usability, which applies the magnitude estimation method of psychophysics, is a sophisticated technique that can solve these problems. Using magnitude usability, Fujitsu Design Ltd. has developed the user experience (UX) index scale, which can be used in diverse human-centered design processes. The UX index scale can be easily understood by non-specialists and can be used to uncover problems and make policy decisions in various types of product-development scenarios. ---[Shinobu Utamura, Chikako Murase, Yukiyo Hamatani, Yukinori Nagano]

Case with Product and Service

12. Establishing Human-Centered Design Process in Mobile Phone Development (781 KB)
Fujitsu is improving the usability of mobile phones based on human-centered design that involves the research, development, and evaluation processes, as well as the strengthening of human resources. Third-party research and creating Persona in the research process, user testing and heuristic evaluation in the evaluation process, and training sessions for strengthening of human resources are a part of this effort. In the development process, we applied our method previously devised for Web development called the Scenario-Based Walkthrough method, which allows those not specialized in usability to easily conduct evaluation at the design phase. We also prepared a usability dictionary that contains case studies of usability problems found in various evaluations. Through these approaches, we established a sustainable human-centered design process, which led to the improvement of product usability. This paper introduces an outline of each process and gives specific examples of improvement. ---[Masashi Tanimura, Masanobu Kanazawa, Takuma Sudo]
13. Human-Centered Design in Medical Fields (893 KB)
This paper introduces Fujitsu's human-centered design approaches to reduce human errors. The approaches are targeted at Fujitsu's Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems: HOPE/EGMAIN-FX and HOPE/EGMAIN-GX. We aim to establish an easy-to-use, intuitive design with increased accessibility and convenience for users by focusing on the three improvements of design uniformity, operation uniformity and improved operability. These approaches contributed to restructure the conventional EMR systems those served as the foundation for the later EMR systems and induced an evaluation of human-friendly systems. The recent project on improving user interfaces (UIs) marked the first collaboration between the EMR development division and the Design Center. It offered an opportunity to recognize the importance of UI in promoting a design that reflects direct inputs from the development team and healthcare professionals, while giving consideration to the uniqueness of the tasks involved in the medical field. ---[Noriyoshi Ando, Naoki Nakano, Natsuko Tohyama]
14. Activities for Improving Web Accessibility (703 KB)
In response to the growing number and diversity of persons using the Internet, the role of Websites has become more important as can be seen in electronic applications. Government agencies and local governments have started to develop Websites that can be easily accessed by more persons, including older persons and persons with disabilities, in accordance with the u-Japan plan formulated based on the Disabled Persons Fundamental Law as well as the government policies such as New IT Reform Strategy. Improvement of a model such as "Operation model for public Website" is a part of this initiative. To address this trend, Fujitsu formulated the Fujitsu Web Accessibility Guidelines in 2002. Since then, Fujitsu has made various efforts to promote Internet use, such as the free distribution and sales of diagnosis tools, and the sales of Web accessibility assistance tools. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines—the de facto international standards—was revised in the latter half of fiscal 2008, and JIS X 8341-3—the equivalent Japanese Industrial Standard—will be revised in 2009. This paper reviews Fujitsu's activities for improving Web accessibility to date, mainly from the viewpoint of human-centered design, and proposes future issues and directions. ---[Yukinori Nagano, Ken Suginome, Koji Yoshimoto, Yumi Tsuchiya]
15. Development of Color-Distinguishing Application "ColorAttendant" (968 KB)
In the current situation where mobile phones are widespread in society, and considering the design of public spaces for people with color blindness and their needs for distinguishing colors in daily life, Fujitsu has developed "ColorAttendant", a mobile phone application that helps people to perceive colors. In its development, we practiced the process of human-centered design (HCD). First, we decided on a concept and functions by understanding our user's difficulties and how to address them in their daily life based on the results of interviews with them. Additionally, we adjusted color tints and the color identification function of our application so as to improve its usability. We did this by reflecting in our product the evaluations of people with disabilities and color experts. As a consequence, we were able to launch an application that not only makes it easier for people to perceive colors with simple operations but also provides them with the pleasant experience of discovering unique color names. This paper reports the features and improvements of ColorAttendant based on the HCD process. ---[Koji Yoshimoto, Shintaro Kondo, Yumi Tsuchiya]

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